Ghostbusters 2016

When there is something strange in my neighborhood, I know four women I am going to call. After months of negative online chatter, mainly from a particular group of men who failed to realize that Hollywood stopped catering to their generation long before they were making mortgage payments, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters remake finally hit theaters this weekend. Updating the series for a new era of potential fans, while paying sincere homage to the original series, the film has everything one wants from a summer blockbuster.

In a season when many of the big budget live action films have been either uncharacteristically dark, or they simply take themselves too seriously, Ghostbusters is a breath of fresh air. A film that understands how to balance being both a comedic romp and an action spectacle. The fact that the main characters are educated women who are not afraid to tussle with the paranormal is the cherry on this delicious sundae.

The story focuses on Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) who is on the cusp of being approved for tenure at Columbia University. One potential aspect that might hinder her bid is the revelation that an old book, on paranormal phenomenon, she co-authored with her former pal Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), has resurfaced online. Though Gilbert gave up on her paranormal beliefs years ago, she is shocked to find that Yates is still conducting her research alongside and an eccentric engineer, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), at a local college. After making a deal in which Yates would stop selling the book, in exchange for Gilbert introducing her to Ed Mulgrave (Ed Begley Jr.), the heir to an estate he believes is haunted, the three women find themselves face-to-face with an actual ghost.

Confirming what they had always theorised was in fact possible, the three women decide to go into business together to further explore the paranormal activities popping up in New York City. When one particular event has the ladies crossing paths with an MTA worker, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), with an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the city, the group quickly becomes a foursome as they attempt to figure out who is behind these strange occurrences. Gaining more media attention, and their share of naysayers, the women soon find themselves at odds with the Mayor (Andy Garcia) and his advisor (Cecily Strong), who would rather ignore the paranormal incidents than have the city in widespread panic.

Sharply self-aware of its place in pop culture, including taking sly digs at the internet trolls who condemned it without having seen the film, but never taking itself too seriously, Ghostbusters does a solid job of forging its own entertaining path. The four women are hilarious in their given roles and prove more than worthy to fill the shoes of the previous Ghostbusters stars, many of whom make cameos in the film. Kate McKinnon in particular is quite a revelation. Given the most leeway to really have fun with the part, McKinnon nails every scene she is in. She generates big laughs while managing to make Dr. Holtzmann’s eccentricities seem almost normal in the grand scheme of things.

In a film where comedic powerhouses like Wiig, McCarthy, Jones and McKinnon are functioning at the top of their game, it is surprising to see Chris Hemsworth getting ample time to get in on the fun as well. Providing an amusing piece of role reversal, Hemsworth is a delight as the ditzy receptionist Kevin. He feels as if he could be a relative of the clueless blond that Bill Murray’s Dr. Peter Venkman was trying to seduce in the original film. If there is one knock on this new Ghostbusters though it is that the central villain, Rowan North (Neil Casey), is not as memorable as he should be. The film is so concerned with establishing the Ghostbusters themselves, that it does not give them a worthy foe. Fortunately, the post-credit sequence hints at correcting this in the next film.

A worthy entry into the franchise, and offering a nice change of pace from many of this summer’s lackluster blockbusters, Ghostbusters is the popcorn film audiences have been craving. It is a film that is not afraid to fire its proton pack to the groins of all those men who foolishly think women cannot kick butt on screen just as well as their male counterparts.

19 Comments

  1. excellent review, Courtney! I’m excited to give this a watch. it was nice reading your critique of the ridiculous, misogynist criticism this film has been getting. it drives me up the wall every time I see it, so I’m glad there are some people talking sense out there!

  2. I might wait for it on TV as I’m just not interested in seeing new movies right now. Still, I think this film is getting a bad rap all because of bunch of surly fanboys who have sand in their vaginas.

  3. Disappointed that it didn’t top the box office in its opening week. I wanted the masses to disprove the trolls and make it a hit but it doesn’t look hopeful, but it really deserves it. Great family blockbuster.

    1. Hopefully positive word of mouth will keep it relevant in regards to the box office conversation. Lot of competition coming out in the next few weeks though.

  4. I really enjoyed this movie so very much and I am glad you did too. I agree with you that the villain is not such a great part, but I think Neil Casey does well, with a thin set of lines. Nice review!

  5. I’m eager to see Kate McKinnon’s performance. She is pretty “out there” on SNL episodes I’ve seen her in but usually pretty funny. Perhaps she’ll be the next Kirsten Wiig or Tina Fey after this.

  6. Solid review. You definitely liked it better than I did. It’s funny, one of my complaints was that it did feel just like another summer popcorn movie. When writing about it that kept popping up in my head.

    1. Interesting, I liked that it was a pure popcorn film. I find too many of the blockbusters we now see in the summer are too serious. Studios have forgotten that people need to also have some laughs along with all the explosions and such.

  7. I saw the movie on a Saturday afternoon…To me it’s this:

    Remember back in the early days, when you enjoyed the original flavoured Hubba Bubba bubblegum?
    Now the company releases it now in electric strawberry-lime! You still have fond memories of the original,
    but you still enjoy this one for what it is. After a couple of hours, you just dispose of it.

    There were parts that worked and some didn’t and you can’t help wonder if they had a stronger script and tied everything better. It was still entertaining and fun and the 3D was effective!

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