- Director: Paul Feig
- Release Date: July 15th 2016
- Studio: Sony /Columbia Pictures
*There may be some minor spoilers of the film in my review*
I was fortunate enough to receive advance screening passes on Wednesday to see Ghostbusters (Out in Theaters today). Before I carry on with my review, I feel I should mention the controversy surrounding this film. This reboot has generated an insane amount of hate online from fans of the original franchise from the second it was announced. Its trailer became one of the most disliked videos on YouTube, there have been mass petitions, and within minutes of me just posting about watching it on Instagram the hate seemed to still trickle down. Most recently the film has even been banned from distribution in China.
After a while you have to wonder if our society has become one that just can’t enjoy anything anymore without feeling the need to over-analyze and criticize the minutia of something that is simply meant to entertain. A society that sets out to destroy something they do not understand or agree with simply because they do not agree with or understand it. While many justify their hate by referencing the strongest parts of the original or why they think it is sacred—which I respect—part of me does still feel that a good portion of the hate is veiled behind the fact that they are women. Another part of me feels another good portion of the hate stems from it being “cool” to hate it or rip it to shreds at the moment for whatever reasons (subscribers, likes…etc.) or else deal with the wrath of a fan base scorned if you like it even the tiniest bit. Hey, what happened to embracing differences and respecting the opinions of others, guys? Even if you think they’re wrong/right, or just a little misguided?
I can sympathize where die-hard fans are coming from to a degree. It is a terrible thing to hear that something you adore will be remade and Hollywood, in particular, is no stranger to rebooting things left and right rather than investing in fresh ideas. I can see why those who refuse to watch this film for authentic reasons are angry that it was remade. I respect their frustrations and decisions to not see this film because that is their opinion. They felt wronged that it was going to be tampered with and none of the original characters would return, and as someone who enjoyed the original franchise and its spinoff animated shows (in the 90s as opposed to their original release in the mid to late 80s), I felt a little of that too. The original Ghostbusters was an amazing film, but it was not entirely free of its own errors, too. And I do agree that sometimes the reboots ruin the legacy of amazing things from our past.
However don’t let small things like this overpower the fact that this film will mean so much to the girls and newer generation who will go watch this and see that they are truly capable of anything, that women are more than just the lovable, sassy, or sexualized side characters or villains in superhero films. That women can also save the day, lead a film, and be as intelligent, brave and strong as men can. These women are representing the wonderful changes happening in film, and while some of those opposed to this film being made have solid points, should not keep you or others from watching this film and forming your own opinions.
The film sees professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) seeking out her out-of-touch research partner and friend, scientist Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) in an effort to remove a book they co-wrote together on the paranormal which is keeping her from getting tenure. When ghosts begin appearing and wreaking havoc on New York the two, alongside Abby’s new partner (Kate McKinnon) and subway attendant/New York historian Patty (Leslie Jones) seek out the cause of these apparitions and join forces to put an end to them. Chris Hemsworth stars as their lovably dim receptionist, Kevin.
I’ve been both excited and skeptical for this film since it was announced since I am a huge fan of all of the major cast members. I can say that after watching the trailers, it did give off an heir of the live action Scooby-Doo films which were more camp and cheesy than anything else. I went into this film with some reservations having loved the original franchise and worrying it would be overly cheesy. I’m happy to say I was wrong.
WHAT I LIKED
All of the cast had amazing chemistry and seemed to bounce off of one another effectively. Even Chris Hemsworth—usually stoic and brawn as Thor—proves he can hold his own with comedy in a cast full of already hilarious women. Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones really stuck out for me the most since this was among their first times starring on the big screen. Their characters were eccentric, their comedic timing was unparalleled and they proved that they are capable of carrying a film if they ever decide to make the risky leap like their TV-to-Blockbuster comedy veteran costars, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.
The Original Ghostbusters cast all make a touching appearance in some form of way, with Bill Murray getting the most screen time. It felt like a nod to the fans of the original who were seeking out the nostalgia this film promised to bring, as seen with the return of Ecto-Coolers over a month ago. You could definitely tell the cameos in this film were put together by fans or people who respected the original films, and it was nice to see familiar faces pop up even if they were only for a short time.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE
While the film is filled with nostalgia, it trades precious screen time with iconic baddy Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and the pesky Slimer for the underwhelming Rowan. Rowan is a flawed character and even more flawed “villain” as in he lacks any real backstory other than “nobody likes me, let me punish them all.” Even though I know this is a PG-13 film, I felt he could have done more to legitimize his villainy. (I mean look at how The Hunger Games & Harry Potter gave depth to President Snow and Vol****rt. Both Franchises were also PG-13.) There was a lot this film could have shown or expanded on while staying within the PG-13 rating.
Ghostbusters was a pleasant surprise and is far from what people think it will be for all the right reasons. The cast had amazing chemistry with each other and there were many parts where I and the rest of those in attendance laughed out loud. This film is far from cheesy, and is somewhat self-aware of the hate surrounding it. I will add that I think this film would have been slightly more well-received had it been a continuation rather than a full on reboot. Such as if they were instead the original Ghostbusters daughters who continued to take on the business after their retirement. Overall, I felt it was tastefully done and remained respectful to the original franchise while setting up a new one.
Final Thoughts: This film is definitely worth seeing. It’s hilarious, touching and so tastefully done that it feels like a love letter to the original franchise that, to this day, continues to remain so dear to many hearts.
AFTER CREDIT SCENE: There is a scene after the credits that is about a minute or two long that sets up a possible sequel should there be one.
DISCLAIMER: I attended a free advance screening of this film courtesy of Sony and Columbia Pictures and SalsaTV in exchange for the possibility of a review or feedback. I have not been compensated in any way to write this review, these are my own honest and authentic opinions of the film.