Ghostbusters II doesn’t work. It’s a major step down from the first, which is a beloved classic. I still think Ghostbusters II occasionally has moments – a line delivery from Bill Murray here, a good special effects sequence there. The performances are enthusiastic enough. Despite no one really wanting to make this movie (if reports can be believed, Columbia Pictures basically strong-armed the creative team to make a sequel to the hit 1984 original Ghostbusters) the players are game and no one seems like they’re completely phoning it in. It’s just a matter of not being able to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. Ghostbusters was intended to be a stand-alone feature and not a franchise. I’m not saying they did the best they could (because if they did the movie would be more successful) but Ghostbusters II is not an atrocity, which is how most remember the movie to be.
Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory or The Conjuring 2) over ones that are about spectacle (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Warcraft, Independence Day: Resurgence). It’s like our sixth sense is telling us that something’s off.
So where does that leave us for Ghostbusters (2016)? I’m 50/50 on this one. I want the new Ghostbusters to be good for a number of reasons creatively (most of which are obvious like shutting up sexist haters and “Yeah! A good movie!”) but I also want it to fail commercially and here’s why. The new Ghostbusters has a reported budget of $140+ million, which is $100M+ more than either of the two previous Ghostbusters films. If the new one flops, that will be just another piece of evidence for studios to cut budgets and stop giving us special effects extravaganzas on a weekly basis. As much as the visual effects in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II hold up (which they do for the most part), the real special effects in these films are its cast and writing. That’s not a knock on Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig and Paul Feig, who are all very talented in their own right, but I fear with a huge budget they’re going to be at odds with the special effects. Which will take over? Which will win out? I fear the latter.
Jaws and become auteur cinema again? Probably not. I honestly don’t know where it will go. The writing is on the wall. The sky is falling. Make original content again! Refresh the star system again! That’s how you save the film industry.
I’m not sure how I got here from “Is Ghostbusters II really a bad movie?” but that’s the magic of writing sometimes. What do you all think?