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Review: Ghostbusters (2016) — Too Obsessed With the Past to Make a Decent Movie

At the risk of being labelled a ‘GhostBro’, Luke Miksa has feelings about the controversial Ghostbusters reboot.

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A reboot of the beloved sci-fi comedy blockbuster of 1984, director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) presents a Ghostbusters for a new generation. When strange apparitions being appearing in New York, Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) joins her old colleague Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and her quirky new partner Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), along with historical New York City expert Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). Dubbed the Ghostbusters by the media, together the four women — plus their new space cadet assistant Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) — set about to foil a plot which will bring about the apocalypse, right on their doorstep.

"Ain't no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts"

“Ain’t no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts”

Surprisingly, Ghostbusters has become one of the most controversial films in recent years, and it’s mainly due to loyal fans of the original two films. A second sequel to Ghostbusters with the original cast has been in development hell for over twenty years, but with the death of Harold Ramis, the decision was made to completely reboot the series; a bitter pill to swallow for some die-hards. Things got worse when word came out that the busting of ghosts will now be done exclusively by a team of (gulp) women! This resulted in a veritable shit-show of online misogyny, including the first trailer being one of the most down-voted trailers in YouTube history (Look, it wasn’t a good trailer, but a quick look at the comment section will tell you the whole story).

But now the film has been released, which means it’s finally time to judge it on its merits, and not just prejudice and tears. And what’s the verdict? Unfortunately it’s not good.

Recent history has shown that the best way to reboot a franchise is to tie it in to the existing films, in whats known as a legacyquel; a cross between a distant sequel and a soft reboot (examples: Jurassic World, The Force Awakens, and Creed). This method seems to work, as it remains in the same universe that people are fond of, often with the older characters passing the torch to the new upstarts. But Ghostbusters bucks the recent — successful — trend, and we find ourselves with a hard reboot; a completely new universe where the events of the previous films don’t exist.

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Review: Spy (2015) — Bending Genres and Stereotypes, Spy is Surprisingly Full of Cultural Relevance and Laughs

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Popular director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) tackles the spy genre with the aptly titled Spy, which sees Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) as a desk-jockey for the CIA, working as a liaison for one of the agency’s super-spies Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Cooper is a terrific analyst, but an underachiever and a joke to her fellow operatives, but when Fine is apparently killed in action by mob queen Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), and the identities of many top CIA agents are compromised, Cooper must leave the safety of her desk and go undercover to expose the plot of Rayna and her arms dealer associate (Bobby Cannavale) before it’s too late.

Both serious and in comedy, the spy genre is already loaded — the freaking sequel to Cars was a spy movie! — and 2015 alone will see the release of new instalments of James Bond and Mission: Impossible films, amongst others. The question is whether Spy contains anything to make it stand out from an already crowded sub-genre. The answer is yes, Spy does hold it’s own in many ways, but it may not be what you were expecting.

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