There was uproar when the all-female Ghostbusters reboot was announced. The gloom and doom from the naysayers was palpable, with many people declaring that this reboot would destroy their childhoods, and one of the best films and memories from their youths. I laughed these people off, sure they were just being dramatic. After the announcement of the cast and the director, I was confident it was going to be good…I just didn’t know how good.
The fact that Ivan Reitman, the director of the original Ghostbusters, not only supported the reboot and called the backlash over the reboot ‘silly’, but he actually signed on as a producer too, made the reboot all the more promising.
Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) had the good sense to bring some of his best cast mates together again; Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are back, and the result is what you would expect: so, so good. Thank you, Paul! Wiig plays physicist, Erin Gilbert, and McCarthy plays paranormal researcher, Abby Yates; the Bridemaids duo are joined by Leslie Jones as train station worker, Patty Tolan, and Kate McKinnon as engineer, Jillian Holtzmann. The cast has terrific chemistry; Jones is endearing, Chris Hemsworth (receptionist, Kevin) is dumb and delightful, but the real stand out here is the hilarious Kate McKinnon.
In this modern take on Ghostbusters, the plot is simple and easy to follow, although at times predictable. The special effects are top notch, and the humour is just right. The reboot honours the original well, and pays homage without crossing the line and simply recycling every single joke from the first film (looking at you, Zoolander sequel). There is a scene where the Ghostbusters were fighting (or should I say busting) ghosts in slow motion, with the Ghostbusters theme playing in the background, and bright lights shooting across the screen; it was an epic moment. A downfall was that I personally found the villain a bit underwhelming, but at least their plan was cunning and evil, as evil plans always are. Another slight letdown was the new song; I liked the modern version, and Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliot are a great pairing, but I don’t think anyone can possibly top the funky AF, quintessentially 80’s version where the smooth voiced Ray Parker Jr. sings ‘Bustin’ makes me feel good!’
The decision to make the reboot with an all-female cast was a brave decision – and a great one. Growing up as a girl, I can’t tell you how many times I watched an exciting action-packed movie with a male protagonist and thought, ‘Wow, I wish I could do that, I wish I could be that’. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, James Bond, Mission Impossible, and Ghostbusters are just a few of them. This Ghostbusters reboot is including women and girls in a way that few action movies have before; it is so refreshing to see women as the protagonists, and as the ones who get stuff done and kick-ass for once, instead of just co-stars, or as the romantic interest of the ‘real’ characters. This reboot is opening up all of the Ghostbusters movies to a new generation of fans, and that is a wonderful thing. The new Ghostbusters never aimed to replace the original, but to proudly stand alongside it as a necessary addition. It was never old Ghostbusters vs. new Ghostbusters, despite what the haters and trolls would have you believe.
The new Ghostbusters is also special because it focuses on an important message, maybe more so than the original film did; you may be a nerd, you may be a loner who believes in ghosts, you may be different, but you’re not going to be alone. You may be an underdog, but you’re capable of doing super things. These characters believed in each other when no one else did, they risked their lives for each other, and they became best friends and teammates; this film depicts the power of friendship and determination.
After I watched the new Ghostbusters this week, I immediately texted my Dad, the person who first introduced me to the 1984 classic Ghostbusters, and told him that he would love it; he texted back with a thumbs up emoji, and that he can’t wait to watch it. It turned out that all of the naysayer uproar about this Ghostbusters reboot was completely unnecessary and premature; the film did its predecessor credit, and I walked out of the cinema with a bounce in my step, a new favourite film, and 4 new ass-kicking heroines.
Reviewed by Eleanor Danenberg.