All the skeptics and naysayers can calm the f*ck down now. Ghostbusters was pretty damn good.
The 2016 Ghostbusters movie is a reboot of the 1984 supernatural comedy classic. Since it started marketing a year ago, (and especially after it was announced that it was going to feature an all-female team) the worst corners of the internet has absolutely ripped on it, even infamously making its first trailer the most disliked movie trailer on YouTube to date. A lot of things have been said against it – that it was a desecration to the beloved cult classic (and apparently of childhoods), a shameless cash grab, a diversity and feministic publicity stunt, or that the trailer simply looked bad and unfunny. Out of all of that, the only think you could really concretely have an opinion on is the trailer, so if you don’t like what you saw on the trailer, then okay, I can understand if you’re mildly peeved.
But to hate that much on a film and to decide that it’s trash without even having seen it yet? I don’t know. Color me traditional, but I usually reserve my verdicts on a movie after I’ve watched it.
And watch it I did. To no surprise, the Ghostbusters reboot was a fun supernatural romp totally undeserving of all the internet hate. It has a great cast, comedy that mostly landed, flashy and energetic action beats, consistently outstanding visual effects, a relatively simple story with a smooth flow and perfect pacing.
Melissa McCarthy (Abby), Kristen Wiig (Erin), Kate McKinnon (Holtzmann), and Leslie Jones (Patty) star as the 4 new Ghostbusters. Along with Chris Hemsworth’s beefcake simpleton receptionist Kevin, the team answers the city’s call for the strange and unexplainable.
Melissa McCarthy’s raunchy attitude isn’t always for everyone, I’ll even be the first to admit that her comedy leaves a bad taste at times, but she does shine in Feig’s movies. Feig is able to temper that usually raunchy, physical and overeager content to suit their movies. Their collaboration is a strong suit in itself. SNL alum Kristen Wiig brings a low-key charm as the team’s straight woman. Leslie Jones acts as the civilian avatar and delivers comical hysteria while Kate McKinnon’s Holtzmann steals the show with her flamboyantly punk-slash-oddball swagger. McKinnon’s physicality, darting expressions, and delightfully zany charisma are the stuff of pop culture icons.
The chemistry between these four women is palpable – a fortunate result from years of working together in SNL (and McCarthy for being a multiple time former SNL guest and fellow comedic powerhouse.) When they’re obviously having fun together, how couldn’t we?
Rounding out the team is Chris Hemsworth’s moronic Kevin, but his “dumb blond” shtick was more flagrantly hit and miss than the rest. (Mostly misses) But at the very least, I’m glad he wasn’t just the eye candy comic relief I expected him to be. He serves the story in a pretty big way especially during the final act.
To the leads, not to mention the litter of other comedic actors making up the supporting cast, making people laugh is second nature. But at times the movie’s bogged down by pointless and cringe-worthy slapstick. It was funny all in all, for sure, but I concede that this was not their best comedic work. But then wasn’t the only thing that made this movie entertaining.
The one thing this reboot had a leg up on the original is its action beats. The actual ghost busting was some legit cool stuff! When I hear that familiar Ghostbusters theme and I see the ladies arm their proton packs and light things up, I couldn’t help but feel giddy inside. All the new toys, the spritely choreography and the vibrant CGI – the ghost fighting spectacle – are new to the brand and delivered flashes of awesomeness. Who says women can’t do action? There was one Holtzmann sequence near the end that gave me a genuine chill! Holtzmann is a total badass; McKinnon absolutely killed it! (Pun intended.)
With Paul Feig helming the film, it was always in good hands. With acclaimed comedies like The Heat, Spy and Bridesmaids, under his belt, the internet should have had a little more faith in his ability to make good, female-led adventure comedies.
Excluding some misogynistic responses, a lot of the initial negativity was probably from nostalgia for the original film. Reitman’s 80s film had this unique tone and blend of comedy, humor, and storytelling. (Murray’s removed acting style contributed to that distinctiveness and that alone is hard enough to replicate.) And to a lot of people, that was what made Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters.
But this reboot was made with love, not to mention an obvious blessing from the original. There were a handful of big nods and callbacks to the 80’s movie, even after the credits start rolling. So to anyone who feels like this isn’t a legitimate project, well rest assured that it was an affectionate and wholly respectful endeavor to our beloved property.
I’m guilty of fanboy entitlement myself (especially when it comes to comic book movies), so I can understand the fanboy disappointment, but at some point you just have to let it go and judge a film by virtue of its own merits. The bottomline? The Ghostbusters reboot was no Murray-Akroyd-Ramis-Hundson reincarnation, but did it entertain me? Yes, it sure as hell did. Did it puke all over the original movie? No it did not. Would I watch a sequel? I’m already excited for it!
For those who just really don’t like the idea that the Ghostbusters are women, well no one’s asking you to forget the original or throw away your copies. Both can be Ghostbusters. An it’s 2016. Captain America’s African American, Thor’s a woman, and there’s a Chinese Superman now. The world’s a changin’, don’t get left behind. ‘Coz the fact is, these four fine, funny ladies are Ghostbusters now too. Deal with it.
The Ghostbusters reboot may not generate the same, strong, cult following as the 1980’s movie as it lacks its novelty and distinctive character (especially in today’s big budget, adventure spectacle-laden film landscape), but no one can deny that the all-female reboot was still an entertaining and respectable reinterpretation. It has a drastically different tone and brand of humor, and is geared heavily towards a younger audience than the original, but it’s an update that’s true to form and honors and enriches the franchise. The strange and weird better watch out. There are new Ghostbusters in town now, and they are here to stay!