I have mentioned time and time again that I believe Hollywood movie-making has gotten to the point where studios only really want to finance ‘sure bets’– things that they know, regardless of quality, will bring either franchise and merchandising rights, or at least a strong following. As such, many people have noticed a heavy trend for sequels, reboots and remakes in the last decade or so. Some chalk this up to the idea that we are out of ‘original’ ideas to make movies out of…. I really do not believe this is the case. Movie budgets have increased drastically over the years and it sometimes feels like you cannot pump out a movie for less than 100 million dollars. Obviously that isn’t entirely true– but the point is movies are an increasingly expensive investment– so studios want to make sure that, said investment, will literally ‘pay-off’ in the end. Which is why studios go after young adult novels that have a following, a trilogy and name recognition… that is also why they seem to be making a lot of remakes and reboots– name recognition equals money. So lets not be surprised when we see a resurgence of John Hughes’ movies and Back to the Future rebooting.
That being said, I have to admit that when I heard Ghostbusters was going to have a reboot with an all-female cast, I was one of the nay-sayers. Not because of the female aspect, but because I wanted the GB franchise to be among the untouchables, one of those classics that no one would bother redoing because it was just so enjoyable the first time we would much rather not try to tarnish its name. And it felt like when the first trailer rolled out, my fears were justified. The ad-campaign leading up to this films release was, to put it mildly, pretty horrendous. The trailers were not all that funny and it felt like the movie wasn’t going to do much to stand out on its own. But I went into the film with an open mind, still. I enjoy Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy at the very least so I figured I could get some laughs. However, they really weren’t that funny in the film, I was pleasantly surprised that this film was pretty well-balanced between the entire cast and above all Kate McKinnon was the real standout in the movie and my favorite character. This movie may have not broken any new ground, but they did a solid job of making an iconic name, The Ghostbusters, their own and I walked out of that film pleasantly surprised.
Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert are trying to prove that ghosts exist in modern society. When strange apparitions appear in Manhattan, Gilbert and Yates turn to engineer Jillian Holtzmann for help. Also joining the team is Patty Tolan, a lifelong New Yorker who knows the city inside and out. Armed with proton packs and plenty of attitude, the four women prepare for an epic battle as more than 1,000 mischievous ghouls descend on Times Square.
Many reboots simply ride the coattails of its predecessors, the same way sequels do. There is no question that The Hangover 2 simply rehashed the exact same plot of the first film. That, for me, is a franchise money-grab. But this iteration of Ghostbusters really came into its own. There were cameos from -most- of the original cast to make you scream for joy, but they didn’t distract from the main characters in the film and each new character brought something special to the movie. I cannot stress enough how much I loved Chris Hemsworth’s role in this film. He played the extremely dense, yet attractive, receptionist and, while I thought his schtick would get out, it never did. It honestly felt like they wrote Hemsworth a check and said “Thor!! Do and day anything you want, Go!” and I mean that in a good way. There was a charm to the dumbness that, if played by a less capable actor, would have otherwise not been there.
But Kate McKinnon, for me, was the standout in this movie. She was hilarious, ridiculous, crazy and cute in a mad scientist sort of way. She even had a bad ass fight scene to boot that will make you want to stand up and start cheering. She delivered a lot of the laughs and one-liners in the film and helped make some scenes that would have been boring set-up scenes actually enjoyable. She brought a spark to every scene she was in and I found myself actually perking up whenever she was on-screen. In a movie where you would expect Melissa McCarthy or Kristen Wiig to steal the show or be center stage, McKinnon’s role seemed to demand more of the spotlight, and that’s saying something.
What really made the ‘new’ Ghostbusters team enjoyable was their on-screen chemistry. They had a lot of snappy dialogue and witty comebacks to put any group of dudes to shame. The original franchise relied almost completely on Murray for that, this new franchise seemed more than happy to let each woman have their fair share of the pie. I found myself chuckling a lot at things Patty (Leslie Jones) would say or comebacks Abby would throw out– hell I even enjoyed Wiig’s sort of sad, pity-me, type character who seemed more like the victim of circumstances rather than a heroine of humor, it just worked for the film. The movie had just under a 2 hour runtime and it flew by because of how much fun each actor seemed to be having on-screen.
This movie is far from perfect, however. It doesn’t really tread any new ground except for the fact that it has updated visuals. That isn’t saying much considering that the visuals would have improved overtime regardless–that isn’t something unique or breathtaking to this film, but a natural progression of the industry. Additionally, I felt nothing for the villain in this film. It could have been played by anyone… that’s not to say Neil Cassy did a poor job, I think it was more an issue of writing. He wasn’t a compelling or particularly interesting villain so he was, over all, forgettable. And while I did enjoy a lot of the cameos from the older stars, I can also see where this might rub a lot of people the wrong way or how it might look like Feig’s re-imagining The Ghostbusters might be using its predecessors as a crutch. I don’t agree with that, but I also won’t argue against people who feel this way. To each his own!
At the end of the day, the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters doesn’t tread into uncharted waters, it plays it safe in a lot of ways. But there is no doubt in my mind that the new cast really made the franchise their own and I would definitely be looking forward to a sequel if one would arise. You will be, at the very least, chuckling throughout the entire 2 hour runtime and will probably find yourself gravitating to at least one character int the film. Mine was Kate McKinnon, as she was the standout in this film for me, but what was yours? Let me know in the comments =)