Film & Television

Rebuttal Review: Female ‘Ghostbusters’ Ain’t Afraid of No Critics

Viewing the high definition version of “Ghostbusters” on Friday night of the opening weekend, I encountered a genuinely funny movie (and I wasn’t sorry that the number of truly crude jokes was limited). As is the case with most remakes, the plot of the script written by Feig and Katie Dippold stayed true to the story arc from the original but included a few variations, like the first appearance of a ghost in an old mansion instead of a library. Unlike Roeper, I found the remake to be respectful to the original while adding new grace notes.

Roeper called the performances of McCarthy and Wiig “surprisingly muted and flat.” And there I reluctantly had to agree with him. He described the special effects as “cheesy,” and while I wouldn’t go that far, I was a little underwhelmed by them.

But I wondered, would my experience have been the same if I had seen the movie in 3D?

So I ventured back to the same theater Saturday night, bought the slightly more expensive 3D ticket, donned the special glasses and thoroughly enjoyed what seemed to be a completely different movie.

Where McCarthy and Wiig seemed a little numb in the high definition version, they came across as projecting just the right amount of energy in the 3D version. And that makes sense in the same way that the acting techniques that work well on television don’t necessarily translate well to the Broadway stage.

Although Roeper said the actors lacked chemistry, what came through was a genuine respect and friendship among the main characters: Abby (McCarthy), Erin (Wiig), Holtzmann (McKinnon) and Patty (Jones). The four women worked together to bust the ghosts without any pettiness or jealousy.

The special effects went to a whole new level in 3D, with one scene that seemed curious and bland in the high definition version, sending a real shudder down the spine in 3D.

The takeaway from the two viewings is that high definition and 3D are two different genres that require filmmakers to apply different techniques skills. And while a 3D movie may be OK in high def, it really is meant to be viewed in 3D.

What the women of “Ghostbusters” showed was an ability to make their performances resonate in 3D. And the criticism of them reminded me of a movie star from decades ago.

The actress Ginger Rogers was often said to have been overshadowed by her dance partner, Fred Astaire. Until someone noted that she did everything Astaire did — just backwards and in high heels.

McCarthy, Wiig, McKinnon and Jones do everything that Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis and Hudson did just in 3D.

Now I’m wondering what they’re like in IMAX.

 

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