Ghostbusters sticks to original format
Put your proton packs down people, the Ghostbusters reboot is actually pretty fun. As far as new takes on a beloved property go it’s hardly the disaster haters would imagine. Considering the talent involved though the reboot should have taken greater risks than a female cast.
In a lot of ways Ghostbusters plays out like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That film largely stuck step for step with the original Star Wars plot points. Likewise this reboot goes with what worked before with the 1984 original. Older fans will probably be irked the reboot stayed so close to the established framework. For a new generation that never saw the original it’ll play out just fine.
Paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) discover a pending ghost invasion. To save Manhattan, they become the Ghostbusters. Transit worker/trivia expert Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones, Top Five) joins the group on a lark. But mostly because the first film had a fourth Ghostbuster.
Ghostbusters is at its best when Director/co-writer Paul Feig and co-screenwriter Katie Dippold (The Heat) have fun with the property. That plays more to the strength of the four leads and Feig’s wheelhouse.
The leads have great chemistry and bounce off each other well. Their interactions are the highlight of the film. Wiig mostly plays the straight woman to McKinnon’s socially awkward Holtzmann with McCarthy in between. Jones plays Patty eager enough that she’s likable. Wisely, Feig and Dippold gave the four distinct personalities with little similarities to their predecessors.
Chris Hemsworth (Avengers: Age of Ultron) steals the film as the completely oblivious eye candy secretary Kevin. Hemsworth has shown his comedic side before in Vacation, but he was good for major laughs every time he appeared. Just as hilarious are online comments saying Kevin is indicative of the film being sexist and man-bashing.
Feig and Dippold don’t make the mistake of the Ghostbusters gender an issue. Making a big fuss over the fact that four women saved the city would just be annoying.
The film falters in the final act, but that’s largely due to Feig not being much of an action director. The CGI ghosts look impressive and the setup is fine. Problem is, Feig thinks more from a small-scale action/comedy perspective. Feig constrains the scope of this massive citywide paranormal attack to one isolated block. There, the team slowly battles ghosts who patiently wait to attack. Not to say the foursome need to be doing ninja flips and parkour moves to trap the ghosts, but what should be a dynamic climax comes across flat.
Andy Garcia and Cecily Strong have fun supporting roles as the mayor and his loyal assistant. The duo attempt to prevent widespread panic with news of a ghost invasion. Most of the original cast make forced, but appreciated cameos. For whatever reason Rick Moranis reportedly declined to make an appearance. Maybe he’s still trying to find the kids? Gold star if you get that reference.
Ghostbusters isn’t a revelation and I don’t envision studios gender swapping every 80’s classic. For those willing to give it an honest chance Ghostbusters is a decent frivolous bit of summer blockbuster escapism. Nothing to be afraid of with that at all.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Hopper Stone/Sony Pictures
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