Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

Ever since the announcement of a Ghostbusters reboot, there have been complaints about the Ghostbusters reboot. I’ve been a fan of the original since the first time I watched it on a VHS as a kid. So I had a little trepidation about seeing the update.

After seeing the new movie last night, clearly the biggest mistake made in producing this movie is casting a bunch of chicks as leads.

I’m just kidding.

The new Ghostbusters seems to have the heart of the original, updated for a new age. The story follows a lot of the same beats as the original, and allows for any number of callbacks to the 1984 movie while forging its own way into a new potential franchise. It may not be successful – for any number of reasons – but it was, in my opinion, a strong first attempt.

If you’ve ever seen a Paul Feig-Kristen Wiig-Melissa McCarthy movie, you should know what you’re getting with this new Ghostbusters. While McCarthy strays a bit from her typical “ha ha she’s fat” role for the most part – instead taking over as the new Ray Stanz – Wiig’s turn as the new Egon really is a paint-by-numbers Wiig role. She even gets to play up a flirtation with the receptionist – played ridiculously well by Chris Hemsworth.

For me, the highlights of the movie were Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. While Jones was clearly a Winston stand-in, McKinnon was the only one who didn’t really fit in to a comparison with a male counterpart from the original. Jones’ brash take on the “New York savvy non-scientist” kept me laughing throughout the movie. And McKinnon’s eccentric gadget-making and weird energy was just what the movie needed to establish its own identity.

One of the big complaints I had with the marketing of the movie was the lack of its own identity, tying itself to the original while claiming to be completely separate. But anyone with knowledge of the original should enjoy the references and Easter eggs placed throughout the film, starting early with a bust of Harold Ramis and continuing with a series of guest spots and visual cues. I think those call backs actually help the movie instead of taking away from it, acknowledging that something great came before.

My favorite meta joke was the team looking at comments online, and reeling at one saying that women shouldn’t be fighting ghosts.

Overall, I had a great time with the new movie, possibly helped by lower expectations from a lot of negativity. I don’t think it will become a much-loved film the way the original has, but it certainly doesn’t deserve the level of scorn it’s received.