It’s been just under 30 years since the last time the Ghostbusters hit our screens. With the original members moving on, Sony and director Paul Feig have given new life to the series, employing female leads to take over the beloved franchise. So, is it any good? Before delving into my review, I wanted to let you know how excited I was that another Ghostbusters film had been greenlit. See, I’ve been obsessed with Ghostbusters since I was 3. Back in 1989, the sequel had just been released into theatres and The Real Ghostbusters cartoon was the biggest show on television (well in my mind at least). I had toys, costumes, books, and videos… if it was available to my little sticky hands, I had to have it! I loved the characters and the humour, but most of all I loved the idea that these four regular dudes just went out and busted awesome looking ghosts. It was fantasy mixed with comedy, and in my youth it didn’t get any better. Growing up, my obsession became a hobby, I started to build props from the film and from there my collection exploded. There was just something about this franchise that I loved and still do. The first film had a charm that just kept getting better with age. Now that you know my background, lets rev up the Ecto 1 and kick this into gear!
With this new film, Sony was always going to be fighting a huge battle. The original is a classic; it’s still one of the highest grossing comedies ever made. Remaking the film with a new director and a cast of female comediennes was always going to be a hard sell. Personally, I dug the idea; we’ve seen far too many franchises trying to recreate the magic of the original films many years later, and most of the time they fail. In fact, the only movie that comes to mind that worked was The Force Awakens. With half the original Ghostbusters cast either unwilling to participate (Bill Murray, Rick Moranis) or dead (RIP Harold Ramis), it was pretty clear that a full restart was the only way that this film could work.
When ghosts start to appear across the city, old friends and scientists Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) join forces, along with nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) to create a paranormal investigation team called the Ghostbusters. Decked out with the latest high tech gadgets, will these ladies be able to save their city from this ghostly invasion?There is a lot to like about this new Ghostbusters. It has the advantage of a ridiculous premise, and a willingness to run wild with that premise. Director Paul Feig proves to have a great understanding of the Ghostbusters mythology, and the opening in particular is utterly perfect; it sent chills down my spine. Feig is known for his female-led comedies and Ghostbusters fits neatly into his body of work. He knows how to push his actors to their comedic best – Kate McKinnon is out of control with her ad-libbing and steals the show, and Chris Hemsworth is hilarious as the dim-witted receptionist Kevin. When he allows the cast to run wild with the script, they produce some hilarious banter, and although some of the laughs did fall a bit flat, they never felt forced. The jokes were well written, and far from the piss and fart jokes we are so used to from generic Hollywood comedies. Ghostbusters is a must see in 3D, and while the film is a post-conversion 3D (not natively shot like Avatar) the filmmakers have gone out their way to make the 3D an experience. The film has two small black bars on the top and bottom making it appear as if it were shot in Anamorphic widescreen, however the CGI ghosts and proton pack streams overlap these bars, giving the 3D effects unbelievable depth. It might seem a little gimmicky, but it really allows the film to have fun with the effects.
While this new iteration of Ghostbusters is fun, it definitely has its flaws. Most of these come from the filmmakers trying to live up to the original. So many times (I’m talking like 30 or more times throughout the film) they reference things, from cameos to quotes, ghosts to jokes, from the original movies. At first it was cute, but then it just kept happening, and every time it happened it took me out of the film. I’m actually surprised Paul Feig didn’t pop up on screen and wink at me. I wanted Ghostbusters to stand on it’s own, but it just kept getting bogged down in the memory of its predecessor. We don’t need to be reminded of the magic of the original, if we wanted to see that again we’d just watch it. Ghostbusters is most certainly a product of the current generation of film-making. It not only sits in the comedy genre, but also the action, blockbuster, and sometimes even the superhero genre at times as well. That’s another aspect that I found challenging with the film. Having the Ghostbusters fight thousands of ghosts at one time is just a little over the top. These girls even start breaking into fight moves and tumbles to vanquish these ghouls!Overall the film is fun and it’s hilarious. The female leads never feel forced and the 3D is awesome. I just wish it could of stood on it’s own two legs rather than riding the coat tails of the original. However Ghostbusters has been reborn. Like it or not the girls in grey (or khaki) are here to stay.