Saturday, July 23, 2016

Y’Know an Aquarium is a Submarine For Fish, or Thoughts on Ghostbusters

It’s not often that the act of choosing to watch a movie takes on a political significance, and controversy and buzz is usually great for box office.  I can think of Schindler’s List (1993), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and maybe To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and now in this divisive election year, the Ghostbusters (2016) reboot.  There was an initial uproar over the casting of John Boyega as a black stormtrooper in Star Wars:The Force Awakens (2015), and Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), so I suppose it was inevitable that an all-female cast of ghostbusters would inspire a similar response and become the most disliked trailer on YouTube even before its release.
However I can’t remember anyone complaining about Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise, and if you’re going to reboot a classic movie, why not do something new and innovative instead of a raunchy R-rated rehash with the cast of The Hangover (2009)?  If you go into any movie with your arms folded and refusing to enjoy the experience you’re not going to have a good time, to the point of where you should question your motivations as to why you're actually in the theater.  I do believe that history will be kinder to this generation’s Ghostbusters (2016), and once all the negative hype has died down and this movie is revisited in, perhaps five or ten years, it will be viewed in a better light and people will actually laugh.
From Writer and Director Paul Feig, and produced by Ivan Reitman, the reboot follows basically the same plot: disgraced academics start a ghost hunting business in Manhattan, supernatural chaos ensues.  Melissa McCarthy is Abby Yates with an updated PKE meter, along with the brilliant Kristen Wiig as Erin Gilbert in the initially skeptical Bill Murray role.  Chris Hemsworth shines as Kevin Beckman, with something closer to his natural accent and Kate McKinnon as mad scientist Jillian Holtzmann steals every scene she's in, like a new wave, millennial lady-Thomas Dolby.  And I have to admit, I do like Leslie Jones as Patty better than the original Winston; she’s funnier and contributes more to the plot, but don’t tell anyone on the Internet, I really don’t need the heat.
The original firehouse is now $21,000/month, so the gals move above a Chinese restaurant, and like the New York rents, the gags are updated and the ghosts are bigger.  Like way bigger, ghosts are one of the only special effects where CGI really shines, though Ghostbusters has always been more of a supernatural action comedy than a horror movie.  Don’t go to this movie looking for scares, you’d be missing the point.  There’s plenty of snappy dialogue and genuine chemistry between the cast members to distract you from the original, and if you give this movie a chance I promise you’ll enjoy it.  Unless of course you’re dead inside and have no soul, in which case you belong inside one of those ghostbusting containment fields.
A lot of attention has been paid towards the frankly affectionate cameos from the 1984 cast, but I would like to mention what I think we should call the supporting cameos.  Charles Dance, you know, Tywin Lannister appears along with Andy Garcia as the Mayor, Ed Begley Jr., Zach Woods aka Gabe from The Office and Michael K. Williams, aka Omar from The Wire. 
Karan Sonni, Dopinder from Deadpool (2016), and the brilliant Yahoo series Other Space shines as Benny, the Chinese food delivery guy.  Also fellow Other Space co-stars Neil Casey stars as Rowan North, a sort of ghostly agent provocateur and Milana Vayntraub as “Subway Rat Woman”.  (I didn’t actually see her, I caught her name as I was watching the credits and waiting the inevitable sequel tease). 
There’s also an appearance by Daniel Ramis as a Metal Head, which was a nice tribute to his father Harold, the original Egon Spengler and inspiration for Jillian Holtzmann’s character, who passed away in 2014.



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4 volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hr diner with the best pie in town…