Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)

Rating 12a
Length 2h 14
Release 11.7.2016
Director Paul Feig
About Paranormal enthusiasts Abby, Erin, Jillian and Patty set out to capture ghosts when they realise that someone is attempting to cause an apocalypse by summoning ghosts in the city of New York.

The Good

  • Kate McKinnon is the best thing to come out of this movie. Jillian Holtzman is branded chaos and a hot geeky mess that anyone who watches is here to watch.
    From the outfits, to the zingers McKinnon was having a blast and living any girl’s (*cough* me *cough*) dream of being enlisted as a Ghostbuster. Holtzman was the love child of the OG’s. She has Stanz’ passion, Venkman’s dicey dry wit and Spengler’s geeky flair (and hair).
    Can we also please commend this film for its presentation of Holtzmann’s sexuality. She just… was. There was no conversation, no label. Perhaps (I doubt it) I’m reading too much into it, but to me it is clear she’s gay. I *know* this and it wasn’t made into a thing. I don’t know if I’m wrong to see this as a good thing, but I feel like that’s the way it should be. Had the film had *that* conversation, to me it would have felt like a check box being ticked and they might as well have put a neon sign shouting “we’re being diverse”. Its a fine line to be walking. To me I see her as clear representation, however I also know how Cursed Child was criticised for ‘playing it safe’.
  • I love the big bad plot. Its original, its well incorporated into the film and fully resolved. There’s a mystery there and while the audience is in on it, we don’t know the full plan.
  • The music is amazing. I think it was not long after my second cinema viewing I purchased the album and I’ve listened to it off and on ever since.
  • Must admit, I did like the cameos throughout the film. It was a nice geek touch. The best, by far, is the one that comes during the mid credit scenes.
  • As a group, McCarthy, Wiig, McKinnon and Jones work well together. If it was any other movie, there would never have been the backlash. As an origin story goes, these four women give us brains, family and humour. What else do you want?

The Bad

  • It is a SNL film. Saturday Night Live is an aquired taste. I’m not talking political affiliation here and it is really hard to call it a criticism given that most of the original cast were alumns. However, there’s a certain type of over acting that is glossed over a number of the company of Studio 8H. Cecily Strong is the best example, mainly because she grated from the start. It’s an almost pantomime kind of acting that sets my teeth on edge.
    There’s also the element of ad lib that just doesn’t suit a film like this. The jokes don’t always stick their landing and as an audience, we really want a polished product, not wooden zingers.
  • Kristen Wiig does an amazing job for about 80% of the time. Unfortunately that remaining time is so utterly over done and cringe that I hate it just that little bit more each time I see it. The biggest issue I have is her hysterics at the restaurant. It’s not funny at best and at worst, it allows for the digs about why there was no place for a ‘gender swap’ reboot.
  • Speaking of which, the digs at the expense of the ‘busters being women got old really fast. Especially five years later, its eyerolling and really serves no purpose as I’m pretty certain those who they were aimed at have never watched the movie.

The Ugly

  • Perhaps one of the biggest missteps was making this a reboot. If you had the OG cast on board, you pass the torch. The origins of these four women doesn’t surpass the original and while it was cool to watch Holtzmann and the evolution of the Proton Pack, she had so many other toys to show us.
    Also, there are way too many Easter Eggs. You cannot have that many and have it be its own thing. It feels so meta that my head hurts.
  • I don’t like the treatment of Patty. I don’t like that Leslie Jones is the only member of the Ghostbusters that isn’t a Scientist and its the role that goes to the person of colour, again. At least in the first one it is addressed (sort of).
    There’s a number of times the other three ‘tell Patty off’ and it really gets tiresome. Its always a put down that could be construed to be about her race too, which just stalls any progressiveness the film might have.
    I’m not sure if Feig stating that the character was originally meant to be for McCarthy, but to me, the fact that you wrote the character for a white woman who may, or may not, have refused the role for a ‘better’ part doesn’t sit right with me either.

Final Thoughts

This is not part of the franchise and it doesn’t do it justice either. This is a very expensive piece of movie fan fiction. An AU if it were. It does work well in isolation, and on the big screen, but 5 years on it’s not aging well.

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