12 – 134mins – 2016
‘BUSTING FOR MORE
Snappy New Year to all who scuttle in my CR@B cast. My first post of 2017 is something of a reappraisal of one of last year’s most prickly and contentious offerings, a cult film rejig most wrote off before they even watched and those that did still couldn’t shy away from the gender politics-shaped elephant haunting the containment chamber…
As my Cinema Review elaborates, while I wasn’t blown away by the style of humour employed in Paul Feig’s femme-flipped Ghostbusters reboot, nostalgia compelled me to give it another chance on the big screen this summer past. In a nutshell: my preliminary judgement remained intact and I still remained stony faced at Kate Office Christmas Party McKinnon’s knowingly quirky delivery.
With the opinion-dividing spook-quel granted a UK home video release just in time for Christmas, Ghost-groupies were gifted an extended edition weighing in at a remarkable 18 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Being an 80s child – and, perhaps, stubbornly slavish to my sense of allegiance to the property I adored in my youth – I couldn’t resist “answering the call” and checking it out…
Miraculously, third time was a charm for GB ’16. Rather than feeling like unnecessary offcuts cynically reinserted to help shift more copies following a tepid box office reception, the Peter Jackson-esque deluge of additional scenes and subplots elevated my appreciation of this new spin and even the modern wit (and McKinnon’s delivery) didn’t niggle, grate or stand out as much as it had on the silver screen. Updated eye-roll count: 0.
I’m not proclaiming it perfect; Answer the Call (as some have belatedly taken to dubbing it) will always be a pale imitation of Aykroyd, Ramis and Reitman’s original masterpiece (reviewed HERE) and lack the warmth and zing which carried the 1989 sequel (reviewed HERE) through its more debatable dips. For starters, secretary Kevin (Chris In the Heart of the Sea Hemsworth) is still too irrationally senseless to be believed, while Mrs. Slimer feels like a horrendously cheap piss take of an icon and Bill Murray’s cameo is the lame side of hammy.
Elsewhere, however, it’s nothing but good news, with “ghost girl” Erin’s (Kristen Sausage Party Wiig) cause for change strengthen by the addition of an entirely new character in the form of loveless beau Phil (Justin Kirk) and a moment of moral validation when she punches a prying blogger for bringing up her childhood misery. Furthermore, persecuted antagonist Rowan’s (Neil Casey) diabolical scheme is given more screen-time, escalating the sense of threat to NYC by depicting how opening the barrier between worlds affects the patrons of the Mercado Hotel (previously fleshed out in Nancy Holder’s decent and detail-dense novelization).
Rectifying a previous misstep, Ozzy Osbourne’s set piece-closing zinger is swapped out for a far stronger – and better delivered – alternate take, and while I personally see no benefit in watching Erin and best bud Abby (Melissa McCarthy) recreating their Physics dance routine from college, I was giddy with glee at the widescreen-breaking special effects, with ghouls and proton streams blasting beyond the black barriers to really bring the supernatural stand-offs vividly to life. I’m confident this would look even more eye-popping on the 3D Blu-ray, but I’m lacking the equipment and sadly Santa wasn’t quite that kind to me this year…
CR@B’s Claw Score: