Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)
The original Ghostbusters is one of the first movies I really remember seeing. It was 1985-and I know that it came out in 1984, but I lived in the middle of nowhere at the time and it took movies a bit to get out there-and the entire theatre was into the movie, like cheered for the logo and sang along to the theme song. I was sitting in the front row sharing a seat with my best friend, because every showing was still selling out.
I don’t know if this new Ghostbusters is the cultural touchstone the first one was, but it is at least a worthy successor. Without a doubt it is the second best Ghostbusters movie, ever. Though, after the shitshow that Ghostbusters 2 was, that could be not saying much.
I will avoid spoilers for the most part, but consider this a mild spoiler warning.
The movie is not a remake, it is closer to an adaptation. The word de jour is re-imagining, or some crap like that. What the movie is taking the idea of the original movie and moving that idea forward into the new millennium.
None of the characters are exactly the same as the four ghostbusters in the first one. And this is a great move, instead of gender switching the roles, new characters were created. No one is just a female Venkman and the movie much, much better for it. Kristen Wiig is perfect as the aspiring theoretical physicist Erin Gilbert, who wants nothing to do with the career threatening book about ghosts she wrote with Melissa McCarthy’s Abby Yates, until they see a real ghost. McCarthy is finely toned down in her role, which works because the ghosts are more than crazy enough, McCarthy running full-bore over the top would be too much. Kate McKinnon in the role of a lifetime steals every scene she is in with her character Jillian Holtzmann, a much-needed role that was never really talked about in the first movie. For all the science that is talked about, what about the engineering? (Grossly, a scientist discovers what you can be done, an engineer figures out how to actually do it. They are very different parts of the scientific process and a truly great discovery or innovation needs both.) Holtzmann is a great engineer character, she spends the whole movie refining and improving the ghostbusting tech, taking it in crazy directions. Sure protonpacks are cool, but wait until you see all the devices she comes up with. Great stuff.
The other gender-swapped role is Chris Hemsworth playing a caricature of every bad bimbo stereotype from a comedy ever, there is a running gag where his Kevin is so dumb he cannot even figure out how to answer the phone. He is great and you have to love seeing these sterotypes swapped around.
The movies does know where it came from, and the love for the original Ghostbusters is everywhere. All most all of the surviving original cast makes cameos, or have roles, including all the Ghostbusters, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, and even Slimer is back.
The movie is a hoot, has a good soul, and is pretty damn good. I don’t know if it will be remembered longer than the first, but I will watch it again and would not be sad if a sequel comes out.