Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)
“Answer the call”
Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon
Synopsis: A group of misfits band together to form Ghostbusters, an agency created to fight a sudden surge in paranormal activity in New York.
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Quite what possessed Columbia to reverse the roles in Ghostbusters so that the oddball team of paranormal investigators is comprised entirely of women is something of a mystery. It was always a move that would inflame the fanboys, most of whom would, instead of watching it, open each of their multiple IMDb accounts to triumphantly pound the ‘1’ rating button with righteous indignation. And the storyline, in which a group of social misfits employ an array of eccentric technology to entrap ectoplasmic creatures that are closer to ethereal demons than ghosts, is one which would surely appeal more to young males than females. It’s as if Columbia deliberately went out of its way to alienate what should have been a built-in audience. What’s particularly unfortunate is that Paul Feig’s version of Ghostbusters really isn’t that bad; at least, not bad enough to generate the level of negative comments it’s received and the disappointing box office. It’s no classic, and it certainly doesn’t match up to the original, but it does retain much of the first film’s sense of energy and fun.
Melissa McCarthy (Central Intelligence) tones down her act a notch to play Abby Yates, a stubbornly upbeat ghost hunter with whom Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig – Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Zoolander 2) who is now at Columbia University, once wrote a book in which they declared their belief in the existence of ghosts. Now that Erin’s career has moved on a pace, she’s mortified to discover that Abby has relaunched the book on the internet, and visits her lab to protest. However, instead of persuading her to withdraw the book, she finds herself accompanying Abby and her brilliant, but slightly scary, colleague, Jillian (Kate McKinnon) on a call-out to a mansion in which sudden, inexplicable paranormal activity has been reported.
Unfortunately, Erin loses her tenure at the University when the film Abby captures of the manifestations at the mansion goes viral and is instantly dismissed as fake. But the episode has reawakened her belief in ghosts, and she throws in her lot with her former friend once more. With the addition of sassy former MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and handsome but flaky secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth – Rush, In the Heart of the Sea) to the team, it’s not long before the Ghostbusters are hurtling around New York in a converted hearse adorned with the iconic logo as they strive to quell a sudden surge in paranormal activity in the City.
Far from being the disaster that many wish it to be, the latest incarnation of Ghostbusters is actually quite a fun movie. No one performer is allowed to dominate the show, and the interaction between the four women is refreshingly light and easygoing – although Chris Hemsworth, playing against type as the ‘himbo’ secretary employed for looks rather than work skills, steals every scene he’s in. It’s also a relief to see a Hollywood comedy that doesn’t feel compelled to journey down dramatic side roads or deliver an ‘uplifting’ message, and which manages to retain the look and spirit of the original without simply becoming its carbon copy. And at least Ghostbusters’ relatively dismal box office showing should deter Hollywood from unleashing a slew of role-reversal remakes on us…
(Reviewed 1st August 2016)