Ghostbusters (2016) Review

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When the trailer launched in 2015 for the new Ghostbusters movie it was almost as if Satan had clawed his way up from Hell, slapped a few kittens, set up camp in a church and begun offering free hugs to passing virgins. The internet went batshit. People burned their copies of Bridesmaids, yelled hateful words from their rooftops and had Dan Aykroyd’s face tattooed on their buttocks in unison. It was a strange time. Still, as someone who doesn’t react like a complete wack-job after watching a movie trailer, I was intrigued by this outcry.

I am a big fan of the original Ghostbusters film. I was a kid in the era of the original Ghostbusters. I had a plastic proton-pack, I had my own glow in the dark Slimer toy, I loved it. I still do. I still, however, couldn’t muster the hatred for this new film, and as the release date got closer and closer, I instead just kind of shut-off. I was tired of hearing people complain and rant and rave about the remake and so I just stopped listening and didn’t bother seeing the film when it hit theatres in 2016.

I used to get a little bit irritated when my favourite movies underwent the remake treatment. Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and others were re-created for modern audiences with mixed results. I realised pretty quickly, though, that just because these remakes were happening, it didn’t mean that the film I loved, that special and fabulous original film, disappeared. It was still there, as beautiful as ever. Sometimes a remake even meant that the original film got a very cool new release with some extra features. Yeah, my hatred for the dreaded remake dissipated. Ghostbusters being remade just didn’t bother me, I’m afraid.

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I finally got around to it though. I figured that enough time had passed and my interest was there to check it out, and so I watched the new version of Ghostbusters. Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and with a cast of Feig familiars such as Melissa McCarthy (The Heat) and Kristen Wiig (Skeleton Twins), and Saturday Night Live comediennes Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. We also get Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as the bumbling receptionist Kevin, providing plenty of comedy. The story is a new origin tale in which the group comes together from various places to make up the Ghostbusters. McCarthy, as Abby and McKinnon as engineer Jillian, work as paranormal enthusiasts. Wiig, as Erin, comes together with them after initial reluctance and Jones as Patty a little later. They encounter scepticism within the media and government, and are labelled as Ghostbusters. We meet the villain of the story, Rowan North (Neil Casey), who is trying to unlock a barrier in order to allow the world of ghosts and ghouls to enter the real world. The four women attempt to stop him before he is able to do-so, and so adventure is had.

It’s a decent story and in many ways similar to the original film, with the origin aspect and the various nods to the original. I got a kick out of the various acknowledgements of the 1984 classic, from Slimer, to the casting of Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson, to the other small things that are a lot of fun to see pop up every few minutes. I really enjoyed these things and it showed me that Feig is truly a fan of the original film and wanted to try to show respect to it. The cast have a good chemistry, I think it helps that they know one another and have, in some instances, appeared in films together before. The writing wasn’t something I noticed as being bad, but I also didn’t think the script had the iconic dialogue that is vibrant in the original film.

I have to admit that as the credits rolled at the end of this movie I was a little confused as to why there is so much vehement hatred for it. I understand that many people didn’t want to see a remake of a beloved film, but aside from that I feel like much of the negativity is unfounded and pretty odd. I had fun with this film. It had some very entertaining sequences, lots of enjoyable tips of the hat to the original flick, and a cast that I personally enjoy. I think some of the CGI looked a bit “off”, the writing was missing that spark that took the first flick to another level, and it could have used some genuine spookiness to lift it to more than just a comedy film, but these things aside, there was lots to enjoy here.

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I have seen so many 1-Star reviews for Ghostbusters. People angrily claiming it to be an “abomination” and that the cast are awful, but I disagree. The cast do a fine job here, and I really like the fact that the Ghostbusters in 2016 are an as semblance of women who are able to fight against bad things without the action-hero male character helping them out. McCarthy and Wiig are proven to be very good when cast well, but McKinnon for me stole the show. Her unhinged and peculiar character was a lot of fun to meet and I thought she added a lot. Jones added a needed relatability to the proceedings too.

I just don’t know why people hate this so much. I didn’t adore it, and I didn’t think it was a perfect film, but I also didn’t dislike it. I laughed and had fun with it, and thought there were some enjoyable aspects. There are plenty, thousands in-fact, of films out there that are much worse than this one. It’s a shame that people have such an issue with this for the reasons I’ve read about in the last year, I thought we’d moved past such things. Still… Some people will dig it for what it is, and while I’d rather put in the disc to the original, I think this is pretty decent too.

3 out of 5

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