The review embargo has lifted for Sony’s “Ghostbusters” reboot and so far the reaction has been fairly consistent – a little tepid, neither gushingly good or aggressively bad. Much of the criticism isn’t levelled at the cast or director, but the overall film itself with complaints of lacking any innovation and being too slavish to the original. As a result it never seems to escape its shadow.
That said, there’s also been praise for some of the scares and key character moments, and the film is doing well on the aggregate review sites – 76% on Rotten Tomatoes and 67% on Metacritic at this point in time. Not great, but good scores nonetheless.
Interestingly there’s a good mix of female reviewers out there tackling the topic to try and provide a more balanced perspective than we usually get with Summer tentpoles. Here’s just some of the sample quotes below:
“While both funnier and scarier than Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original, this otherwise over-familiar remake from ‘Bridesmaids’ director Paul Feig doesn’t do nearly enough to innovate on what has come before, even going so far as to conjure most of the earlier film’s cast in cameos that undercut the new film’s chemistry…” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“[Ghostbusters] boasts exuberantly funny performances from its key quartet and a satisfying blend of wackiness, camaraderie and paranormal pizzazz. One could even argue that Paul Feig’s curatorial sideline paying homage to the 1984 action-comedy juggernaut (via story beats, design elements, and many cameo pop-ups) almost becomes an unnecessary distraction…” – Robert Abele, The Wrap
“Even the funniest actors on the planet could save what is an occasionally humorous, but largely unremarkable rehash…an unexceptional and even lazy update of a formula you’ve seen before. Comparisons to the original are unavoidable. And yes, it’s a reboot, but there’s a conspicuous absence of the charming oddball eccentricity that made the original film so endearing. Most of the characters are largely indistinguishable from the original archetypes…” – Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
“At the end of the day, those who hoped the new Ghostbusters would be just like the original will probably be disappointed. The comedic sensibility is more Paul Feig than Ivan Reitman, the characters and their relationships to one another are completely different, and it all feels more like a 2010s blockbuster film than a 1980s comedy adventure (for pretty obvious reasons). But those willing to roll with the changes will find an entertaining comedy-adventure full of new characters, new gadgets, new monsters, and new possibilities…” – Angie Han, Slashfilm
“[Ghostbusters is] an amiable, moderately entertaining and intermittently amusing movie that in the end falls short of making a convincing argument for its own existence… The cast is the new film’s greatest strength, but as they go through their paces one starts to get the same feeling one had watching The Amazing Spider-Man a few years ago: why are we telling this story again, just with different people and a few remixed aspects?…” – Don Kaye, Den of Geek
“[Paul] Feig… has done more than any other filmmaker to expose the idiocy of an industry that still insists that women cannot carry big-studio-financed comedies. But his Ghostbusters… is too risk-averse, despite its nominally radical gender-switching premise. Ghostbusters 2.0 suffers from the anxiety of influence – or, more specifically, from the fear of not wanting to alienate the fans (Gen X’ers and others) of 1.0. It never strays far from the anodyne, generic humor that pervades the [original film]…” – Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
“They do, which means that ‘Ghostbusters’ is also a female-friendship movie, but without the usual genre pro forma tears, jealousies and boyfriends. Friendship here, even at its testiest, is a given, which means that Mr. Feig doesn’t have to worry it and can get on with bringing the funny with his stars and toys, his ghosts and laughs. As is often the case with big-budget flicks, it grows progressively louder and bigger, climaxing in an overlong battle, though not before Mr. Feig has offered up some unexpected touches, including a cavalcade of beautifully designed old-timey ghosts and a genuinely creepy bathroom scene that adds a few horror-flick shivers…” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“I can’t wait for the sequel to Ghostbusters 2016. The characters are so engaging, their world is so fun and the actresses are so incredibly likeable that I’m exciting to see more… in a film that doesn’t feel endlessly beholden to bow in the direction of the 1984 original every five minutes. And perhaps in a film whose script actually works in the third act. But definitely in a film that is as funny and full of energy as this one…” – Devin Faraci, Birth Movies Death
“The unfunny mess that hits theaters July 15, like a big goopy splat of ectoplasm, will no doubt make those naysayers feel vindicated. But the fact is that an estrogen-infused makeover, particularly one with such a comedically gifted cast, was a promising idea. Sadly, that’s where the inventiveness ended. The unfunny mess that hits theaters July 15, like a big goopy splat of ectoplasm, will no doubt make those naysayers feel vindicated. But the fact is that an estrogen-infused makeover, particularly one with such a comedically gifted cast, was a promising idea. Sadly, that’s where the inventiveness ended…” – David Rooney, THR
“After all the handwringing and humdrum, Paul Feig and Katie Dippold’s Ghostbusters turns out to be a relatively unassuming movie of comparatively modest pleasures. The film’s chief asset is ironically the source of its greatest would-be “controversy.” It revels in the comic chemistry and warm friendship offered as a matter of course by its lead actresses. But don’t expect much more than a paint-by-numbers Ghostbusters reboot. The film not only presents its stars as Ghostbusters but as winning comic leads capable of sustaining a mainstream comedy all by themselves. The good news is that the film suggests this should be the natural order of things. The bad news is thanks to some choppy plotting, awkward pacing, and tonal issues, the film rests almost entirely on the shoulders of its would-be heroines…” – Scott Mendelson, Forbes
“Feig’s Ghostbusters is its own definitive creature, an affable, inventive riff on Ivan Reitman’s proton-packing caper that exists not to score points, but only to make us laugh. For a summer comedy, there’s no nobler purpose. It’s all presented with a wink-there’s nothing heavy-spirited or assaultive about this Ghostbusters. Feig, who co-wrote the script with Katie Dippold, has clearly taken great care with the movie’s tone – it’s as delicately balanced as the wings of a spectral butterfly…” – Stephanie Zacharek, TIME
“I went into the movie spoiling for a fight-I really wanted to like director Paul Feig’s reimagining, to prove all the misogynist online naysayers wrong. But Ghostbusters, quick and dull and weightless, offers very little to root for. It spends so much time doing battle with its legacy that it forgets to be its own movie, putting a talented cast to waste and marking another disappointment in this dreadful summer movie season. A lot of hopes, and well north of $150 million, are pinned on Ghostbusters, and the film is smothered under those huge, quadrant-y expectations. Its climax is a muddled, overwrought mess, full of green-screen and senseless zapping…” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“In terms of franchise reboots, Ghostbusters is less Batman Begins and more like The Amazing Spider-Man. There’s a lot to like and have fun with this movie, a majority of it being the talent of its lead stars, but there’s also large amounts of room for improvement and fine-tuning as well. I doubt I’ll revisit this movie or any of its jokes the same way that I do with the 1984 original, but if the goal of the latest outing was to make me interested and excited to see this team come together again, then I’d be willing to say that the Ghostbusters reboot is a success in its own right. Even if it’s only a minor one at that…” – Alex Welch, Geek Nation
“Ghostbusters” opens around much of the world on July 15th.