Anthony's Film Review
This remake of a classic sci-fi comedy is as good as you'd expect, and has pleasant surprises, too...
The 2016 movie Ghostbusters is one of countless movies that are remakes or reboots of older movies. Yet, this was one I was definitely curious about, because it's a type of remake/reboot that we have never seen before as far as I'm concerned: a remake/reboot in which the main characters undergo a sex change. I don't mean that literally, of course. I am simply referring to the fact that we have a set of new characters who are of the opposite sex compared to the original characters. You definitely don't see this often because many previously conceived male movie characters are of the macho action type, and having a female substitute would be difficult, though not impossible. Now, if you had male characters who are more average physically and mentally, it may be easier to attempt a remake that replaces the male characters with female characters.
Whatever Sony and Columbia were thinking, I definitely think it's brave for them to release a "sex change" remake/reboot. We are now in a whole different era, far from the old days when men were considered the heroes and women were the damsels in distress. Over the years, we have come to understand that women can be just as capable as men in many things. So why not have four women instead of four men saving the city of New York from scary ghosts? And before you say anything, let me assure you that there's no need to worry about this new Ghostbusters movie being ruined by too many jokes that appeal primarily to women. What we have here is a movie that is just as good as the original 1984 Ghostbusters movie and just HAPPENS to feature four women comprising the title role.
When I say it's as good as the original movie, I mean that it captures the spirit and fun of the 1984 classic. It provides two hours of great entertainment for both the generation who remembers the 1984 Ghostbusters as well as the new generation who may be new to the Ghostbusters for the very first time. It is also worth noting that this movie and the 1984 movie present a very similar story structure, one that goes something like this: three people study the paranormal academically, lose their jobs at the educational institution that originally hired them, form a ghostbusting service, investigate one strange paranormal case or two, hire a fourth character to join the team, handle a bigger ghost job that brings them praise, deal with a harsh critic, go through a period of being shamed and ridiculed, and become the last hope for New York once a whole horde of ghosts escape to the land of the living. At the same time, there are certain points of this movie, particularly in the second half, where the writers throw in nice twists to the plot that are different from what the 1984 movie presented.
So the four main characters of this Ghostbusters movie are physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), paranormal enthusiast Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and subway station agent turned Ghostbuster Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). There's also Chris Hemsworth as the handsome yet idiotic receptionist Kevin. Strangely enough, this dimwitted character does not get fired immediately by the Ghostbusters, but rather is given much opportunity to learn and become a better worker. Yes, even with a task as simple as answering a telephone. Overall, the main cast is quite entertaining, and the stars bring unique talent to their roles.
Let me take a moment to comment on the humor in this movie. It is true that the 1984 Ghostbusters movie is a sci-fi comedy. When I watched that movie, I laughed at some of the jokes, but in the end I didn't really call it a comedy. It felt more of a sci-fi movie with occasional jokes, rather than a sci-fi comedy. On the other hand, I could possibly say that the 2016 Ghostbusters movie is a sci-fi comedy, because there seem to be more jokes this time around. Also, there seems to be more delivery with the jokes, like when the main characters engage in rapid off-topic chatter that distracts everyone else from the situation at hand. I'm not saying the 1984 Ghostbusters wasn't funny. It was. It was just funny in a different way and to a different degree.
The only other thing I'll comment on is the action. The 1984 movie is, and will always be, a fun movie. The same is true for the 2016 movie. That said, the movie seems to kick a little more butt this time around. For one thing, the female Ghostbusters here have more weapons at their disposal. They don't just have the big proton cannons to trap ghosts prior to sucking them into a containment unit. There are also little anti-apparition weapons that Holtzmann develops, including smaller proton guns and a gadget that is essentially a handheld ghost shredder. With this kind of arsenal, you can expect a big intense fight against an army of ghosts. And just because these new Ghostbusters are women doesn't mean they kick less butt than their male predecessors. Again, nothing against the 1984 movie. We're just in a different time now, when the expectations for exciting action are higher.
If I had to condense this review into one sentence, it would be this: The 2016 Ghostbusters movie follows the formula of the 1984 Ghostbusters movie, while making a few neat modifications here and there, producing the same end result of exciting fun. You'll be disappointed if you want a reboot that significantly revamps the Ghostbusters. But you think the formula worked before and wouldn't mind enjoying another dose of it, you'll definitely love this one. Also note that Ivan Reitman, who directed the previous Ghostbusters movies, and Dan Aykroyd, who starred in those previous movies, have producing credits here. Members of the old and new generations of Ghostbusters filmmakers have gotten together and presented something really cool, so that members of the old and new generations of Ghostbusters fans can get together and enjoy something really cool.
For more information about Ghostbusters, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my review of the original 1984 movie Ghostbusters.