The new Ghostbusters film is finally here! Can this reboot live up to the original or have the internet naysayers been right all along?
To say that the 3rd Ghostbusters film has had a rocky path to the multiplex would be something of an understatement. Dogged by internet haters who balked at the very idea of a reboot film without the original crew of Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson & director Ivan Reitman, it seemed the filmmakers could do no right. A first trailer that broke records as the most disliked movie trailer of all time, a marketing campaign that seemed to have no idea how to push these new heroes, rumours of a back up movie with an all male Ghostbusters team and a horrifying cover of Ray Parker Jr.’s theme for the original by Fall Out Boy all pointed to this new film being a disappointment.
It just goes to show you can’t always believe what you hear.
The new Ghostbusters is a fun reboot of the original concept for a new generation with plenty of respectful nods to its predecessor, a great sense of fun and Kate McKinnon (seriously, she’s so good in this).
We put a ghost in a box!
Director Paul Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold deliver an origin story for this new team as estranged childhood friends Erin (Kristen Wiig) and Abigail (Mellisa McCArthy) cross paths later in life. Erin’s attempts to be a serious academic are somewhat undercut by the reappearance of a book on the paranormal that she wrote with Abi years before. After a confrontation between the two leads to an encounter with a “real” ghost, the duo, and Abi’s gonzo lab partner Gillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) set out to investigate ghosts professionally.
Meanwhile someone is planting devices around New York City that boost supernatural activity, bringing Leslie Jones’ MTA worker and New York history buff, Patty into the fold. First as a client and then as a team mate.
Those worried about an over top performance from McCarthy ruining the show can rest east . As he did in Spy Feig places McCarthy as the centre of (relative) normality with most of the lunacy revolving around her.
Total Protonic Reversal
Wiig is the more nervy and shy of the central pair, with the two of them acting as a variation on the Ray/Venkman partnership at the centre of the first film. McKinnon’s Holtzmann is very clearly the Egon of the group and she even looks like the design of Egon From The Real Ghostbusters!
Leslie Jones also fares far better as a more rounded character than the trailers made out. There’s more to her character than just screaming, but the real star of the show is Holtmzmann.
Seemingly waltzing in from a different plane of existence Holtzmann is a pure delight, delivering odd gags out of nowhere, dancing along with cheesy 80’s songs while setting the lab on fire and getting way too into her new tech toys. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, you’d need to have a heart of stone not to punch the air in joy as Holtzmann wrecks a pack of ghosts in the film’s climax.
Speaking of which the designs of the new ghosts are very well done. Suitably ethereal and creepy by turns, they are enhanced by the film’s clever use of 3D.
I ain’t afraid of no ghost
Now usually I don’t discuss the 3D in reviews as most modern films use it just to apply depth to their worlds, with the 3D effect usually becoming unnoticeable after the first few minutes. Ghostbusters bucks this trend with a number of moments where slime spews towards the audience and at times elements, such as the proton streams, break the frame and pop “out” of the top and bottom of the film and into the black areas beyond. Think of those Facebook or Instagram videos where someone appears to leans out of the screen towards you. It’s a very neat trick that makes this the most enjoyable 3D experience I’ve had in years, and I think the only film in recent memory that I’d recommend going to see in 3D, if you can.
The new teams tech may be a little more DIY and scrappy than the previous team but it’s great to see proton streams snaking their across screens again, and Holtzmann adds some neat new toys to the mix.
Ghostbusters is very respectful to the original. The three remaining Ghostbusters, after Harold Ramis sadly passed away in 2014, all have cameos, as do Annie Potts and even director Ivan Reitman. At least I assume that’s Reitman, lingering just a little too long in the background of a news insert. Updated versions of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer even turn up and there’s a very cheeky nod to the original (and perhaps any sequel to this film) after the credits, which are worth staying for.
On the downside the film is not quite as funny as it could be with many gags eliciting wry grins rather than outright laughs. Most of these seem to revolve around Chris Hemsworth’s pretty but dumb secretary Kevin and there’s also a weird set up for what looks like a ghost-orchestrated dance number that seems to have been cut and banished to the end credits sequence.
More of a remix than a straight up reboot the new Ghostbusters respectfully takes elements of the original and mixes them up to some success. It’s not quite as funny as it needs to be but it’s still an enjoyable first adventure (hopefully) for this new team.
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Andy Garcia, Michael McDonald, Matt Walsh, Cecily Strong
Directed by: Paul Feig
Official Site here.