2 Stars – shallow
Sometimes a movie has little depth of message, but can still be entertaining. Such is the case of the newly recast and updated version of the 1984 classic “Ghostbusters” which originally showcased the likes of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Sigourney Weaver. The new leads of this 2016 remake are not only female (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones), but they, along with many supporting cast members, are the best and the brightest from the current lineup from Saturday Night Live on NBC.
The story line hasn’t changed much. Crazy ghosts and ghouls of all kinds have attacked New York, and a rag-tag group of fringe scientists have concocted a way to capture these plasma creatures and suck them into storage containers to protect the world from being destroyed by evil spirits. Along the way, the rest of the civilized world creates enough mayhem and comic relief to make this a farcical treat, albeit a pretty crude one.
The original Ghostbusters theme predated the release of the Will Smith / Tommy Lee Jones series Men In Black, but the story is somewhat the same – capturing the evil spirits that are on a mission to destroy the earth. Unlike films that portray vampires or truly evil and scary satanic figures, this genre of films humorously follows the cartoon images of goofy, Casper the Friendly Ghost kinds of creatures.
In a Post-Modern world where most people don’t believe that good and evil are at war with one another, it is fascinating that Hollywood tries to profit from a storyline that such a battle is happening all the time. Classic Judeo-Christian thought upon which Western culture is built, has always portrayed this battle as one where God and Satan are in a battle whose end story shows the ultimate folly of Satanic, self-centered interests. Even 21st century Christianity often characterizes this battle as the difference between committed to living for your own self interests versus being committed to living for something greater than ourselves. Only in Hollywood is there is fantasy focus on “evil” as comical ghosts.
Ghostbusters may give us a few good laughs, but it is ridiculous theology. Taken for what it is, it will make for a fun night at the movies. Nevertheless, it would be foolish to presume that there really isn’t a cosmic battle for the souls of the world.
- Do you believe in ghosts? On evil spirits? On what do you base your opinions?
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn noted: “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Do you agree with his assessment or not? Why do you answer as you do?
- When Hollywood makes comedy of evil it is reminiscent of the “Feast of Fools” in the middle ages where people made fun of religious and political leaders. Do you believe such comedy is helpful or hurtful?