In the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters, there’s a lot new: a brand new team; a bunch of new ghosts; new headquarters, and; a new writer/director in Paul Feig. Yet, despite all of this the movie is definitely, inherently Ghostbusters –fun, funny, with a team that has undeniable and infectious chemistry and a few decent scares to boot.
Yes, in this random internet commenter’s opinion, the new movie is (mostly) a success, and well deserving of your time.
So, let’s break it down (some mild story spoilers follow):
What’s It All About Then?
On the verge of being awarded tenure at a prestigious university, Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) discovers that her long-time school friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) has published a book on the supernatural they co-wrote, a book – Erin feels – will embarrass her to the university and deny her tenure. Failing to convince Abby to take the book down and meeting Jillian Holtzmann (a brilliant Kate McKinnon – more on her later), the three women discover a real ghost haunting a popular tourist attraction, giving Erin the push towards helping Abby and Holtzmann to investigate the paranormal once more. After they survive another ghostly encounter alongside New York history buff Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), it appears that someone may be intentionally drawing the spirits from the spectral realm…
Wot Dan Like
- The New Team
Simply put, the new Ghostbusters team are awesome. They have exceptional chemistry with one another (Erin and Abby’s friendship – and strife – is immediately believable and real), with Patty’s “outsider” status very quickly and smoothly erased as her aptitude and knowledge placing her as an invaluable member of the team. Holtzmann’s eccentricity gives a much welcome spark of uncertainty and McKinnon embodies her with remarkable energy and humour (a duel-wielded blowtorch scene got a hearty belly laugh from yours truly).
And these ladies are funny. Having already been a fan of McCarthy and Wiig (from Spy and Bridesmaids – both Feig movies), it was brilliant to be introduced to Jones and McKinnon and they all gelled together in some hilarious ways.
Thankfully, Feig decided not to simply make female analogues to the original team and the new characters get to breathe within the new movie’s universe. When these four are firing on all cylinders, there was nothing do than sit back and enjoy their performances.
It would be very easy to view Kevin as a one-note gag: an incredibly attractive, incredibly stupid man. But when the jokes they wring out of him are this good (as well as Chris Hemsworth’s exceptionally funny performance), I’m not sure I care too much. His deadpan delivery of some spectacularly silly dialogue had me sold on the character from the moment I met him.
- Ghost Busting
Though almost certainly due to the fact that technology has progressed so much since the original: ghost busting has never looked this good. Thanks to Holtzmann’s brilliant new toys, the Ghostbusters have far more in their locker than the proton packs, delivering some truly brilliant looking ghost busting action.
- It Feels Like Ghostbusters
From the opening haunting, to the creation of the team, right through the final shot the 2016 Ghostbusters movie does the most important thing: it respects the source. It’s (really) fun and funny, has a insanely likeable cast, throws in a few scares and keeps up a consistently entertaining feel throughout its 116 minute running time. Sure, whenever the principal cast aren’t on screen, in can sag (more about that in What I Didn’t Like), but overall this movie felt like it was really made by fans of the original two movies (it even includes a contentious plot point from the second movie and deals with it brilliantly).
For me, this movie – and any sequel – is in very safe hands.
Wot Dan Dislike
- An Underwhelming Villain
You’ve probably not heard much about Rowan, the primary antagonist of the reboot, and with good reason. Aside from being the threat the new team needed, that’s pretty much his entire point. We get to learn very little about him and his goals are right out of the My First Apocalypse playbook. Frankly, I wasn’t overly bothered by that (I watch Ghostbusters for the Ghostbusters), but a little more effort would have been appreciated.
This could have gone into both sections of the review. I’ll put it simply, as to avoid spoilers: two of the cameos are great. Two of the cameos are bad. One other feels unnecessary. On balance, then, this goes into the negative section.
- Cannon Fodder Ghosts
While I freaking loved the action of busting ghosts, at times it did feel like they were being treated as pure cannon fodder in the final act (if you’ve seen any of the trailers, you can probably guess what I’m talking about). It is absolutely not a deal breaker for me, but maybe just fewer ghosts next time.
Get to the Point Already, Dan
If you haven’t gathered already, I’m a big fan of the new Ghostbusters movie. It has flaws, but these are easily corrected in a sequel. The main component parts (the feel, the team and the humour) are all there. At the end of the movie, I realised I’d been sat there with a massive grin on my face. I go to the cinema to be entertained and have fun and I can say, without doubt, I was.