September 13, 2016 Ghostbusters (Movie Review)
With so much buzz surrounding it, the relaunching of the Ghostbusters franchise has been one dividing fans. Speculated for years, the older generation wondered who would be cast if it happened, would the original stars return? Then, after all the speculation and final details announced for Ghostbusters, it soon became clear, this is not your parents’ Ghostbusters. That being said, the latest installment in the series could be a sequel from the original, or it could be a prequel to the original, depending on the viewer’s’ point of view.
With a plethora of false starts, original cast being uncooperative, and the death of Harold Ramis on February 24th of 2014, the fate of a sequel, a sequel diehard fans were clamoring for, was in jeopardy. Then entered Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids 2011, Spy 2015); however, he had eyes to make this Ghostbusters all female, which polarized fans. Co-produced by Ivan Reitman (Animal House 1978, Space Jam 1996) and Amy Pascal (her debut producing gig) from a script co-written by Katie Dippold (The Heat 2013, Spy 2015) and Feig based on characters created by Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis, Columbia Pictures finally released Ghostbusters on July 15th of 2016.
It all begins with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy: Bridesmaids 2011, Central Intelligence 2016) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig: Knocked Up 2007, Sausage Party 2016), who used to be friends that studied the paranormal. Now in separate careers, Abby is up for tenure at the university she has been teaching at when she finds out Erin re-published a book the two had written years back. Considering the book’s paranormal content, Abby worries her tenure is in jeopardy, so she confronts Erin. Erin, with her partner, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon with Egon hair in an ode to Ramis), goad Abby into an investigation in exchange for the book remaining in the closet. Soon, they have found a headquarters, a clueless secretary in the flamboyant Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth: Star Trek 2009, Avengers: Age of Ultron 2015), and the Jeopardy-Smart NYC worker turned Ghostbuster, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones: National Security 2003, Trainwreck 2015). Can they save NYC from getting ghost-overridden?
Despite the idea of a female Ghostbusters meeting almost universal scorn, the movie is pretty good. Feig has his troupe of regular actresses, and they deliver, even McCarthy, who can tend to be annoying at her most manic in other movies. Instead, she plays Abby straight, as does Wiig and Jones. McKinnon truly channeled Ramis’ Egon in look and mannerisms. The other cast, the ghosts, are a colorful array and vary in shape and size, though, they are a bit one-note in that they are all CG, which, admittedly, has obviously been perfected in the thirty-two years since the original. However, there is nothing like the practical effect of the rotted cabbie in the original.
As mentioned before, 2016’s Ghostbusters, at times, plays like a prequel, or if the movie is a sequel, something happened to the original, especially with the cameos of the original cast. They seem to be unbelieving of the goings-on without mentioning anything from the 1984 film, which could be construed as their events have not happened yet, or they suffered PTSD amnesia. The editing keeps the action going while letting the audience know the characters. For instance, the beginning is a slow burn while we are acquainted with the characters, and how they relate to each other. Then, as the scheme is revealed and everybody is on board, the pace starts to clip.
The movie was shot in Boston to serve as NYC; however, Boston and NYC look totally different with NYC having worldwide known landmarks that set it apart. It seems the crew tried to stay away from these landmarks, which could make the setting an anywhere city, if not for Jones’ Tolan verbalizing her NY knowledge. Plot-wise, there is an innocence to 2016’s Ghostbusters after the initial bribe with the girls just wanting to find the ghosts and save the city as opposed to making ghostbusting a moneymaking venture.
Ultimately, the new Ghostbusters is a fun, light-hearted, not scary movie that features cameos from Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, as well as a couple of nice nods to the late Harold Ramis, and, yes, Bill Murray. The film also leaves space for a sequel if Feig, crew, and studio suits feel like asking, “Who you gonna call.” Those who missed it in the theaters, Ghostbusters will hit digital on September 27th and Blu-ray/DVD October 11th. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives 2016’s Ghostbusters 4 out of 5 stars.