Written by: Katie Dippold & Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Charles Dance
Generally, reboots come with plenty of skepticism in my eyes, especially if it attempts to revive something already successful. Why reboot it for a new audience when they can just go back and watch the original? The only time I agree with their creation comes from when the original missed out on the potential of the story and a different lens could improve upon it. While the original of this particular film back in the 80s has its many fans, I personally welcome another look at this material, not that it really needed further exploration. Even with toxic derision all around it, Ghostbusters serves as an improvement mainly because it has funny characters, go figure.
After getting fired from her university position for her beliefs in ghosts, Erin (Kristen Wiig) reteams with her old friend, Abby (Melissa McCarthy) to form a unit of ghost catchers as a service to others. With a fully realized unit, they take on an individual trying to make himself a God through the ghosts.
It genuinely surprises me the amount of sneering surrounding this feature, seeing as the original film not only was a lackluster film but it simply only represented a story of some dudes trying to catch some ghosts. The story in these films have never been deep in any sense, which meant this reboot could be a fun new interpretation of the story with some female leads and thankfully it serves as an improvement with actual comedy. Whether it be the script or the genuine performances by the cast, everything that fails in the 80s version gets better in this feature, which makes it an enjoyable experience. Grander in scale and with some interesting ideas interspersed throughout the band of characters brought together genuinely work well together.
The foundational relationship of the crew falls between Abby and Erin as they have a history of sharing a love of the paranormal. Deemed crazy for their passion, Erin went the whole academic route while Abby maintained this interest throughout. The opportunity set before them in this feature gives them the chance to reconnect and the chemistry these two characters have thanks, in part, to the performances from Wiig and McCarthy help boost this movie. Then throw in the mix the chaotic force of Holtz (Kate McKinnon) and the always wonderful Leslie Jones portraying Patty. These four create an effortless bond between these characters where all of their quirks complement each other thus forging quite the crew and that’s before they include Chris Hemsworth as the ditzy but attractive receptionist.
Typically relegated to women, the objectification of receptionists in films come off as tasteless, but the way this feature turns it around to make them gawk over Hemsworth in his portrayal of Kevin creates such a great reversal of expectations. Anyone sitting uncomfortably through those moments are hence forced to reconcile why it bothers them so much when it gets done in the reverse on so many occasions within films. Hemsworth also does incredibly well in selling the airy mind of Kevin and how his looks just take away from all of the incompetencies he may have as an employee.
With advancement in technology, the visual effects in this feature get the job done in creating the ghosts as both elegant and fairly terrifying in moments. Certainly a step up within this franchise for good reason as effects have gotten better. This film also knows others watching the feature have most likely seen the original and they ensure to make appropriate homages while also being their very own thing as well. Sure, some of the plot points share similarities to the original, but it feels lived in and as unique as it could have been.
Directing this feature is the always-entertaining Paul Feig. A director who knows how to let women shine within his comedic features. He creates several fun moments, but also knows the wonderful talents he has at his disposal here where you can see the actors improvised certain moments. With this being a big studio tentpole in hopes to launch a franchise, Feig gets restrained a bit from going as zany as he can possibly be. Just see Bridesmaids and A Simple Favor to see just how much he enjoys really going places he would never have the opportunity to do within here, but it still works out just fine.
Unfairly maligned simply for existing, this iteration of Ghostbusters not only justified its creation but also surpasses everything the original tried to create. It accomplished this very feat by establishing lovable characters and thus a team of individuals rather than just some chumps tossed together sarcastically jabbing at each other. I’m glad they got the opportunity to shine here.