By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Let’s get this out of the way first: we’ll never get the Ghostbusters sequel that fans have clamored for for years. Since the death of Harold Ramis in 2014, whatever original plans there were for a sequel are donzo. So whatever qualms you may have about this reboot, just forget about it, because Ghostbusters, a total-reset starring some of the greatest comedians living today, does a good job living up to the name.
This version follows closely to the original film, with four very different people coming together to protect our world from the paranormal. There are even certain beats that mirror the original, but it doesn’t deter from the overall experience.
Directed by Paul Feig, Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), and Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) are scientists in various fields that discover a series of events are causing the paranormal to cross over into New York City. Along with Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), an MTA worker that knows New york better than anyone, they protect the streets from ghosts as they try to get down to what (or who) is causing all this to happen.
If there’s one reason to this movie, it’s for the ghostbusters themselves. McCarthy, Wiig, McKinnon and Jones, are electric. They make this movie. How each of them play off the other is awesome, to the point where I can’t imagine anyone else donning the proton packs. The supporting cast is great here, too. Chris Hemsworth nails it as Kevin, and nearly steals every scene he’s in.
Writers Feig and Katie Dippold do a great job shining light on all four ghostbusters equally. Sure, you could say McCarthy and Wiig are the heads of the bunch, but all four have the same staying power, more so than the originals. For one, it was a complaint to many (including myself) that Ernie Hudson never got the same amount of depth and screen time as his counterparts in the original films, so to see all the ladies shine equally in this version is a delight.
I’ll tell you what, these ghostbusters are a fierce, new breed. They kick ass, more so than Murray and co. If I had to bet money on who would win in a fight, it’d be these new ghostbusters any day. There are action sequences, especially towards the end, that take the franchise to a whole other level.
This movie sounds like Ghostbusters and looks like Ghostbusters. From the musical cues to the way the ghosts look, it’s sorta like it’s out of the eighties in some bizarre way. However, doesn’t feel like Ghostbusters. What I remember about the originals was that it was dialed-in. It never felt artificial or phony, there was a clear focus across all fronts, especially with pacing and dialogue.
With this version, it feels more like a Paul Feig comedy rather than a Ghostbusters movie. Like in Bridesmaids or Spy, there were one-liners and bits that went on for a long time. Many times I thought “Okay, let’s rope it back in.” Is it a dealbreaker? No, but there’s a time and place for that, and I felt like it shouldn’t be here in a beloved franchise.
However, one-liners with that “in-your-face” attitude is considered mainstream comedy now, so I can’t fully blame Feig and co. for approaching Ghostbusters with that in mind. It’s what people pay to see (myself included). If that’s going to be the tone of the series going forward, then I’m okay with it. It’s not the end of the world, people.
Old fans or new, there’s plenty to love about the reboot. For me, this film explores the sort-of lore of the franchise and goes into some depth. I hope that, assuming a sequel is greenlit, the next chapter explores more of the paranormal realm because this film touched briefly on those aspects, and these ghostbusters could go to some really cool places if the higher-ups allow it.
Despite the occasional so-so gag and sorta bare-bones story, should you answer the call? Yes (See what I did there?). If you’re looking for a solid blockbuster this summer, Ghostbusters is it. If you’re looking for a solid reboot (as if we’re not getting enough of those already) then this is for you. If you’ve never even heard of Ghostbusters, then it’s a great time to jump in. You could do worse.