Friday, April 29, 2011

Why a Third Ghostbusters Film Wouldn't Be a Ghostbusters Film

I’m going to talk about Ghostbusters 3.
I grew up on Ghostbusters 1 and 2, and love is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about those films.  Even now, after the Internet has informed me that the sequel isn’t very good, I still feel nothing but adoration for both of these films.  If you asked me to show you nostalgia, I’d hand you a copy of Ghostbusters.
So when I started hearing whispers of a possible third film in the franchise, I began bubbling with excitement.  I could experience what audiences did in 1984.  I could go to the theaters and see what the Ghostbusters had been up to in their 20 year absence, and experience a brand new story with them.  It would be like visiting old friends.
Only, it wouldn’t.  I’ve been thinking about it recently, and I’ve come to realize something surprising.  I don’t want a third film.  At all.  Even if it were good, even if it were acceptable, it wouldn’t be a Ghostbusters film.
When I watched Indiana Jones 4, I, along with the rest of the world, was heartbroken.  A trilogy we had grown to love had been brought into the modern world, rehashed, spit shined, and crammed through the hard drive of a computer, and came out soulless.  I hated the abundance of CGI, the horrible plot, and the ridiculously cheesy dialogue.  At the time, I didn’t think that Indy’s age was a problem.  I thought that with a better movie, I wouldn’t have noticed the fact that Harrison Ford was now 60.  But now, if you watch all four films in a row, the age difference between 3 and 4 is too jarring to ignore.  It’s depressing.  Indy isn’t supposed to get old.  He’s immortal.  He’s supposed to be fast and too clever for age to catch him.  But here is Harrison Ford, grunting and wheezing his way through another “adventure”.  The true Indy wasn’t even in the fourth film.  And how can you have an Indiana Jones movie without the real Indiana Jones?
The same tragedy is about to happen to Ghostbusters.  I don’t care if the story is hilarious and the dialogue is completely in sync with the original films.  Bill Murray and the rest of the cast are now retirement aged, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that.  Inevitably, a third film would only depress me.  It would only be a grim reminder that no matter what anyone does, you’re going to get old and die.  That’s not exactly what I want the subtext of a comedy film to be.
The second biggest problem I have besides the age issue, is that of special effects.  It is completely in the Ghostbusters world to have cheesy special effects.  In their world, the ghosts are all stop-motion, or men in masks, or models.  They don’t look realistic, and they’re not supposed to.  That being said, can you imagine a potentially huge blockbuster nowadays being given the go-ahead by the studio to film using completely old school effects?  Of course not.  They’d insist on shining everything up.  CGI ghosts, CGI proton beams, CGI fucking Slimer.  There goes the series that everyone loved.
Currently, the belief is that Bill Murray’s refusal is the only thing stopping the third Ghostbusters film from starting production.  I have never loved Bill Murray more than I did when I heard that.  I don’t know his reasons, but I can pray that  some of them coincide with the issues I’ve mentioned here.  Bill Murray is an intelligent guy.  He doesn’t need to go desecrating a near perfect comedy franchise just because some over eager fans think they want it.

Friday, April 15, 2011


            Unstoppable was a decent action film.  It was greatly helped by the likability of its two stars, Denzel Washington and Chris Pine.  I appreciate it for it’s simple, entertaining plot, which is reminiscent of such 90’s action classics like Speed and Die Hard.  I wouldn’t put it in the same league as those two, but it’s an admirable effort. 
            If you’ve read my reviews, you’ll know I try not to complain too much about obvious popcorn action movies, as long as they achieve what they set out to do: entertain.  This is why I approved of Sucker Punch, and despised Battle: Los Angeles.  Unstoppable achieved its goal of being entertaining, so I tip my hat to it for that.  I do feel it missed some opportunities in the suspense department though.
            This is mostly due to the camera work.  I’ve been reading a ton of stuff about Hitchcock recently, so I’ve noticed myself keeping an eye out for where the camera is placed in certain scenes and why.  Hitchcock talked a lot about the benefits of getting up close and personal in some instances, and why sometimes it’s better to back up and give a wide, unobtrusive view of things.
            This is where I feel Unstoppable stumbled.  There were some moments that could have been extremely tense and exciting for the audience, but due to the camera placement we felt left out.  The biggest example I noticed was when Denzel Washington’s character was jumping from car to car in an attempt to get to the front of a speeding train.  This would be scary as hell… for the person jumping.  For the uninvolved observer watching from 100 feet away, we don’t feel the intensity at all.  By placing the camera in the nearby helicopters and following trucks, we don’t get the full effect of the danger he is in, therein zapping almost all tension out of the scene.  If the camera had been from Denzel’s point of view, we as the audience would have been on the edge of our seats.  As it was, we felt like nothing but an uninvolved viewer watching from the safety of our television sets at home.
            There were many other suspenseful moments in the film, particularly when the camera did get up close and personal.  I was just disappointed the few times I felt an opportunity was missed.  All in all however, Unstoppable was a decent popcorn flick that more or less hit its target.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Woman in Black Trailer

This.  Looks.  Creepy.

Get Low

            Get Low is a good example of getting exactly what the trailer promises you.  Not sure if you want to see Get Low or not?  Get on Youtube and watch the trailer.  If you like it, you’ll like the movie.
            I liked the trailer.   
            The film tells the supposedly true story of an old hermit named Felix Bush, who decides to host his own funeral while he is still alive so that he can hear what everyone thinks of him.  Robert Duvall is terrific as the cantankerous old man.  He particularly shines in scenes where his vulnerability is shown, such as when he goes to Sissy Spacek’s house in the middle of the night to try to make peace.  I also really enjoyed the “dog dreams” speech he gives to the young funeral parlor assistant, played by Lucas Black.  Bill Cobbs was also very powerful as the Rev. Charlie Jackson.  When he and Duvall were onscreen together, their combined power made me feel very secure, and a little sleepy.  Their voices are so deep and soothing.  If this sounds strange, watch the movie and tell me if you don’t feel the same way.
             One of the biggest draws for me in watching this movie was, of course, Bill Murray.  He does not disappoint as the wily old funeral home director.  He plays Bill Murray, like he always does, and for that I love him.
            The screenplay was fine.  It did a nice job building up the mystery around Bush’s past, and kept you guessing whether or not he was really a good guy or not.
            While the trailer for Get Low gives you a good idea of the film itself, the film does make some unexpected choices.   The film tended to downplay moments that you were lead to believe were going to be big, such as the announcement of Bush’s odd funeral plans, or even his “get low” speech.  This was especially evident in the climax of the movie.  The funeral party had been built up so much that I was left a little disappointed by it’s abruptness.  I suppose I can understand the filmmaker’s reasons for downplaying the funeral, so that the focus was not on the party but on Bush himself, but still.  I wanted to see a party.
            All in all, the film was enjoyable.  The music was terrific, with the notable exception of the final song, which I felt was too modern and didn’t jive with the rest of the soundtrack.  If you liked the trailer, you’ll like the film, minor quibbles aside.  I promise.