It’s finally here, whether you wanted it or not.
So first and foremost let me be clear: I’m a Ghostbusters fan. Yes, of the 1984 kind. The original tale of a group of scientists teaming together to prove the existence of the paranormal and save New York City from a demonic invasion; what’s not to love? Even though its sequel and subsequent animated adventures fared less well, the fan base is as strong as ever and a force to be reckoned with. So much like most beloved franchises, our hearts all collectively sank when we heard a reboot was on the cards that would be a swift departure from what we knew and loved.
Ghostbusters (The 2016 kind) had a lot of critical buzz from the very moment Sony first announced it. We all started to dread the prospect of whatever Paul Feig had to offer us. Was it the fact that it was a reboot? Was it because they’re all women? Maybe it was the god awful promotional material and the historically most disliked trailer on Youtube? Could it even be the broken reimagining of the theme? (Because the kids love Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott) The odds against it were looking Stay-Puft sized.
However with all of this against it I’m happy to say though that this year’s reboot once again reminds us who we gotta call.
Remember a time when movies made you feel good? Not just through sheer entertainment but by that unquantifiable sense of camaraderie. That’s the effect that Ghostbusters had on the packed movie theatre I was occupying the other night. From the very moment the opening credits drop, you’re greeted with the original Ray Parker Jr. theme and all that nostalgia floods back. Yes we’re in a different period and the characters are all new, but the same proof of concept that the original had is firmly rooted in what you see on screen. Scientists and misfits teaming up to save NYC from ghosts. Simple.
Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon work wonderfully alongside each other in an homage to the dynamic of the 1984 team. Wiig and McCarthy ground the film with their chemistry as former colleagues, whereas Jones and McKinnon function as the wildcards. McKinnon’s brand of offbeat humor is a definite highlight but I can be assured that it wont work on some viewers. The surprise casting of Chris Hemsworth as the team’s intellectually challenged secretary was also a great choice, proving his comedic chops and redeeming himself after the bomb that was Vacation.
The beats of the story are pretty similar to the original and as such most critics can and will argue that this is a shameless re-skin. However, this is the rare case in which following the approach of “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it” works to the film’s merit. To compare this to a recent incarnation of another beloved franchise, 2015’s Jurassic World is in the same ball park; at times it over relies on nostalgia for the payoff of it’s gags and narrative, but it just works.
That being said, the cameos that can be found throughout Ghostbusters are a mixed bag. Allowing most of the original cast to appear in some shape or form is great and whilst many are amusing, there are a few that can be seen as a little too gratuitous, even by a fan boy such as myself (I never thought I’d say there was too much Bill Murray).
The use of CGI works well in depicting the hordes of specters haunting the city and particle effects dazzle when the Proton Packs are in play, but at times it could be a little too much. But I’m pretty sure that’s just the practical effects purist in me coming out. I will say that the movie does suffer from some lackluster editing, with scenes becoming quite disorientating at times and gaps in the plot appearing evident. However, Feig has confirmed that a Extended Cut will be on it’s way with the eventual Blu Ray release.
What more can I say? Ghostbusters delivers on providing a modernized take on a beloved story whilst expanding on the universe and becoming accessible for a whole new generation of fans. Paul Feig and Katie Dippold are not reinventing the wheel by any means, but the writing is sharp with most jokes landing and a healthy amount of focus on the backlash that the movie evoked being included too. The pacing is a little off at times, but in the grand scheme of things that can be forgiven because whether or not you’re a fan of the original, there is something to love here.