Ghostbusters (2016)


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If you're still hesitating on seeing this film, don't! It's worth the watch!

I admit, I was a little on the fence about seeing the new Ghostbusters movie, which is why I waited a little bit before seeing it and came in with neutral expectations. I’m a huge fan of the original and was nervous about the idea of a remake, but I did actually want to see females cast as the famous quartet, because how often does that happen?

The controversy around an all-female group has been no secret. Fans of the original movie were not shy with their dislike of the casting calls, excusing their hate by saying it wasn’t because women were cast, but rather it was because these “unfunny” women were cast. I do dare to call their bluff and dub them haters, because being unfunny is a stereotype that women have long overcome. Personally, I found the four lead ladies of this film hilarious, charming, and quite excellent choices, so I’m glad I went to see it afterall.

Our four leading women included Kristen Wiig, playing an awkward brain that wants to fit in (mostly to the world of academia and tenured professors--also a societal role that women have struggled with and have overcome), named Erin Gilbert. Then we have Melissa McCarthy playing unapologetic, sometimes childish, but pure heart-and-soul Abby Yates. Next up is Kate McKinnon playing unconventional, quirky, and super fun engineering genius Jillian Holtzmann. And of course we cannot forget Leslie Jones playing level-headed, resourceful, go-getter Patty Tolan. As a bonus, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, the three remaining original Ghostbusters (Harold Ramis passed away in 2014), were all featured in cameo roles in this film. Since they agreed to be in this remake, I’m sure they were totally okay with its existence and the gender reversal of the main characters.

The movie follows scientist Erin Gilbert as she rekindles her passion for ghosts as well as her childhood friendship with Abby, while simultaneously being dismissed by the cynical scientific and academic world. She herself has lost faith until she, Abby, and new friend Jillian see a ghost with their own eyes. This reinforces all their excitement and they begin their group, which later comes to be known as Ghostbusters, due to popular influence. Patty works for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority until she stumbles upon a ghost in a subway tunnel and goes to see the Ghostbusters. She convinces the group to let her join as an asset in her own way, the only one who is not a scientist, and the team is born. They end up expanding when they hire a new secretary, Kevin, played by Chris Hemsworth. So as the team finds ghosts, they realize that some nut job is making little devices that make ghosts appear. Eventually, they figure out his larger evil scheme of bringing the spirit plane into our dimension for his own benefit. So who you gonna call? You guessed it, Ghostbusters!

As a fan, I appreciated the elements from the original movie that appeared here as they were more so cameos and thus did not overpower the movie. For instance, we see a few familiar ghosts from the original, but they’re still different; like the large dragon-like creature in the first movie that terrorized the skyscraper seems to have gone on a diet and is now a green phantasmal apparition terrorizing a concert venue. Later on, in the final large ghost battle, we see the lovable Slimer from the first, who is seen running amuck with his ghost buddies, as well as the favorite giant marshmallow man, but the marshmallow man is now a ghostly parade float, which totally worked for me. Overall, I think the hints from the original film worked wonderfully as simply hints and nothing overpowering, keeping it from overshadowing the originality of this new interpretation.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about this movie was the visuals. Sure, maybe the special effects were a little cheesy at times, but this is Ghostbusters, people! The comedy may be corny, and some scenes may be cheesy, but so were they in the original. That means expect green oozy ectoplasm and vomiting ghosts! This is a supernatural comedy film, not an action movie. That being said, it is surprisingly aesthetically pleasing, especially with its usage of color, particularly at the last giant fight scene with all the ghosts terrorizing the city and our badass babes fighting them off. The dull hues of the city and even the tan jumpsuits, with smoke looming over the ground, really made the bright green, blue, and purple ghosts stick out. Seeing these colors whirl around the scene, I thought it looked pretty and really cool.

I also loved the music throughout the movie. I enjoyed the use of the original Ghostbusters theme song once or twice, while also using a cover or two, mixing up the original theme song and having other artists tweak it to a more modern beat. I thought that was very appropriate for this remake of the original movie.

One of my favorite things about this movie that was way better than the original was the focus on friendship, not a love interest. In the original, Bill Murray’s character chases after Sigourney Weaver and saves the damsel in distress, a highly overplayed movie trope, in my opinion. In this new movie, Erin rekindles her friendship with Abby and chooses to selflessly save her in the end, regardless of unknown, possibly highly dire consequences; and all throughout the movie, the strong female friendship between Erin, Abby, Jillian, and Patty can be seen growing and getting stronger. I adored this message of strong female friendship, which can be seen whether our ladies are busting ghosts or even dancing and having a good time.

So let’s loop that back around to demolishing stereotypes. These women are not only strong, but they are, in fact, super funny. Their jokes may be corny, but I love a good corn joke so I don’t mind. The movie had no period jokes or anything that just a woman would understand. There was a “your mom” joke, which may be overplayed but still fairly common today and used by both genders. I laughed. Furthermore, three of the main characters are female scientists. They are super intelligent and all four of them help save the world. These are often roles reserved for men, so I really enjoyed seeing this. Women are often portrayed as the attractive but dumb secretary. In this movie, we have Kevin for that. Again, played by Chris Hemsworth, he is an uber attractive secretary (crushed on hardcore by Erin) that does not seem to do anything right (for a while at least). It’s comical to see a man play that part, and I think it’s totally fair. The movie itself seems to poke fun of its own stereotype bending, when at one point Abby says something along the lines of: ain’t no bitch gonna catch a ghost. And yet, these four bitches catch many a ghost, smacking all the haters that didn’t want these actors filling these roles right in the face.

Now, there is always room for improvement. I really appreciate the strong females, but it would have also been nice to see a more diverse cast. Probably two out of the dozen or so larger characters you see over and over are people of color, and then it seems like “let’s call it a day” for diversity. I’ve heard of Jillian being hypothesized to be gay and fans ship her with Erin, based on small hints throughout the movie, but these are only small hints. Yet, overall I do think this movie is a step in the right direction of the emerging mass market film industry where men are not the only ones doing cool things like busting ghosts.

Overall, it was a fun, fantastic film and I’m sorry I hesitated on watching it. For those of you still on the fence, go see it while it remains on the big screen. You won’t be disappointed.