Ghostbusters

Posted: July 14, 2016 in Film reviews
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Directed by Paul Feig. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth.

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They ain’t afraid of no ghost…or internet troll!

 

When an old New York mansion is threatened by a supernatural presence, the owner seeks out noted physicist Dr Erin Gilbert (Wiig) for help. She has no idea why he’s come to her, until he reveals that he has a copy of a book she once wrote with her former friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) and which is now available online. Worried that the resurfacing of a book she’s embarrassed by will harm her career at Columbia University, Gilbert tries to get Barnes to pull the book but she only agrees if Gilbert will introduces her to the owner of the mansion. Gilbert reluctantly agrees and visits the mansion with Barnes and her colleague Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon). There the trio encounter a genuine ghost.

Unfortunately when they try to tell people the three are humiliated. Fired from their respective jobs the three women decide to go into business for themselves as paranormal investigators. Soon they’re joined by subway worker Patty Tolan (Jones) an amateur historian who’s had her own brush with the supernatural.

It soon becomes clear to the Ghostbusters that a human presence is causing an upsurge in supernatural activity in order to shatter the barriers between worlds, causing mass hysteria and complete chaos. Though the Mayor (Andy Garcia) believes them he’s petrified of panicking the city and so has them dismissed as kooks, but with the evil scheme of busboy/genius Rowan North (Neil Casey) about to reach fruition the Ghostbusters will have to keep fighting if they want to save the city, ably (well, not so much) helped by their incredibly handsome yet incredibly dumb receptionist Kevin (Hemsworth).

The world might be about to end, so who ya gonna call?

I’ll be honest. I was wary about this. Not, I hasten to add, because of the casting, in fact if anything the presence of McCarthy and Wiig, plus Director Feig, actually gave me hope that it wouldn’t be terrible (given I love Bridesmaids) it’s just that I didn’t think Ghostbusters was the kind of film you could remake. It’s just such a niche, unique, of its time movie. Frankly you could argue it shouldn’t have worked in 1984. Plus it’s one of my favourite films, a nostalgic love since my youth, and there was the gut instinct reaction against anyone remaking something I love. When the trailers came out they didn’t do much to engender confidence in this film.

Of course you should never judge a film by its trailers, and, as it turns out, Ghostbusters 2016 is a good film, an enjoyable way to spend two hours in the company of likeable characters retelling a classic story in an affectionate and amusing way.

Casting wise the fearless foursome make a great team. McCarthy is always a joy to watch, and whilst Wiig does seem to be riffing on her uptight neurotic from Bridesmaids, she does it well and she and McCarthy have great chemistry. McKinnon is great as the deranged Holtzmann and Jones rounds out the team nicely as the down to earth non-scientist of the bunch (though one can’t ignore the fact that the sole black member of the team is also the only one not a genius, even if she more than proves her worth). As Kevin Hemsworth does a great job of sending himself up as the ridiculously stupid Kevin, and he steals an awful lot of the scenes he’s in. Of course people will complain that he’s only there as a sex object, but you know the same could be said of a large number of make dominated films with the token bimbo. And yes Neil Casey’s villain is just a sad little man living in his basement …but if anyone has any complaints I refer them back to the original where the main female characters were a whiny secretary and an uptight musician who was, let’s be honest here, effectively stalked by a creepy guy she went to for help before eventually succumbing to his charms. Oh, and lest we forget, Dan Akroyd gets a blow job from an amorous ghost (a scene which serves no purpose!)

The plot is pretty thin but Feig keeps things chugging along nicely, the effects are well done and the film contains a lot of Easter eggs—some more obvious than others—for the fans of the original film, including a whole heap of cameos.

Yes it takes a little who to get up to speed, and yes some of the jokes fall a little flat (but name me a comedy where 100% of the humour hits?) and you can feel a certain prickliness that, whilst understandable given the crap this film was given before anyone even saw it, is nonetheless a little jarring (In one particular scene they check out comments on the internet).

It’ll never live up to the original, but I don’t think it ever could no matter who made it, and it has its flaws, but this is a far better Ghostbusters film than I ever thought we’d get and I for one would be more than happy to watch these ghostbusters return.

Ignore the misogynists and the nostalgia fascists and make your own mind up. Me, well I ain’t afraid of no female paranormal investigators!

 

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Comments
  1. I had the same feelings about the film when it was announced as you did – that the original didn’t actually need remaking. Your review makes me think I should give this version a chance.

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