As I sat next to my dad waiting for Ghostbusters: Answer the Call to begin, I found myself feeling rather surreal. Here I was in the theater about to experience another Ghostbusters film. I couldn’t help but feel a rush of excitement, similar to how I had felt only six months earlier waiting for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to start or even how I felt as a six year old boy waiting for Ghostbusters II to start. This franchise defined a part of my childhood.
As a kid, and now as a cinephile, I always imagined what it would have felt like to see films like Star Wars, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, and Raiders of the Lost Ark in the theater on opening weekend. Did the movie-goers know that they were experiencing something special? I’d like to think so.
But I knew pretty early on that Ghostbusters: Answer the Call was going to be forgettable. It opened with a very effective haunting experience, similar to its predecessors. But then it was just ‘good’ from here on out. And the nods to the first film are really what bring this movie down. By calling the film ‘Ghostbusters’ and having cameos and Easter Eggs throughout the film, it invites comparisons to the original.
The first Ghostbusters film has been analogized to “catching lightning in a bottle,” meaning that it worked on almost every single level. And there really isn’t any reason that it turned out so perfect except that they got lucky. This type of magic can’t be recreated and the new film proves that. They tried. They got one of the top comedic directors/writers and paired him with some of the top comedic talent in the business.
The worst part is that the movie can be quite funny, but the constant reminders that this is a remake of a far superior does is make you compare it to the original. And the truth is, if they would have called it something else or even made it a sequel to exist in the same universe, it wouldn’t have invited these comparisons, which ultimately brought the film down.
With all this being said, I did enjoy myself. And my dad enjoyed himself much more than I did. It’s a fun popcorn comedy in a summer filled with terrible sequels and remakes. So I do recommend you see it. I am tainted because I hold the 1984 classic in such high regard. But if you want to simply enjoy yourself, this isn’t a bad way to do it. The pacing is good, there are some genuinely funny moments, and the action set piece in the end was a lot of fun.