Who would have thought the reboot of GHOSTBUSTERS by Paul Feig would become one of 2016’s most controversial films? From the get go there has been a lot of hate flung at this film, whether it is complaints that the film stars women or the lack of originality seen in the trailers, this film has been hated on by the masses. It is extremely unfair to judge a film before it has been seen, yet so many were giving it bad ratings and reviews before it was even out. Childhoods cannot be ruined by a film, your childhood has happened and nothing can change that, nostalgia is a powerful thing and in the case of GHOSTBUSTERS it has gone overboard. With all of this said, how did the film ultimately end up? Worthy of the hate or in need of being given a chance?
The film begins with a ghostly encounter at Aldridge mansion, this leads Ed Mulgrave Jr. (Ed Begley Jr) to seek out Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) whom he believes can help due to a paranormal book she had co-written. It turns out Erin has turned her back on that world and sees the book as an embarrassment. In a bid to put a stop to the book getting out, she finds her old writing partner Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). Abby is working on a campus with her new partner Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), developing technology to find and deal with ghosts. After telling them about the mansion dealings, the three end up there to investigate. They encounter a spirit and Erin is a believer again and joins Abby and Jillian to find and capture ghosts. Meanwhile someone is out to bring evil ghosts in New York, MTA worker Patty (Leslie Jones) gets on his case and has her own encounter. She soon joins the group of women who become known as the Ghostbusters as they attempt to capture and stop the ghosts.
With so much to live up to and a legion of loyal original fans, GHOSTBUSTERS certainly had its work cut out for it. A remake or reboot is never easy, to have one be successful it needs to respect where it came from but also add something new and not be a carbon copy. This is why films like THE THING (1982) and DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) are great examples of how to remake a film, and GHOSTBUSTERS didn’t quite reach that point but it was not a failure either. Paul Feig not only showed respect and love for the original property but he did aim to keep things different and not copy the original note for note. They do share similarities but they did feel like separate entities, the nods were present and there was some unnecessary fan service.
It is always refreshing to see a film with women in the lead roles, and really well written characters at that. Erin and Abby share a past and we get to feel that with their interactions, we know these two actors share strong chemistry and it transferred into their characters. Jillian added the quirkiness to the film, and she will either be loved or hated. Personally she was loved here, and worked as some comic relief. Patty was an extremely fun character, and someone who fit in well with the established group. They each had their moments, felt like really fleshed out characters and who were fun to be around. The male characters did not fare so well, with Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin being a hunky airhead and the others not explored all that much. This could possibly be Feig’s way of a role reversal and showcasing how women are normally written in these types of films. Not a bad move by any means, but perhaps a little over done.
Performances were mostly spot on, Kristen Wiig was fine as Erin, the most straight laced of the bunch. Even if something didn’t entirely work in the script, she certainly tried her best to overcome that. She was not overbearing and her character progressed throughout the film, Wiig made that feel very natural and the right notes were being hit. Melissa McCarthy was Abby, nothing much new from her here as it feels like we have seen this from her before. Despite that Abby was a fun character who blended well with her fellow team mates. She struggled a little with the weaker aspects of the script, but thankfully Wiig was there for support. Kate McKinnon was amazing, the quirky and crazy one of the bunch, yet the smart inventor. Every second she was on screen was an absolute delight, she lit up the screen and made something out of her character. Leslie Jones was a riot as Patty, a very caring woman but someone who does not take hell from anyone. Chris Hemsworth was hysterical in his role, great comedic timing and proving how versatile he can be. There are also some fun cameo’s from original cast members that should certainly cause a few smiles to happen, they are a nice addition.
GHOSTBUSTERS is a fun time, with a lot of good ghost action, CGI actually looks really good and it has characters that work well together. The script falters at times, with some weak comedy thrown in, but when it works it really works a treat. It is a different being from the original, with a lot of heart and family friendly for the over 8 year olds. This is not a film that deserves the backlash and trolling it has received, it needs to be seen and taken in and then feelings decided. Girls will love it and boys will too, your childhood will be fine. Thank you ladies for a fun group of busters, can I join the team?