Might as well shoot from the hip here:
The new Ghostbusters movie is good.
Not great, but good.
Certainly undeserving of the bad press leading up to its release.
After seeing this movie even this reviewer retracted his preexisting bias towards yet another original idea from his youth being reimagined for the younger audiences in the 21st century.
One thing needs to be stated for the record: it ain’t Shakespeare, but that isn’t essentially a bad thing.
Okay, make that two things: it also ain’t EXACTLY the 1984 Ghostbusters, which might explain the vitriol associated with the run-up to this summer’s movie. That and probably a complete lack of respect for the concept of a reboot being something that is based on an original, and not a precise line-for-line retelling of the original story.
For example, the keen-eyed will automatically notice that the characters Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones play are ghosted copies of the characters Akroyd, Murray, Ramis and Hudson play, pardon the pun, and the story is very similar but that is where it essentially stops. It is a new Ghostbusters story and it takes great pains to separate itself from the original with subtle tributes thrown in to keep it honest.
The four actresses do not dominate one another in the story. It’s essentially the same balance of three academics (Wiig, McCarthy and McKinnon) to a civilian (Jones), but they all get equal laughs and their share of action, which bordered on the slapstick at times. It was funny to see but after the tenth time one of the Ghostbusters turned on their proton pack and it tossed them across the room it became just a joke instead of a good joke.
One thing was refreshing in this film, and that was that Melissa McCarthy didn’t play the stock character that she’s played in her previous films that she’s headlined as an actress. It was refreshing to see her as a nerdy, Akroyd-ish scientist Dr. Abby Yates instead of the character she played in “Tammy” or “Identity Thief”. Kristen Wiig also comes across as nerdy, but much more reserved than McCarthy in her portrayal of Dr. Erin Gilbert, who is a physicist at Columbia University looking for a tenured teaching position that gets discredited by Yates when she publishes a book they co-authored about ghosts and the paranormal.
McKinnon appears as engineer Jillian Holtzman, Yates’ assistant, who has a manic, slightly insane bent to her which mimics the seriousness of Harold Ramis’ Egon Spengler character in the original with a touch of sarcasm that Bill Murray brought to Peter Venkman, and Leslie Jones rounds out the principle cast as the transit-worker-turned-Ghostbuster Patty Tolan who adds a non-scientific, observational side of humor to the group. Overall the fact that three of the four primary cast appeared on Saturday Night Live makes the group chemistry very charming and believable.
Add Chris Hemsworth to the mix as Kevin Beckman a dimwitted eye candy model/actor turned receptionist and Neil Case as Rowan North, a milquetoast hotel bellman who sets the paranormal circus in motion and it is a fresh, new Ghostbusters story re-imagined for the 21st Century. Outstanding summer movie and entertainment that is suitable for all but the youngest kids that would be easily scared.
It should be noted that four of the surviving Ghostbusters cast members pull cameo appearances in the movie. The only one who is absent is Ramis, who died in early 2014 of a heart ailment. His likeness does appear early in the movie, however.
So the new Ghostbusters is a winner. Well worth the look and a fine reimagining of a 80s classic movie.