Film Review – Ghostbusters (2016)

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A lot of idiotic, misogynist outcry appeared online from fanboy types when Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot was announced as an all-female affair. In response to this, an equally idiotic feminist outcry demanded people see this film as some kind of political act. I on the other hand care about one thing only: is it a good film?

The answer is yes, for the most part. The new Ghostbusters does not top the 1984 original by any means, but it is a generally enjoyable watch, frequently very funny, despite an overblown final act. The plot beats are very similar, though this time two of the ghostbusting quartet, Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) have a childhood friendship backstory that spurred their enthusiasm for the paranormal. They are joined by slightly crazed nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), going into business together in much the same way as the original all-male cast. Oh, and Thor himself, good old Chris Hemsworth, has a rather amusing role as inept receptionist Kevin.

Although overlong, the script is sharp, knowingly including jokes about the afore-mentioned online outcry. For me the film works best away from the ghostbusting sequences, particularly during the regulation confrontations with bureaucrats and politicians who want to keep this whole ghostbusting thing hushed up. Andy Garcia in particular is a treat, especially when angered that he has been compared to the mayor from Jaws. There are also some fun cameos from surviving cast members of the original film, and yes, Raymond Parker Jr’s legendary hit gets played, both in its original form and in various remixes and cover versions, all to good effect.

Inevitably, the finale degenerates into CGI overload. Because audiences are now so familiar with these kinds of images, the effect is far less eye-popping than the cruder though more memorable visuals of the 1984 movie. This Ghostbusters also lacks the rough edges of its predecessor, particularly it’s scarier moments and the some of the how-the-heck-did-they-get-that-in-a-PG sexual innuendo (Side note: the original Ghostbusters has since had its PG certificate revoked in the UK).

All that said, it is an entertaining watch and certainly not the dreadful mess some have claimed it to be.

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