Director: Nic Mathieu
Cast: That guy in The Pacific, your Wan from the Newsroom, your man from Pacific Rim
Review Author: Tony
It’s disgraceful how long it’s been since our last Beer Goggles and yet It’s also a bit of a wake-up call. For too long have I been keeping my two favourite past times separate (If it’s not obvious it’s beers and movies) and yet suddenly during the grand piss up that is St Patrick’s weekend (it’s a weekend event to me dammit!!!) I was struck with inspiration. Driven by both inspiration and cans of cheap polish imported beer I launched Netflix and after some aimless browsing, I stumbled upon Spectral.
I think it was a combination of the Netflix logo and the Call of Duty looking dude that made me pick this film as it spoke to my inner nerd and provided a safety net with Netflix’s usual quality assurance, also if I had spent any more time browsing I was going to pass out.
The film opens with a US soldier navigating through a war-torn country. As he comes to a dead-end his hi-tech goggles pick up some strange interference. Of all the things to go wrong a ghost coming out of the fucking wall wasn’t my first guess. As the title rolled across the screen my mate and I locked gazes and began to chant the Ghostbusters theme. tune in unison. I checked how many beers I’d gone through and told myself “Yea! I can roll with ghosts”.
I immediately recognized the majority of the lead cast in this film but could not name one of them, it was like a cast of supporting characters from other films. I’m not ragging on the talent of any of these actors, I’m just saying the studio probably dedicated their budget to the effects department. Hell, fucking Milton from office space shows up at one point.
Our leading man is an engineer with the power of science and putting together lasers and infrared goggles. He gets called by the US army to investigate the strange phenomenon which is killing US marines and locals. Engineer man’s goggles seem to be capturing the strange phenomenon so he volunteers to build a bigger camera to capture whatever is going on. Half of this film is the dude building stuff on the fly that is specially designed for ghost busting with fuck all time or resources. I swear this guy should have been part of the X-Men he’s so fucking capable of his job.
Not everyone is happy to see Engineer man at first though, a group of soldiers surrounds him as he installs his camera to one of their vehicles. I nearly wet myself laughing at this scene as basically a budget Chris Pratt explains that they don’t like him cause he knows science and stuff and that the soldier who died at the start of the film was their friend. What? The guy is installing the camera to find out exactly what killed their friend and they stand around giving him shit, “Ungrateful shower of wankers” were my exact words at the time.
After a couple more cans I started to notice a familiarity about the film as if I had seen it before and then a moment of intoxicating clarity came over me, “Fucking Final Fantasy” I announced to my friend who sat there bewildered and not grasping my excitement or quite what I was saying. “The Final Fantasy movie that looked really cool but actually kind of sucked that had ghost aliens that killed people when they touched them and Alec Baldwin does the voice acting even though his character looks like Ben Affleck”. Thankfully this cleared things up.
It’s odd seeing a film share a premise this specific especially when the original film wasn’t very good, to begin with, yet somehow I think worked for me as it was just a better film. Turns out the ghosts aren’t alien ghosts or actual ghosts but some kind of projection of a rare element on the period table, in hindsight how didn’t I spot something that was so obvious. In fairness silly explanation aside, I was on auto-pilot by the final act as beer and whiskey are not the most potent of mixes. Luckily the final act was all big epic finale showdown as Engineer man whips up a whole arsenal of ghost killing guns and a cannon on a robot.
At times I thought this film was drunker than me as it gets pretty off the wall but takes itself very seriously. Maybe it was the beer talking but I remember having a pretty good time. It’s a daft premise but well enough acted and pretty competently directed. Much of the props were very cool to look at and had a video game aesthetic about them that reminded me of Gears of War.Spectral is probably the second best Ghostbusters film I’ve seen and certainly one of my more enjoyable Beer Goggles.
Rating: 3/5 Carlsberg.