Release date: 11th July 2016/Watch the trailer here
I wonder if Paul Feig knew, when he sat down with four of the funniest women in Hollywood right now to discuss making a reimagining of an ’80s classic, the backlash that would ensue. The most disliked trailer ever on Youtube. Not just harmless clicks of a ‘dislike’ button, either – look at the horrific racist abuse that star Leslie Jones has had to endure on Twitter since the film’s release. No other recent reboots of classic franchises – Jurassic World, The Force Awakens – have caused such uproar – but then, no other recent reboots have replaced the original leads with four, funny women.
Because of this, I’ll admit that I sat down to watch Ghostbusters feeling ever-so-slightly biased. I wanted to enjoy it. I’d seen that it had been getting mainly positive reviews and doing well at the box office and I felt happy about that, but I also had to remind myself to watch it objectively – yes, the sexist and racist hate is infuriating, but is it a good film? Fortunately (or unfortunately for all of those sad, sad trolls sending anonymous abuse while proclaiming that women simply can’t be funny), it is a good film.
So Ghostbusters may not be a cinematic masterpiece (although absolutely no one was expecting it to be), but it is one of those rare films that attempts to be silly and fun and a little bit cheesy and achieves it all while still being really, truly funny. This is in part thanks to its director and co-writer, Paul Feig, who is the comic mastermind behind some of this decade’s most successful female-lead comedies, such as Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy. It’s also thanks to four fantastically funny women: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. Then there’s Chris Hemsworth, in the genius role of the cute-but-stupid secretary, Kevin.
In this retelling of Ghostbusters, scientists and paranormal enthusiasts Erin (Wiig) and Abby (McCarthy), as well as nuclear engineer Holtzmann (McKinnon) and subway worker Patty (Jones) team up to become the Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination (Ghostbusters for short) and try and tackle a ghostly invasion of Manhattan.
And there’s certainly no shortage of ghosts; more than a few of them familiar faces from the original. In fact, there are plenty of nods to the classic, including multiple cameos from some of the stars of the ’80s original. This is what makes the hatred toward Ghostbusters so confusing – with obvious approval from Bill Murray et al, this film was clearly meant as a love letter to the original. It feels like you’re watching a film from thirty years ago. It’s just a shame that so many people’s opinions seem to be stuck in the ’80s, too.
Clearly, the original Ghostbusters means a lot to a lot of people. It’s always going to be an undisputed classic. Hopefully, this one will mean the same thing to a whole new generation. Here are four women who are here to tell young girls that yes, they can be smart and yes, they can be funny and yes, they can kick ass, and there’s something so feel-good about that. Best of all, there’s not a hint of competition between these four ladies: each is given their chance to shine, each with their own unique comedy style – and no one is a lazy reimagining of an original character, either. They’re best friends who bust ghosts together while wearing ugly – but practical – jumpsuits. No Jurassic World running-in-high-heels scandal here.
If there’s a flaw to be found, it lies in an over-long, effects-heavy finale, but so many films currently suffer from a bloated final showdown that there’s hardly any point in complaining about it. After all, the fun of Ghostbusters lies in getting to know the team (plus Kevin), and they’re all loveable enough to stick along for the ride, even if there might be a few bumps along the way.