Faced with an incredible amount of backlash and a fairly underwhelming initial trailer, it looked like the rebooted Ghostbusters was facing an uphill struggle from the start. Thankfully, once the proton packs have cooled, we are left with a film that can not only stand on its own, but has a good time along the way too.
Ghostbusters tells the story of Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wigg), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) as they begin their journey fighting evil paranormal forces.
With strong opinions coming from both sides, a Ghostbusters reboot was always going to be something that would cause a strong opinion either way. Whether you loved the idea or hated it, as ever in Hollywood, the proof is in the pudding with the bar set surprisingly high. Thankfully, Paul Feig has seemingly done the impossible and actually produced a film that not only pays tribute to both characters and events in the past but has also given us something that is just good fun!
With a background largely in comedy, it was unsure from the beginning the direction the director was going to go in. Was he going to follow the same archetype as his other comedies or was he going to emulate the past? Well, in honesty, he does both! The humour is exactly what you would expect going in and doesn’t pull any punches. Although, like his other films, it takes a little while to adjust to this type of humour, once it sinks in, you can guarantee to chuckle the whole way through.
This is then further backed up with a story that not only makes reference to the past films but also creates a platform for the new characters to shine. With an intriguing and independent set of heroes from the original (bar the science part), the protagonists largely stand out from the original group. This not only gives the audience something new but, for the most part, makes you feel like you’re watching something familiar but with a fresh angle (dishonourable mentions include Total Recall, Fantastic Four and no doubt this year’s Ben-Hur).
Although the characters and the humour make this feel like a nice little re-imagining of the originals, there is one thing that holds this back from stepping into its own light – the central plot. While there are some great little set pieces dotted throughout, the central story arc is just an inflated amalgamation of the original adventures. With ‘The Force Awakens’ proving that a similar framework can work wonders, this works in reverse for Ghostbusters and makes you realize the limitations of the franchise before it even gets out of the blocks. To say that this impacts this adventure is purely subjective but it definitely shines a dim light on the potential future outings of our heroes – an inevitable coin toss between a possession or giant ghost of destruction….
With all that said, easily the strongest element of the story is the impressive cast. With some familiar faces from the world renown cast list of Paul Feig, the ensemble have a great charisma together on screen. Kirsten Wigg and Melissa McCarthy continue to show their strengths in these types of roles while Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth do more than hold their own – the later having some great scenes throughout. When you top this off with some great cameos (not wanting to spoil anything), we are left with a decent group that really bring life to a film that many would have given up on.
While Ghostbusters may not be perfect in terms of plot – the humour, casting and general nostalgia will do more for the audience than a shot by shot remake would ever do. While there has been much hate since its inception, Feig has truly managed to pull this out the bag and make it his own. When all is said and done however, all the nostalgia makes you realize how brilliant the originals are. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
With some bold decisions from the start, there is no denying that most of the high stakes bets not only pay off, but they also stand up on their own merit