Ghostbusters (2016) Review

Ghostbusters, the recently released remake by Columbia Pictures starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth, is the perfect example of a modern re-imagination (or reboot) of a classic film done right.

Directed by Paul Feig, the film follows similar concepts and supernatural comedy themes of its 1984 predecessor, which caused an array of mixed reactions amongst fans of the original film. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to the New Zealand media screening to be one of the first to see the film. Despite my reservations about this reboot, I sat through the entire film and it did not disappoint.

The plot of Ghostbusters is much like the original film, in which things that go bump in the night have been stirring up trouble for New York City, bringing together Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and transportation worker, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). Having each witnessed the impossible, the four band together to save the city from the paranormal creatures which plague it. Setting up an office offering ‘ghost-busting’ services, the four women hire good looking yet completely dim-witted Kevin Beckman (Christ Hemsworth) as their receptionist. What ensues is a well carried out storyline of good vs evil, backed with laughs all the way through.

Having watched the 1984 Ghostbusters film as a child, I found the story to be more focussed on the spook-factor rather than on the humour. I never really ‘got’ the humour of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, and the concept of demonic possession scared me a little. This remake, however, seems to gel well with today’s modern world, the humour much more slapstick and on point, which lessens the chill of the supernatural themes of the film. The villain of this remake too felt less terrifying compared with the original.

The comedy aspects of this film are hilarious. The dialogue was exceptionally well written and all four women carried out their roles brilliantly. What I really enjoyed was the idea of friendship and commonality between each women that developed in their quest to capture and study ghosts. The connection between the four women felt real and the film illustrated that they supported and cared for one another, unlike the slight distance I felt amongst the all male cast of the original film.

Prior to watching the remake, I had heard and read varying feedback about the new film and the decision to have an all female cast. Having sat through the entire film, I didn’t and can’t see what the issue is with having women as the main focus. I don’t think it would have really mattered if the film consisted of all male, all female or even a mix of male and female. At the end of the day, it is the acting, the writing and the way in which the plot is unravelled that matters; all of these were done exceptionally well in this film.

The funny moments of the film largely stemmed from Kate McKinnon’s Jillian, whose actions and antics just felt so wrong, which resulted in lots of chuckles. Her wit and charm was fantastic and this did well to sell her character to me. The other reason for non-stop laughter is Chris Hemsworth’s daftness. I did not expect to see such mindless stupidity from the man who plays a Norse God. The shock of this, along with just how silly he was, made the film just so much more worth watching in my opinion.

While the humour was off the charts (in my opinion), I was also sold on the visual effects of Ghostbusters. The way in which the ghosts were depicted was epic, from the way they looked to the way in which they moved and functioned. I loved the fight scenes and enjoyed watching the four women learn to use their proton packs and related ghost catching gear. Melissa McCarthy takes the cake for her attempt at imitating a deflated balloon.

If those aspects of the film were not enough at sparking my enjoyment, the short cameos that the original cast has in this film certainly did it for me. It was just so cool to see them again, nearly thirty years later, though there’s no confirmation of this Ghostbusters being in the same Universe of its predecessor.

All in all, I really loved this new re-imagination of Ghostbusters. I haven’t laughed so hard in a theatre in so long and it felt really good to have other members of the audience laugh along with me. The plot felt logical and rather realistic in a world where paranormal beings exist; the laughs were just to die for; and it was nice knowing that four women could save the day as much as four men could.

What are you waiting for? Check out Ghostbusters in theatres now and let me know your thoughts.

Rating: 4/5

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