Ghostbusters (2016) was directed by Paul Feig. It is the third feature film in the Ghostbusters franchise though it does NOT follow the continuity of nor does it reference the first two films. It is a complete reboot of the franchise. It stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as four women who start a ghost-catching business in New York City.
SPOILER ALERT: This review WILL talk openly about plot points and characters of the film. If you want to experience the film as it was intended please watch it before reading this review.
Plot & Thoughts
You can’t really talk about this version of Ghostbusters without talking about the hate that it’s received. Ever since the all female cast was announced people have been absolutely shitting on this movie. I’ll admit that I cringed a bit when I heard they were going forward with this reboot, not because of the all female cast but because I thought the original was a nearly perfect movie that shouldn’t be messed with. On the heels of the female cast announcement was the first trailer which promptly became the most down voted clip in the history of YouTube. This trailer didn’t look awesome to me but looked consistent with what I thought a Ghostbusters movie would look like were it made in 2016.
People continued to talk about how terrible this movie would be, even before seeing it and initial reviews were not positive. Star Leslie Jones was forced to leave Twitter due to the racist and sexist treatment she received. Incidentally… if you have ever tweeted anything other than praise to Leslie Jones for her performance in this movie, fuck you. But I digress.
I’d heard from people who’s opinion I respect (Pip, etc.) that this movie was pretty bad. I’d heard from others (Xina, etc.) that it was pretty good. All of that being said, I went in with what I thought was an open mind, though if I’m being honest I was waiting for it to start sucking from the opening credits. For the most part… it didn’t. In fact, it was pretty damn entertaining.
We can talk all day about whether this film should ever have been made. I’ll argue that it shouldn’t have been, but (for the most part) I’m reviewing the movie that was put on the screen in front of me on its own merits. As a stand alone film it’s good. Plot wise it’s pretty similar to the 1984 original as it should be. It’s a reboot. It’s NOT a sequel. In my opinion it probably should have been, and in fact COULD have been rather easily. But it’s not so I won’t begrudge that point.
Even though it’s not a sequel and it’s not in the same universe there are more than enough nods to the original to keep older fans happy. ECTO-1 (as well as ECTO-2) are there, as is Mr. Stay Puft, Slimer and nearly all of the original cast in cameos (more on that later).
This is more of a comedy that the original. There’s more puns and gags than the original and for the most part it’s pretty funny. I found myself laughing nearly the whole time and not just at the stuff that was in the trailer. In fact I think it’s fair to say that this is one time where the trailer didn’t show all the best stuff and I glad. There were a couple of eye rolling moments and some cheap potty humor but it was generally well done. If I had one big bitch it would be Chris Hemsworth’s character. He’s supposed to be the stupid guy and boy is he. Like too stupid. Mind-numbingly stupid to the point where I couldn’t wait until he was off the screen. For me he was by far the worst part of the flick.
As I said, for most of the movie I was waiting for it to start sucking and it really didn’t. I didn’t care for the big bad guy in the end as he was essentially a retelling of Mr. Stay Puft but by that point there was so much good will built up that I was willing to let it slide. I could have done without the proton dick shot as I thought it hammered home the “girl power” idea a bit much but that was the only time I ever even thought about the whole female cast issue… and that’s a good thing.
Where this movie really excelled was when the gals were fighting with the ghosts. In fact I’d say this is one spot where it’s actually better than the original. There’s certainly CGI in play but it’s done really well and these action scenes are super enjoyable. They’ve got some additional gadgets that the guys didn’t have and they are a FAR superior to the goo shooter that Ghostbusters 2 gave us. Meh.
This deserves a special section. As I said nearly all of the original cast is there, with the exception of Rick Moranis (Louis Tully) and William Atherton (Walter Peck).
- Bill Murray – he shows up early on as a paranormal debunker. He was always the one that put the stop to a third Ghostbusters and at least to me it seemed like he was doing this because he was “supposed to”.
- Dan Aykroyd – shows up as a cab driver. Talks about how he, “Ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”
- Harold Ramis – he’s there but if you blink you’ll miss him. Early on his likeness is a bust at the university where Kristen Wiig teaches.
- Ernie Hudson – right at the very end he’s revealed to be Leslie Jones’ uncle and previous owner of ECTO-1.
- Annie Potts – a throwaway character just like Aykroyd, she’s a receptionist at a hotel.
- Sigourney Weaver – I honestly didn’t think she’d be here, but during the credits she shows up as Kate McKinnon’s mentor.
It’s difficult for me to look at this one without comparing it to the original and removing the question of whether or not it should have been made to begin with. If I’m being honest with myself I wanted to hate this as it’s taking a piece of my childhood like so many before it and redoing it. Looking at it objectively it’s absolutely a recommendable film. Its far from perfect as it’s got a weak villain and far too many dick and fart jokes but the performances that the cast gives are great and the action sequences are actually superior to the original. This film isn’t made for me… it’s made for a younger audience and I think it’ll be a hit with them. When my older boys (10 and 8) watched the original recently they enjoyed it, but they don’t hold that film in the high regard that I do. I’m not sure if they’ll put Ghostbusters (2016) on the same pedestal that I put the original, but it wouldn’t shock me if they consider the contemporary version the more enjoyable film.
Note that I didn’t delve into the whole female cast issue in my review. That’s very much by design because in my eyes its a non issue. Other than the one specific instance I pointed out I never even gave it another thought. This is a funny cast that made an above average movie. It absolutely does not deserve the shit storm of media attention that it received. Give it a shot… you may be surprised by what you see. I was.
You can find more information about the upcoming Ghostbusters at the following links:
- Official Site: www.ghostbusters.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Ghostbusters
- Twitter: @Ghostbusters
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/Ghostbusters
Have you seen Ghostbusters (2016) yet? Leave us a comment with your thoughts!