Review: Ghostbusters (2016)
So, to begin with I want address the elephant in the room. There have been numerous internet commenters who were completely opposed to remaking the classic Ghostbusters (1984), and especially with an all-female cast. My readers know that I have very specific concerns about movie remakes (see Rules for Movie Remakes). But the new Ghostbusters (2016) was made 32 years after the original and thus meets my #1 rule that movie remakes should be at least 30 later than the original.
But what about the haters of the new cast or even the idea of a remake of a comedy classic. Well let’s just look at the level of involvement in this new movie by those involved with the 1984 original. The director the original, Ivan Reitman, is a producer of this new film. Dan Aykroyd also serves as an executive producer. And almost all of the original cast has part or at least appearances in this film. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, Slimer and even Harold Ramis, who died in 2014, puts in a brief appearance. So, I say if all of these filmmakers of original film are involved in the new one, then who among us should say that the new Ghostbusters shouldn’t have been made?
Now let’s look at how good this film is. If this this film was the original, it surely would be considered to be a future classic. But it isn’t and is not quite up to the comedy level of the original. But still it is very good.
The cast is very funny. Kristen Wiig (as Erin Gilbert) and Melissa McCarthy (as Abby Yates) are essentially the stars of the cast. And they do deliver the usual comedy built on awkward or outrageous situations (as in Bridesmaids). They have very good comedic timing chemistry. But we are also not seeing we have not seen in any of their other work in film or SNL. A couple of times they let a particular joke run on just a little too long.
To me however, the real stars of this movie are Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. Kate as Jillian Holtzmann, is the perfect combination of a mad scientist, teenaged goofball and circus clown. Just hearing her describe her latest ghostbusting weapon is hilarious. She is the cast member who comes closest to channeling the goofiness Bill Murray brought to the original. But she does it in her own style.
Leslie Jones also brings a fresh style to this film. She brings an edge to the comedy that only the best black performers can. It is refreshing and original.
As can be expected in a reboot of a franchise (stay to the end of the credits) the story is essentially the same as the original. New York City is having a crisis of ghostly proportions and eventually the four the Ghostbusters come to the rescue. I must say the approach to the main story plot has been slightly refined to create a villain that we can actually see and boo at.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the most refreshing part of this film is the all-female Ghostbusters get hunky, dumb-blonde receptionist in the form of Chris Hemsworth. This guy really is as dumb as box of rocks (“an aquarium is a submarine for fishes”). But this creates some of the funniest scenes in the movie. I really hope that can keep him coming back for the sequels.
So, whether you have seen the original or not you will want to see this movie. It is scary good.