By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Only one new movie opens in Amarillo theaters, but it's a doozy. See what critics are saying about the new Ghostbusters before heading to the theater.
If only I could think of a reason that the first trailer for this female-led remake of the 1984 comedy classic found such a vitriolic reception online.
Insecurity? Fear of change? Misogynistic trolls slamming their simian-like fists onto their keyboards? Entitled nerd culture?
Probably the latter.
I suppose I just wasn't aware that the original Ghostbusters was such an untouchable icon of the cinema. I mean, sure: I like it a lot. I just watched it again Tuesday night, and outside of some to-2016-eyes wonky special effects, it holds up rather well. But a sacred cow? Not to me. It's prime property, and I can't think of a reason why it couldn't withstand a smart remake. (Disclaimer: Of course more original works would be even more ideal. We're sadly not in an era in which those films are made, marketed and attended as frequently or as well as pre-existing ideas that already have a fan base.)
And, though I haven't seen it yet, I have a feeling this film could be that smart remake.
Director Paul Feig has movie cred to burn after Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy, and nerd cred out the wazoo after Freaks and Geeks. The stellar leading quartet of Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are four of the funniest women working today. Chris Hemsworth looks like a real comedic discovery in both trailers, and the special effects look great.
Here's what it doesn't look like, in the trailers at least: A wall-to-wall laugh-fest. Neither was the original, I would argue, and Feig's movies, in which the comedy is generally very character-based, aren't always shown off to their best in a trailer. So I'm not worried.
I am absolutely fascinated with the critical reception, which doesn't entirely break down upon gender lines, though almost all of the women represented in Rotten Tomatoes' aggregation of Top Critics' responses to the movie rated it "fresh." I say "doesn't entirely" if only because the number of female critics is still pretty statistically insignificant compared to their male colleagues.
Here's a sampling:
"Sunny, slimy and profoundly silly, the new, lady-centric reboot of Ghostbusters immediately silences the backlash and bluster that’s preceded it. Never deigning to take the skeptical and just plain sexist bait that’s been thrown its way since the project was first announced — and that came in buckets when the first trailer was released — this jokey ensemble piece seems engineered to remind viewers of what it was meant to be all along: neither a workhorse for arguments about gender politics nor a Trojan horse for desecrating precious generational shibboleths, but simply an easygoing, enjoyable family comedy." — Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
"It is loud, lazy and stupefyingly unfunny, and seems to exist solely as a summertime cinematic cash-grab." — Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"What’s crucial here, as in the original film, is the chemistry between the cast members. And though McKinnon’s the standout, the four women click together like Legos. There’s more hugging than in the first movie — hey, women hug — and a few moments of poignant friendship. But mostly, it’s just four funny women embracing the ridiculousness of their roles." — Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
"How could so many talented, well-meaning artists, who clearly loved and respected the original, produce such a raggedy-looking, thuddingly unfunny, utterly unnecessary reboot?" — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
"Sliding into theaters on a river of slime and an endless supply of good vibes, the new, cheerfully silly Ghostbusters is that rarest of big-studio offerings — a movie that is a lot of enjoyable, disposable fun. And enjoy it while you can because this doesn’t happen often, even in summer, which is supposed to be our season of collective moviegoing happiness." — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
You get the picture. (And click here for more.)
The point is, and it always is thus: Decide for yourself. Use critics you trust as a barometer, and take the trailers with a grain of salt, and if you want to see the movie that's causing more ruckus this summer than any other, then by all means, go see it. (PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor; United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd.; Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive; Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive)
None this week, and I must issue a correction: Seems that the Hollywood 16, in addition to taking a break from screening most Fathom Events specials, also is skipping this year's Cinemark Summer Classics series. Manager James Owens told me Wednesday that ongoing renovations at the theater have curtailed most extras at least for the next several months. The regional Cinemark publicist didn't mention that as a possibility when I requested the summer classics schedule, and it frankly didn't occur to me to ask. My apologies.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40); The BFG (H-16, TDI); The Boss (WM-6); Central Intelligence (AS-14, H-16); Finding Dory (AS-14, H-16); Free State of Jones (H-16); The Huntsman: Winter's War (WM-6); Independence Day: Resurgence (AS-14, H-16); The Jungle Book (WM-6); The Legend of Tarzan (AS-14, H-16); Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates (AS-14, H-16); Money Monster (WM-6); Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (WM-6); Now You See Me 2 (H-16); The Purge: Election Year (AS-14, H-16); The Secret Lives of Pets (AS-14, H-16); The Shallows (AS-14, H-16); and Zootopia (WM-6).