Ghostbusters (2016): Film Review

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The remake of the 1984 classic comedy Ghostbusters has been hit with hate from day one and, even though I love the original, I was excited by the cast and what they could do with it. The criticism the cast and director/co-writer Paul Feig have received is unfair, and I desperately wanted this to prove the haters wrong, so I’m very happy to report it did. It’s far from perfect, but it’s not the travesty you have been lead to believe.

The plot is slightly different even if the characters are essentially the same (just women this time). Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is pretty much the Bill Murray of the situation, the professor who loses credibility with her ghost theories, Melissa McCarthy is the old friend and paranormal believer Abigail (aka Dan Aykroyd), while her tech wiz Jillian Holtzmann, Kate McKinnon is modelled on Harold Ramis’ Spengler and Leslie Jones (the new Ernie Hudson) is a subway worker who wants in their ‘club’.

The plot uses kinda the same formula even if the specifics are different – they believe there are ghosts, they get kicked out of their respective universities/schools and set up a paranormal investigation team, which is eventually dubbed the Ghostbusters.  This time around they have to stop a demon named Rowan, who is using the energy of the lay lines running through New York to release ghosts into the city.

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The main criticism of this movie (pre-screening) was the Ghostbusters being women and I never really thought about it while I was watching. The gender-swap that was most effective with Chris Hemsworth as Kevin, the hot-but-stupid receptionist. It seems weird and almost implausible, yet women have been lumbered with that exact role for years. It’s eye-opening seeing a guy do that part. It was very refreshing, funny and Hemsworth was a total scene stealer – he must do more comedies.

My favourite though is McKinnon. Oh my God, her character is the best and most fully-realised of them all. Wiig and McCarthy still feel firmly within the roles set by their predecessors and don’t give much extra, whereas McKinnon is so much more. She has Spengler’s DNA but Holtzmann is entirely her own. Her look, her mannerisms, everything was on point. The least enjoyable was Jones because she was given the stereotypical black sidekick/friend role – she was loud, brash and had that ‘oh hell no’ shtick down. I wish she had more to her.

Paul Feig has treated the originals with respect and reverence. Some people will argue there are too many references, but I really liked the cameos from the old cast, Slimer and Stay Puft, and the nods to the car, the old firehouse and the music/costumes etc. These references were done with a cheeky wink and I enjoyed them.

The first half of the film was the strongest. It was very funny and you get to witness the cool ghost encounters. The only portion I didn’t enjoy was the finale. It was let down as the action and CGI took over from the characters. It gets very cheesy at the end too, but not enough to ruin the whole thing.

My issues with this film are minor. The casting is spot-on, I just wish Wiig and McCarthy broke out from the pre-set roles some more, most of the jokes landed, and I found it highly entertaining and so much fun. I imagine children with no concept of the original will wholeheartedly enjoy it.

In cinemas Monday 11th July 

Comments

  1. Nice review, Hannah. I’m excited to finally see this one! I love your blog too, do you ever share your writings on any film/entertainment sites?

    • Hannah Wales says:

      Thanks for the kind comment! Well I am a professional showbiz journalist too but this side of writing is my own – where I can let out my passion for film! I occasionally write for The Fan Carpet and Film Debate websites too, but mostly just here. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy Ghostbusters too.

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