Movie Review – Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey, Karan Soni, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, and more.

Directed by: Paul Feig Written by: Katie Dippold and Paul Feig Based on the film written by: Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis Cinematography by: Robert D. Yeoman Music by: Theodore Shapiro

Premise: Erin Gilbert is on the cusp of gaining tenure at her university when the past comes back to haunt her. An old colleague has republished the paranormal book the two of them wrote together. A book that might cost her everything, as it isn’t seen as being real science. Trying to get Abby to take the book off the market, Erin ends up going with her to a historic house in New York. And comes face to face with the supernatural. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: One of the things that made the original 1984 Ghostbusters film fun were all the quirky and memorable characters. The new film has a basket full. Kriten Wiig did well as the socially awkward and insecure Dr. Erin Gilbert. Melissa McCarthy was fun as the gutsy Abby Yates. While hard to out do Egon, Kate McKinnon did things her own way as the unique, happy-go-lucky Jillian Holtzman. Chris Hemsworth had way too much fun as Kevin, the brainless, and I mean brainless, receptionist. lol. Bill Murray as the debunker Martin Heiss was a brilliant choice for a multitude of reasons.  And a lot of the original cast is back for some awesome cameos too!

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: If you get a chance to see the film in IMAX 3D, I would definitely recommend it. The special effects are well worth the higher price. The first and second ghosts were super detailed and the 3D made their lack of a corporeal body that much cooler to look at.

Lots of great gadgets and fun looking machinery. Rowan’s machines had a strong steampunk feel to them. Our favorite proton streams are back and used in all sorts of new ways.

There’s lots of slime and even Slimer! He has a grittier, more substantial look, and he still knows how to party. The balloon ghosts were creepy. And Rowan’s mirrors were fab!

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: The original Ghostbusters film is one of my husband’s all time favorite movies. He’s been frothing to go see it. And was quite happy with the results.

A lot of the main players in the original cast do cameos in the film! Awesome! And what’s really neat about the cameos is how they have more substance to them than you normally get from such things. A tons of in-jokes in those little snippets as well. Sadly, Harold Ramis passed a couple of years ago, so he did not get to appear. Though a bust of him shows up in one of the scenes. It was a nice touch.

Like in the original, the story begins with a paranormal incident. The build up to it was great. Not only is the tour guide full of bizarre commentary, but he’s also a charlatan of sorts, until… (That whole beginning sequence was great!)

From the moment the film starts there are ‘winks’ and ‘nudges’ heralding back to the original film. They were made up of all kinds of bits – visual, vocal, and musical. If you loved the first film, you’ll love this one just for all the awesome homage!

Though the story parallels the original in certain aspects. (It even pokes fun at it.) It’s also a whole new tale on its own. A lot of themes get thrown in to go along with the humor and nostalgia – friendship, family, as well as daring to believe in yourself and others.

Stay all the way through the credits! Not only were they a blast, but several more bits are throw in. The last, if you’ve seen the original, was priceless! Speaks of possible things to come. 🙂

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of great gags. Felt sorry for the people dealing with the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ pose. lol. Bodies get thrown around, and there’s even some hand-to-hand.

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: The original Ghostbusters was filmed for the most part in New York. This time around, they recreate several places in NY City, but most locations are actually in nearby Massachusetts. Even so, we got some lovely scene sweeps and neat shots.

6) Music – Totally Thumbs Up: They sneak in the original theme here and there. The first time gives a great jolt of nostalgia when they bring it in right after the starting sequence. The snippet of new songs and background music all worked quite well.

Conclusion: Despite all the negativity before the film’s release, hubby and I loved the heck out of it. A ton of homage bits and all the awesome cameos added a lot to the film’s overall fun. Sit through all the credits! They’re a ton of fun and have more added bits. 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Great visuals and all that homage! Woot!) (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

 

Movie Review – The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

Starring: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, and more.

Directed by: Jon Favreau Screenplay by: Justin Marks Based on the Novels by: Rudyard Kipling Cinematography by: Bill Pope Music by: John Debney

Premise: When the tiger, Shere Khan, finds out the wolves are protecting Mowgli, a man cub, he gives an ultimatum – give him the child to kill or he will kill other jungle denizens until his will is met. Trying to protect his jungle family, Mowbli leaves with his protector, the panther named Bagheera, who plans to take the boy to a man village where he can be safe from Shere Khan. The ruthless tiger, however, has other plans. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: The film has a lot of well known actors doing the voices for the animals. All the choices fit quite well. Scarlett Johansson was fabulous as Kaa – she gave the boa constrictor just the right amounts of sexy-scary. Lovely voice during her song as well.

Bill Murray was a great choice for Baloo – he created a lovely impish tone for the character. 🙂 Another fun matchup was Christopher Walken as King Louie – especially when he breaks out in song! lol. Lovely performance.

2) Special Effects/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: The Disney-Pixar team did a great job on the look and feel of the film. The jungle and its different areas felt real and so did the animals. The creatures moved as their real counterparts would and even made their mouth movements look quite natural. Mowgli, the only real person in the film, was seamlessly woven into tapestry created for us with the CGI animation. Nice work!

While some of the animals represented were from familiar species, the animators also brought in many unfamiliar ones as well. Watching the movements and habits of those new species proved quite fascinating!

I totally loved what they did for Kaa and King Louie. Kaa was mesmerizing and the animators came up a lovely way to emulate and make sinister the snake’s hypnotic gaze. Loved how they then took it and swirled the reality of the red flower to show the audience a glimpse into Mowgli’s past. King Louie was huge! The detail on the orangutan was amazing. And wait till you see him move!

There’s a nice bit of fun during the closing credits. (And more Christopher Walker singing! lol.)

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen the Disney’s original animated version of the Jungle Book. I don’t believe I ever read the series the film is based on – so definitely can’t add any opinions from that angle. But for those who grew up with the 1967 animated version, I think you’ll be quite pleased – especially as they actually redid several of the songs from the original.

The film starts you out with action to try to create a sense of urgency but since the audience doesn’t yet know any of the characters, it didn’t seem to come across exactly as intended. No real surprises in the beginning part of the film and despite several tense or dangerous situations, the film didn’t really take off for me until we meet Kaa. Totally adored the whole scene in that part of the jungle. And then matters picked up again once Baloo comes on the scene.

Multiple themes play during the film – family, belonging, being accepted for who you are (or despite what you are), the fact that despite each others’s differences some of them can also be strengths.

My only true complaint was the typical superfast return effect sometimes used in plots. Though it took days to get to where Mowgli ended up (and the fact he got there on ox back and river speed travel), when the time comes form him to come back – he made it in super record time. The something he decided to take along back with him, wouldn’t have lasted that long a trek. You’ll see. Still, overall it, the point is easy to overlook. The film was definitely enjoyable.

Conclusion: If you’re a fan of the old animated film, you’ll find plenty to like and lots to feel nostalgic about. (Bear necessities will follow you home!) Yes, they bring back several of the songs! For those who’ve never seen it, though, you’re in for a neat treat!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)