Director: Paul Fieg
Writer: Katie Dippold, Paul Fieg
Starring: Kristen Wiig. Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth
A review by Ryan M. Holt
The original Ghostbusters is the brain child of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, and quickly became a comedy cornerstone in the mid 80’s. It is now 2016 which makes the series ripe for a reboot, which is entertaining and fun, although not as charming as the original. This is no fault of anyone involved in this wonderful movie, but because of the ludicrously high expectations the original film set.
Ghostbusters (2016) follows the told-again story of two disgraced scientist, Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, played by Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, as they follow their dreams of proving the paranormal exist. Abby’s understudy Jillian Holtzmann, played by Kate McKinnon, and every woman Patty Tolan, played by Leslie Jones, join the crew and the four leading ladies go off to solve the mystery of why ghosts are suddenly popping up throughout New York City.
Sadly the plot and most of the characters, are paper thin. Gilbert and Yates apparently grew up together and had a pretty ugly parting of ways, although that plot fades away as quickly as it is introduced. In her absence Yates has replaced Gilbert with the amazing and super entertaining Holtzmann, but any animosity between the two isn’t explored either. Gilbert explains her first encounter with a ghost, but there is no pay off to that conversation either. Why couldn’t they explore what happens when you run into a ghost you know? Do you bust that ghost? Do you spare it from proton fire and ghost traps? This movie skirts along a pool of potential but very rarely takes the leap into the deep end.
Both Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth save this movie from playing it entirely safe. The two deliver a breath of fresh air to the series, with McKinnon playing the part of a mad scientist and engineer like a fiddle. Your eyes are instantly glued to her, even if she is just hanging out in the background, because she is always doing something drastically different than any of the other cast members. In the third act she gets the most badass hero moment I have seen in film since Iron Man saved 13 people in free fall. She constantly got the biggest laughs out of the new cast, and her mannerisms were a sight to behold. I wish everyone was reading off of her script. I hope her inevitable breakout success from this movie means we will see her in more than just Saturday Night Live going forward.
With this movie Hemsworth joins the ranks of Effron and Tatum in the “Hot Guys who can nail comedic timing”. He leans in to the softhearted idiot receptionist role with such dedication that when he gets possessed you feel the threat is real, even if the villain’s motives and actions are incredibly vapid and questionable.
Leslie Jones makes the best out of what she is given from the script, but I also felt that her character was never fully realized. She joins the team under the premise that she knows the history and stories of New York City. Yet when the team is magically transported to the past for some reason, she never once provides any fun historical facts or insight. If I were a history buff and I was transported back in time you bet I would make mention of it.
The other big stars are the ghosts themselves, as it finally feels like a realized world. The original movie had a certain amount of campy-ness to it, with string guided books being called ‘a haunting’, but these ghosts honor the original in their quirkiness without moving the movie into full on horror-like ghosts. In the third act the Ghostbusters are besieged by a parade of ghosts and it is incredibly satisfying to see on the big screen. I have a feeling that once the movie hits Blu-ray some of the awe will be lost, but at that point the movie is running purely on fun.
Oh, and the cast of the original Ghostbusters, sans Rick Moranis, all make cameo appearances, and get the biggest cheers and laughs. The biggest cheer comes after the credits roll, so be sure to stay for that.
See it! While Ghostbusters (2016) is far from perfect, it is a fun romp through New York City with enough laughs to keep you going. It is a valiant follow up to a classic, that hopefully will be used to lay the groundwork for more bustin’.