Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters (2016)

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Ghostbusters - Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
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  1. SABA

    I can hardly believe that over three decades have passed since the original “Ghostbusters” came out, but I do remember being there when it did. I also wondered, as a fairly new Christian, if it would be appropriate to attend a movie that made light of the very spiritual matter of ghosts. I talked myself into going, and didn’t feel so conflicted afterward. The movie was not meant to teach anyone anything about the afterlife, not really, but simply to display the comedic skills of the much beloved Saturday Night Live players and some others from the Second City comedy troupe. Today’s entry does much the same, as most of the characters in the current “Ghostbusters” movie are either current SNL players or alumni from the film of 1984.

    The movie opens in a haunted mansion tour, like so many that are offered around our country, but in this case, something genuinely abnormal occurs, something paranormal, and so it begins. Immediately, the Ghostbusters team is cobbled together as the apparitions are in need of capture, and an old book that two of the team ashamedly co-authored years prior, suddenly brings them together with renewed faith in their earlier theories about spooks.

    Much like the first “Ghostbusters,” this one is plied with much goofiness, ridiculous situations, and multiple one-liners that kept the audience mildly chuckling. Something I noticed, too, was how many of the jokes banked on knowledge of the first movie, as well as cultural things that would just not be funny unless one was in the know. It was kind of like those animated films where they entertain the kids because of the spectacle and charming characters, but what the adults are laughing at, the kids have no clue. It was like that here, and, in the end, the audience clapped. Clapped! This wasn’t a fantastic movie; it just connected, knowingly, with the audience.

    Spiritually speaking, the movie is about capturing ghosts, and that’s not really something humans have any hope to ever do. Besides, if by “ghosts” the understanding is that they are the departed spirits of dead people, this movie doesn’t stress it. In fact, all of the ghosts seem to be malevolent, and we might applaud that, as we believe there are evil spirits (fallen angels) that exist; we call them demons. In the movie, there is one obviously demonic ghost that appears during a rock concert, and a band member cheers the fact that their music has summoned “Satan himself!” In another scene, Abby (Melissa McCarthy) is demon-possessed temporarily and Patty (Leslie Jones) slaps some sense into her while uttering, “the Devil is a liar!” That’s a paraphrase of Jesus” words in John 8:44. Of course, it’s also a phrase one might hear in a Pentecostal deliverance service. So you have those that welcome the devil, and those that cast him out, and everything is something of a silly stereotype.

    In the Bible, Paul the Apostle wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:8, that to be “absent from the body” is to “be present with the Lord.” We take this to mean that human souls are either present in the living person, or they are in the immediate incorporeal company of God. Human “ghosts” do not wander around Earth haunting anything. And the one Bible mention in the movie was “Biblically bad!” with reference to a plugged toilet. Ahem.

    As for other content of which to be aware; there is lots of destruction, people being tossed around, and ectoplasm (green slime) being vomited on everyone. The ghosts are mostly scary looking, and small children should not see this film.

    There are many references to God, and they are not, generally speaking, referring actually to Him. Instead, there are over a dozen OMGs uttered without the abbreviated initials, and almost all uses are exasperated utterances, rather than legitimate calls upon deity. There is one notable moment where God is spoken of as a person, but the speaker says, “I know God doesn’t make mistakes, but he must have been drunk when he made Gertrude’s personality.” That statement is not meant to disparage God but Gertrude, unfortunately it smacks of blasphemy.

    There are some childish jokes about flatulation, virtually every current expletive (especially a**) finds its way into the script (except maybe the very worst) and the middle finger is flashed. The original Ghostbusters logo is designed with bosoms because of the ghostbusters’ gender, but they are later removed. There are a couple mentions of drug use, but no actual scenes of it, though there is a bar scene. There is a shirtless male actor, Chris Helmsworth, and an unclothed mannequin that comes to life, but neither really come off as prurient.

    This movie is not unlike a Saturday Night Live sketch that goes on and on. It’s a little better than that actually, but, still, the somewhat bawdy humor and persistent language of some of the characters wear on Christian sensibilities. Nevertheless, this is not a “Christian” movie with a Gospel message or a sanitized presentation. Rather, it is typical of secular culture and has no great redeeming truths to convey (although friendship and sacrifice come through on occasion, and the good guys, or gals, triumph over evil in the end). If you stay through the whole of this movie, then you might as well sit through the credits and catch the extra scene (which, again, won’t make sense unless you’ve seen the original).

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