There hasn’t been a movie in a while that caused more controversy over nothing than the new Ghostbusters. The who, what, why and hows of the announcement made headlines around the world. Well the movie has been released and we finally get to see what all the drama was about. And guess what? It was over nothing. This new version of Ghostbusters is fun, hilarious, and a great addition to an already loved franchise.
This new version is a reboot, a term I hate using, but that’s what it is at its core. We meet paranormal scientists Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wigg) and Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). Together they wrote a book about the existence of paranormal phenomenon. Both women have since had a falling out. But their book has suddenly has a resurgence which brings both women back together, along with Abby’s eccentric engineer Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). The three discover the existence of ghosts and decide to go into the ghost hunting business together.
To continue their research, they open the “Department of the Metaphysical Examination,” hire dim-witted but good guy Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth) as a receptionist, and start building equipment to study and capture ghosts. Meanwhile, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones,) an MTA worker, sees a ghost and comes to the team for help, and then Patty jumps into the fight headfirst and joins the team, providing a historic knowledge of New York City and a vehicle dubbed “Ecto-1.” While all this is going on, occultist Rowan North is attempting to bring about the apocalypse. He has built a machine that will let loose millions of ghosts on New York and bring the downfall of man, setting himself up as the ruler of this new ghost world. It becomes a race against time to stop him and save the city.
What works in the movie is how funny all the actors are. But really, that should come as no surprise to anyone. Four of the funniest women of today got together and made a funny movie, a movie where they just happen to catch ghosts. Just like another movie of the same name from 30 years ago. And it’s funny. Who knew? But yes, the formula works, because it has before. Yes, there are quite a lot of comparisons between this movie and the last, and the nostalgia runs super high for several things: the car, the uniforms, some plots points, etc. But none of this hurts the movie in any way, if anything it makes it better. This new Ghostbusters stands on its own merits as a good movie and a damn funny one too.
It’s no surprise that Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wigg are funny. Their other movies tell us that and so do the box office numbers. But get ready world, if you don’t watch SNL or have no idea who Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are, welcome to the party. These two ladies are fantastic! Each character is fully formed and everything they do and say is not only believable for the story but just damn funny. BUT to throw even more comedy on top of what could be already a perfect comedy mix, in comes Chris Hemsworth. Here he is allowed to be funny, with good writing and direction. He’s done some comedy before and it never stuck, I think due to bad direction. But here, Thor is allowed to stretch his comedy muscles and really give it all he’s got. And it’s perfect and a great flavor to an already favorable film.
The special effects in the original were amazing. Still are. The puppets, the suits and all the slime. It was all great. It is here too, but different for sure. Because of the advances in technology the ghosts stand out beautifully. Not to diminish the effects from 1984, these are just different. The first ghost they meet in a haunted house is so creepy but strangely beautiful in its design. She has layers of skin and rot and you can see the skeletal system all underneath. And most of the ghosts look this way throughout the movie. It looks great and very creepy, not scary in any way, but creepy nevertheless. The scarcest thing in the movie is a mannequin. Won’t tell you why here, but take my word on it. It’s nightmare fuel for sure.
Now the plot is a little weak. Not going lie, I loved this movie and it’s a great add for the Ghostbusters franchise. But the plot gets a little lost in some scenes and some plot points pop up out of nowhere. It mostly feels like some of the plot may have been cut out of the movie, so hopefully the extended Blu-ray (which has already been announced) will answer some lingering questions. This doesn’t hurt the movie, but is very noticeable as the weak link in a great chain.
They only other negative things I can say is making this a reboot may have not been they way to go. You understand why the filmmakers made the choice: new era, new audience, etc. But I think the movie would have worked just as well, maybe even better, as a 30-year-old sequel; a new group of Ghostbusters taking the reigns. Who’s to say that maybe that would have worked better? But because of this new plot and information from the original film, there are many dimensions. So maybe one of the sequels of this new series will cross planes with the old one. You never can predict anymore how these franchises will turn out.
Overall the fears and mean comments made online for the past year can be put to rest. This movie doesn’t ruin your childhood. And if it does, your childhood sucked, because something as trivial as movie shouldn’t define your childhood. This movie is great. It’s funny, it’s got funny people in it doing funny things as they bust ghosts, which when you think about it, is all the original was too.