Synopsis: 30 years after Ghostbusters took the world by storm, the beloved franchise makes its long-awaited return. Director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today.
Release Date: July 15, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Comedy
Whenever a filmmaker sets out to remake a beloved movie from the past, there’s bound to be some resistance. Resistance is an understatement for what director Paul Feig (The Heat, Bridesmaids) has been up against ever since the announcement of his Ghostbusters remake. But, the film got made, and haters beware: it’s awesome.
Ghostbusters begins with physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig from Bridesmaids) tracking down her old friend, Abby Yates (Spy‘s Melissa McCarthy, who was also in Bridesmaids), to ask her to stop selling a book that they co-wrote years before about ghost hunting, the existence of which is preventing her from being granted tenure at Columbia University. Erin finds that Abby is still investigating the paranormal along with her tech-savvy sidekick, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon from “Saturday Night Live”).
Erin reluctantly agrees to go on an investigation with Abby and Holtz and is rewarded with a true paranormal experience. With a renewed excitement for the supernatural, Erin joins Abby and Holtz on their quest for the unknown. The Ghostbusters team is rounded out by a subway worker-turned-true-believer named Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones, also from “SNL”) just in time for them to discover that someone is purposely summoning spirits in an attempt to bring a ghostly apocalypse down upon New York City. With a bunch of hi-tech gadgets that have been invented by Holtz, the Ghostbusters set out to stop the end of the world.
The task of reimagining a beloved classic is an unenviable and thankless one, but if fans give it a shot, they’ll find that Paul Feig has done a remarkable job with Ghostbusters. He has assembled a charismatic and likable cast, given them an engaging (albeit familiar) storyline, and thrown in just the right combination of laughs and chills. Sprinkle in some expert cinematography from Robert D. Yeoman (Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and a spooktacular musical score from Theodore Shapiro (The Invitation, Trumbo), and Feig’s already-stacked movie gets even better.
While Ghostbusters is strong enough of a movie to stand on its own, it also fits in perfectly with the other movies in the franchise. In fact, one could substitute Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson into the four lead roles and it would feel like a vintage Ghostbusters movie without missing a single beat. It’s got the same spirit, the same energy, the same type of humor, and even the same style of visual effects.
There are even several references and callbacks to the original Ghostbusters that pay loving tribute to the legacy (and sometimes border on pandering to old-school fans). These moments play out in a way that is like recognizing old friends, comfortable locations, and familiar objects after a thirty-year absence.
Fundamentally, the plot of Ghostbusters is a rehash of the 1984 original. The screenplay, written by Feig and Katie Dippold (“MADtv”), follows the same basic wide story arc but changes up enough details to really piss off fans who might hold the original movie as sacred. But that’s fine; much like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the new Ghostbusters is a passing of the torch, so to speak. It’s a Ghostbusters for the next generation. And that generation is in good hands.
To address the elephant in the room, there are many people who are upset that this movie was even allowed to be made in the first place, and most of the controversy surrounds the supposed male-bashing by its feminist leads. Well, anyone who is going to hold the female cast of Ghostbusters against it is only cheating themselves, because the movie is great and the ensemble is flawless.
This is not only Ghostbusters for a new generation, but it’s also Ghostbusters for a new audience entirely. For those folks who don’t like it, there’s a perfectly good Ghostbusters movie that was made in 1984. Everyone else can enjoy the fun with this one…once they get over their pre-hate.
In a movie that is as ensemble-based as Ghostbusters, chemistry is key. Of course, it helps that three of the four Ghostbusters are SNL ladies, but the real treat is watching the non-SNLer, Melissa McCarthy, interact with SNL fan favorite Kate McKinnon. McCarthy plays the straight man to McKinnon’s zany, madcap geek goddess, which in turn allows McKinnon to absolutely steal the movie.
Yes, Ghostbusters belongs to Kate McKinnon, despite her being a third-billed star, but her job is made easier by the support she gets from the others, with McCarthy doing the bulk of the set-up work. There’s a close comfort between all of the actresses in Ghostbusters, but Kate McKinnon is the one that is allowed to shine through, and it seems as if the others are all fine with that.
Regardless of how it might seem from the resumes of the director and the cast members, Ghostbusters is not just Bridesmaids with proton packs. The movie earns its PG-13 rating with humor that is built on good, clean fun, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not hilarious. There’s a little of everything in Ghostbusters: physical humor, sight gags, quick verbal wit. The comedic style in Ghostbusters can be summed up nicely in one single scene in which the girls interview a guy named Kevin (played by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth) for their open receptionist job.
The gals put him through his paces with borderline harassment while Kevin, too dumb to realize what’s going on, ends up showing the ladies a handful of hysterical company logo ideas that he has drawn up. While this new Ghostbusters is not quite as instantly quotable as the original (“human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria!”), the movie still delivers plenty of side-splitting laughs.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Paul Feig
- Producer(s): Amy Pascal, Ivan Reitman
- Screenwriter(s): Paul Feig, Katie Dippold
- Cast: Kristen Wiig (Erin Gilbert), Melissa McCarthy (Abby Yates), Kate McKinnon (Jillian Holtzmann), Leslie Jones (Patty Tolan), Chris Hemsworth (Kevin), Neil Casey (Rowan North)
- Editor(s): Melissa Bretherton
- Cinematographer: Robert D. Yeoman
- Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland
- Music Score: Theodore Shapiro
- Country Of Origin: USA