Negative fans and misogynistic hate!? John reviews the new Ghostbusters reboot to see if it was all justified.
Born in the late 1970’s, Ghostbusters was one of my favourite childhood films growing up. In my eyes, it’ll always be regarded as an all-time classic.
So I was filled with great concern, and admittedly some anger, when Paul Feig was announced as the director of a new reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise. The second half of this big news was that the new Ghostbusters were going to be all female.
The internet backlashed in one of the strongest attacks I’ve ever seen. In many cases, it was downright disgusting. Some took to a racist attack directly against actress Leslie Jones. As a Ghostbusters fan, I found it embarrassing.
The first trailer hit YouTube and I was very much underwhelmed. It looked terrible and none of the jokes in this context were very funny. It famously became the most hated film trailer on YouTube but I’m sure this was due to a coordinated attack by the haters.
The trailers that followed were cut together in a much more impressive manner and the film started to look a little better. I wasn’t going to write the film off based on a few trailers. As a Ghostbusters fan, I was still determined to see how this was going to turn out.
So with a view of some negativity, I sat down and hit the play button, genuinely expecting the worst.
The franchise makes its long-awaited return with Director Paul Feig’s unique and hilarious take on the classic supernatural comedy, led by the freshest minds in comedy today, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth. Together they team up to save Manhattan from a sudden invasion of spirits, spooks and slime that engulfs the city.
The Ghostbusters are back in this reboot that follows the structure of the original 1984 film to some degree.
Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a teacher at Columbia University where she is trying to achieve tenure, however, her plans are soon scuppered when she discovers that her old college mate, Abby, has released a book they co-wrote about their theories of the supernatural.
Dr. Abigail Yates (Melissa McCarthy) has teamed up with Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and they believe that they can actually capture ghosts. Together, the three of them head off to investigate the ghost of an old haunted mansion.
When the results of this visit prove that their theories on ghosts are real, the trio celebrates their results. Abigail captured the whole visit and their joyful celebrations on video and uploads the results to YouTube.
When Columbia University discovers the video, Erin is expelled with her chances of tenure spirited away. Abigail is also turned out of her bargain basement university and much like the original film, the three of them decide to go into business for themselves.
Once they find a location for their new offices, an old Chinese restaurant, they hire Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as their receptionist. Despite his inability to do his job, his looks obviously win the girls over.
Their first job is to investigate the supernatural appearance of a ghost in the New York subways as reported by subway worker, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). Unfortunately, despite losing the ghost, the visit turns out to be a partial success of their new equipment and Patty quits her job and decides to join the Ghostbusters as her local knowledge of New York will prove invaluable to the team.
As the appearance of ghosts in New York starts to increase dramatically, the team must rise to the challenge. Also, who is the mysterious Rowan and why has he created this huge spiritual disturbance and what are his plans?
I’m going to come out with it straight away, this film was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. I find it such a shame that the online haters were so negative against this film without giving it a chance. There’s even a short scene in the film that references these people, so there really is something in it for them!
The four Ghostbusters gel together on screen and they all have their moments to shine in the film. The standout performance has to be from Holtzmann as the rather eccentric member of the team with her quirky sense of humour. I want to give examples here but they won’t come across in text form, you’ll just have to see for yourself.
When Melissa McCarthy was originally announced, for some reason (probably online chatter), I was worried that there were going to be a lot of fat jokes. I’m happy to report that the film never sunk to that level and I can see why she why she has been part of many successful comedies.
One joke from the original trailer, that featured Patty slapping a ghost out of Abigail, made me cringe and I started to worry about Leslie Jones’s character. Thankfully, not only was that joke was severely trimmed for the film, but I loved Patty’s character as much as the other members of the team.
The other founding member of the Ghostbusters team as played by Kristen Wiig slowly warms to becoming part of the team but her puppy love interactions with the hunky Kevin are what made me laugh the most.
Chris Hemsworth as the dumb receptionist is worlds away from his most famous role, Marvel’s Thor. Although his idiocy is almost too much at times, the role of Kevin does switch to that of a more important one during the finale of the film.
The only real let down is that of Rowan, the film’s main protagonist. Whilst there is nothing wrong with his suitably creepy performance by Neil Casey, the character itself is never given any room to develop. Rowan’s reasons for what he does are acceptable but the character, for me, needed more screen time.
During the film’s production, it was well noted that the original Ghostbusters cast members all had cameo roles in this film. Here’s my quick run-down of their appearances.
Harold Ramis who sadly passed away in 2014 does feature as a bronze bust at Columbia University and was a nice touch.
Dan Akroyd makes a brief appearance as a sceptical taxi driver along with Annie Potts who plays a receptionist once again in a cameo.
Ernie Hudson plays a bigger role as Patty’s uncle who supplies them with the hearse which will become transformed into the new version of the ECTO1 vehicle.
Sigourney Weaver appears in a scene during the mid-credits which works very well and that just leaves us with Bill Murray.
Murray’s character appears in the film several times as Dr. Martin Heiss, a non-believer of the ghost phenomenon. Maybe past reports of his refusal to participate in any more Ghostbusters films made this cameo feel a little uneasy for me but that’s just my opinion.
Some of you will never see this film with such strong opinions against the reboot and I understand that. Those of you, who are at least curious, do give the film a chance as I think you may be pleasantly surprised.
This version of Ghostbusters is going to sit quite happily alongside the originals in my collection.