1984’s Ghostbusters captured the hearts and minds of audiences the world over with an original storyline, instantly loveable characters, and a variety of unexpected twists and turns, coupled with enough laughs and jolts to solidify it as one of the best comedy-horror hybrids of all time.
Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis brought together four, equally important, and nicely dynamic personalities to make the Ghostbusters team wildly entertaining, propelling the film into an instant classic.
Ghostbusters 1984 has created a cult following and, unfortunately, as a result of this, the 2016 revamp of the film had its legitimacy questioned long before the cameras rolled. Gathered from vague details and teaser trailers, the biggest differences (and, as a result, fan gripes) between the original and the 2016 version looked to primarily based on the sexes of the main characters being swapped.
Another issue raised by movie-going audiences was the movie being thrown into a seemingly endless cycle of unnecessary remakes that no one has asked for or wanted. The Ghostbusters revamp fell foul of this stigma, too, naturally. Thankfully, instead of disappointing fans of the original, Ghostbusters 2016 should be a pleasant surprise.
First of all, the fact that the genders are swapped is not a big part of the movie, like some had predicted. In fact, the only controversy they can even really be accused of generating is in presenting a host of female characters who are not being highly sexualized for once. Even Kevin, the incompetent receptionist (enthusiastically played by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth) is not the typical Hollywood stereotyped male; rather he’s a himbo who can’t even answer a phone correctly.
Seeing the characters act like regular people is a genuine relief after all the build-up. The entire Ghostbusters team carries on the spirit of the original in that they are a combination of four strong personalities that are all vastly different. In the 1984 version, Dan Aykroyd played the hopeful scientist, Bill Murray the cynical professor, Harold Ramis the out of touch super genius, and Ernie Hudson the outsider who keeps the entire team grounded. Ghostbusters 2016 does not force its characters to replicate the original, and instead brings a new set of unique individuals. Melissa McCarthy is the determined scientist, Kristen Wiig the tried and true academic, Kate McKinnon the crazed engineer, and Leslie Jones a street smart city girl.
There are also several action scenes throughout Ghostbusters that are just kick-ass, in scale and on-screen presentation, and really bring the audience to the edge of their seat. Producers took full advantage of advancements in CGI technology and combined fictional ghosts and familiar Ghostbuster-style weapons in striking sequences, which are cleverly paired with great soundtrack choices. These thrilling moments also take a page of out Marvel’s handbook, by simultaneously keeping audiences engaged and their hearts pounding.
Several easily recognized pieces of equipment from the 1984 movie are used in the reboot, too, but they are given a much-needed upgrade to be a bit sexier for a modern audience. The familiar proton packs that are used to wrangle the ghosts, the containments for captured spirits, as well as newly-created weapons all make an appearance several times throughout the film, to wonderful effect.
Speaking of the ghosts, despite their campy appearance they are actually quite terrifying in nature. If they weren’t so (understandably) cheesy, they could easily compete with the phantoms and ghouls in certain, straight horror films. On that note, one of the only real complaints about the 2016 reboot is that it’s a touch too family-friendly. The original Ghostbusters had more adult themes, and the new movie could have pressed the envelope a little bit more. Despite this, Ghostbusters 2016 can be enjoyed by both parents and children as it is written to be entertaining across generation gaps, and it’s somewhat admirable that it achieves this goal.
The other grievance I have with the Ghostbusters reboot is that, yes while it IS a revamp, it could have deviated a little more from the source material. Yes, there are some notable differences, but there are also a lot of similarities that almost call for the 2016 movie to acknowledge the events of 1984. It would have been better to place the two storylines in the same universe and have the new team dust off the work of their predecessors – work that may have been considered a lost art in the modern world.
However, overall, Ghostbusters 2016 is a thoroughly enjoyable experience that nods its head to the original, while simultaneously creating its own niche in the modern movie world. Hardcore fans will enjoy several cameos from the original Ghostbusters crew. While it may not necessarily knock your socks off, or become a re-watch favorite, it is a fun time at the movies with four strong performances at its heart.
And, despite the incessant criticism that this is a film to push a supposed feminist agenda or that it is a shameless reboot solely created to make money, I encourage you to watch it for yourselves and form your own opinion. You may just be surprised that Ghostbusters 2016 has more than a few thrills up its sleeve.
WICKED RATING: [usr=6]
Director(s): Paul Feig
Writer(s): Katie Dippold and Paul Feig
Stars: Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon
Release: July 15, 2016
Studio/ Production Co: Sony Pictures
Budget: $144,000,000 (estimated)
Length: 1 Hour and 56-minutes
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Horror Comedy