Ghostbusters (2016) Review

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By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

 

There are some things one should never do in life. Stare into the sun comes to mind; try to fight a grizzly bear with your bare hands in another; hate people is WAAAAY up there; and maybe, just maybe, remaking a film that has such a cult following, it will be criticized to no end. Paul Feig, director of such films as Bridesmaids, Spy, The Heat, and episodes of “The Office,” “Nurse Jackie,” and more has decided to do one of the above. No, he didn’t stare into the sun – I mean, not that I know of – and he didn’t fight a grizzly bear because, well, he’s still alive. He’s not hating anyone that we’re aware of, but he DID remake a cult classic film: Ghostbusters. So, was he successful where many have failed before?

 

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is working to secure her tenure at Colombia University, but there’s a snag in the form of a book she wrote years ago with an old colleague, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), about the paranormal. Approaching Abby, who works at a junior college with a new research partner in Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), she is led to a museum where paranormal activity lurks, bringing Erin back in to the fold of paranormal research. They open a business to capture ghosts with equipment made by Holtzmann and call themselves the Ghostbusters. Patty Nolan (Leslie Jones), a Mass Transit Authority employee, experiences the paranormal herself, and approaches and soon joins the team, seeing as she knows the city inside and out. With Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) joining as the secretary, the team is in business. And with increasing reports of paranormal activity happening around the city, the team takes on the task of finding out what is going on and putting a stop to it before things get out of control.

 

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When watching a remake, it’s hard not to compare it to the original. We compare the characters against one another, the story, the special effects, the music…just about everything. Yet, this rendition is a complete remake and retelling, set in a world where the originals never happened, which makes it OK when certain cameos present themselves. The story is much different than the first, and the films plays much looser and sillier, and possibly even funnier, than the original. Whereas in the original, the special effects were fairly rudimentary and straight forward, this time around, with our advancements in computer technology and all things media related, the visuals are heightened and make for an even more entertaining eye pleasing experience. There’s also just enough from the score to bring back the joy of watching the original film and memories of a large Stay Puft marshmallow man tromping down the streets of New York with all his sweet fluffy evil. This isn’t your daddy’s Ghostbusters, this is now YOUR Ghostbusters.

 

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For a movie like this to be successful, the cast has to work as an ensemble, just as it did with the original. And while Wiig and McCarthy play the main roles, Jones and McKinnon aren’t far behind. Wiig plays more of the straight role, the university professor, who finds the fun moments, particularly with her interactions with Chris Hemsworth’s character. McCarthy takes on a role different from many of her previous, where she can find the levels of the character, displaying a sweetness and vulnerability while attempting to portray strength and leadership. McKinnon is pretty much the scene stealer of the show, except when Hemsworth is on screen, with her bug eyed quirkiness and giddy weirdness she displays for her love of developing ghost-capturing tools. Leslie Jones is the more brash member of the group, a sort of muscle, if you will, who shows her strength but still is also able to show sides of vulnerability and the need to have the team element around her. Now Chris Hemsworth…where to start…just hilarious! From his choice to wear glasses without lenses, to being about as bright as the guy who stopped in the middle of the freeway to capture a Pokemon, he takes the character in a direction we’ve never seen from him, and it works. And watching Wiig’s body language and what she has to say when around him – so funny! Plus cameos abound, and just about every original actor from the 1984 film returns in some way, shape or form. And yes, Bill Murray is here!

 

Ghostbusters is an enjoyable film. It isn’t great, and there are flaws and little intricacies that may bother people, but it is still fun. The cast works great together, though some of the relationships could be better defined, yet there is plenty of comedy, quirkiness and laughs to be had. The special effects are on point, and Slimer is back in his gluttonous element. Plus there are enough moments paying homage to the original that diehard fans should be able to give this one a pass, even by the most stringent of critic criteria. Some moments will be El OH EL funny, others will be smirk funny, and some will be “Ok, that didn’t work” not funny at all, but you’ll still walk out of the theater entertained and giving a nod to Feig, his cast and the legend that are the Ghostbusters.

 

Rating: roiheadRed copy out of  FiveroiheadRed copy


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