Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Katie Dippold & Paul Feig
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones
Rated: PG-13 for language, violence and disturbing images
When this movie was announced, I was afraid and had so many mixed feelings. Would I hate it because it was nothing like the 80’s version I grew up with? Did I secretly think women were unworthy of having action/comedy/science roles? Was this movie just a dud and a lame cash in? I had to be sure.
Language: The Ghostbuster girls and the people they meet drop a A** and B**** bombs. Jesus and God are dropped a few times in a negative way. The dean of the college gives multiple middle fingers and tells the girls to “suck it.”
Violence: Lots of ghost catching violence. The girls get slimed. People get punched and slapped comically. The ghosts are suitable for thirteen-year-olds, and do not look too scary. Adults might freak out at the running mannequin scene.
Sex/ Crude Behavior: Kristen Wiig flirts with Chris Hemsworth a lot. No crude humor stood out besides a dozen or so bodily waste jokes. The main villain gets told that he is a virgin and is made fun of.
Spiritual: The world of the Ghostbusters is filled with spectral entities that live in the afterlife. They manifest through scientific means. The villain sees himself as a punishing god of vengeance. One scene depicts a metal concert. All the fans see a demon ghost and start saluting it. The ghosts have the power to possess bodies and make the host do demonic feats.
Drugs and Alcohol: Nope. Nada.
Positive Elements: The narrative is about following your dreams and never giving up on your goals. The Ghostbusters love science, and they passionately pursue it.
The premise of Ghostbusters starts in New York City. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) plays a scientist trying to forget when she wrote a paranormal science book with her colleague Aby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). Aby still believes in the paranormal world of ghosts and continues her studies with Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon). Eventually, bewildered New Yorkers start having ghosts invade their homes and reach out to the girls to investigate.
After an incident at a colonial mansion in New York City where a dead heiress comes back to life to spew on Erin, the girls return to their obsession with using science to solve these paranormal sightings. Patty Tolan (a railway toll collector played by Leslie Jones) sees her own spectral entity and decides to join the girl’s fight. An evil plot to resurrect New York City’s ghost problem is unfurled, and the fate of New York lies in the hands of three scientists and a toll collector.
The trick to enjoying this new take on the Ghostbusters is not to compare it to its 80’s counterpart. Everything about this movie is a fresh angle, a new direction, and merely a respectful head nod to the original. Right off the bat, the four actresses pulled off nerdy scientists who have many quirks. But instead of being dry straight-faced humorists like the original, they have sassy feminine qualities and bizarre personalities that fill the dialog. Kristen Wiig’s character is awkward in every social situation, McKinnon plays an eccentric batty woman, McCarthy does her usual getting into trouble self, and Leslie plays a tough black woman with silly moments. The girls pack on their personalities thick at every turn, making whimsical jokes and exaggerating their feelings.
The story is light, focusing its attention on characters and their comedic timing. The villain (Neil Casey) plays a bullied nerd who uses ghosts to get revenge on the people who abused him. His role is to justify the ghosts in the movie, unlike the original that had a random god show up and start wreaking havoc.
When Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) gets introduced as the air-headed beefy receptionist, you can tell that Paul Feig is doing a reverse gender role. Now the jocky male is the clueless dummy, and the nerdy girls are the heroes. He provides the idiot-in-training humor and probably has the most bizarre lines in the movie.
The movie has a lot of cameos from the previous Ghostbuster movies. No spoilers, but there are a lot of surprise guest visits that are worth a chuckle. Also the formula for the plot is a close framework for the original. Today’s remakes are so eager to make the old audience get nostalgia. This is why Star Wars Episode VII was so much like Episode IV.
The fresh layer of CGI and music for this modern remake is impressive. The visual effects are bright, and the props look very steam punkish. If anything, this movie needed a new gloss of modern technology. Fall Out Boy wrote the new Ghostbusters theme song and thankfully it is only in the movie for thirty seconds.
The humor in this movie is a mix of awkward moments that seem straight out of Bridesmaids coupled with Looney Tunes-inspired gags. The movie never lets up. When the girls finally get to ghostbusting, it plays a minor role. Only near the end do the heroes actually take action and start busting hardcore.
Probably the weakest part of the movie is that the plot is too simple. Paul Feig did not care to add any twists, complications, or any hard science to the story. You have your heroes, you have your ghosts, and you have your busting-roll credits. Even the humor doesn’t engage beyond a middle school level. This is exactly why the new shade of Ghostbusters should not be compared to the old. This new direction is closer to a short summer fling. You watch it, you enjoy it, and you move on.
The Bottom Line