The Ghostbusters reboot was always going to be facing an uphill battle, even before it was announced that the new leads would all be female, sparking a flame war. The original film, and even its less successful sequel, are now considered classics and many people grew up watching them over and over. Make no mistake, the original film is excellent, with solid jokes, great performances, memorable visuals, and some really strong elements of horror. However, chances are it can't live up to the lofty image of perfection most fans have in their heads, because quite frankly, I'm not sure any movie is as good as many people remember that film being. So this reboot was already up against impossible standards before the first trailer was even released.
For me, I walked in with a different standard, based on the more recent films of writer/director Paul Feig and lead actors Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, which I have largely adored. Based on that standard, the film was a bit of a disappointment. I laughed a whole lot less than I expected to and the plot never felt like it hit a good pace, wildly jumping from moment to moment. Most of the characters were just not particularly interesting, relying too much on stereotypes and leaving a talented cast without much to work with. The cameos from the original team of Ghostbusters were even more perplexing BY far, the highlights were the performances of Chris Hemsworth, who was funnier than he has ever been, and Kate McKinnon, the film's MVP. McKinnon constantly gave her scenes an energy that made the film temporarily come alive and she easily had the biggest laughs. At times, she felt like she belonged in a different film, but that film looked a whole lot better than the one she was stuck in, so I didn't mind. In the end, I found the film to be decent, but not up to the standards of what we should expect from a cast and crew with such talent. It didn't deserve the hatred of angry sexists and purists, nor did it deserve the praise of critics scared of being lumped in with that crowd.
The reason this gets 4 stars instead of 5 is the presentation. This is just a fantastic package and it's the main reason that I ended up caving in and purchasing it. The artwork on the steel book is excellent and this is one of the first releases to include 4K, 3D, Blu-ray, and digital all together. It has been frustrating trying to decide what to do about other releases where buying both the 3D and 4K versions can set you back upwards of $70, so this was much appreciated. Also, while I haven't been able to sit down and watch the entire cut, what I've seen of the extended version is actually a noticeably more entertaining experience. I completely understand having to edit down a film for pacing and cohesion and understand that studios also prefer a shorter film that can be shown more times a day in the theatre, but this is a case where it seems as though much of the humor I expected was cut out in favor of a somewhat mediocre plot.
As I write this, the version I'm reviewing is listed as clearance at $19.99. All I can say is that if you're on the fence, debating the purchase, do it. Any doubts you might have because the film wasn't as good as you'd hoped will likely be overcome by a truly superb presentation.