(**** This review is Spoiler Free!****)
Last night I had the privilege of viewing the new Ghostbusters movie a few days before it’s official release. Ignoring the fact that they made us wait outside in the sun for 2 hours (apparently the sneak peek crowd is “too loud” for other movie patrons,) I really enjoyed the movie! There are a few things I should clear up first.
- While I was a fan of the original films, I was never an uber-fan. Therefore I had no real nostalgic investment in the success of this film.
- I like Melissa McCarthy, and have since Gilmore Girls. This doesn’t mean I watch all her films, but it does mean that I trust her acting ability.
- I went in having not watched more than the first teaser trailer. I never saw any of the full length trailers or listened to the new version of the song.
- I haven’t watched the original in a year or so.
With all that squared away, here is my honest review!
It’s Not a Reboot
Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t view this film as a reboot. By definition,
Reboot means to discard all continuity in an established series in order to recreate its characters, timeline and backstory from the beginning.
That sounds right when you first read it, but I don’t view it as such for a few reasons. The first being the characters. The ladies play all new characters with no connection to the previous cast. Not by name anyway. To reboot the movie truly, in my opinion, they would have used the exact same characters and same basic storyline, which they did not do. Also nowhere does it say the previous continuity was discarded. We assume it was, but maybe it wasn’t.
I also don’t think it’s a remake.
A remake is a film or television series that is based on an earlier work and tells the same story.
This wasn’t the same story. Not even close. Yes it was based on earlier work, but the second half of the definition is not applicable in this instance.
Instead, I offer an alternative type. A “What If” film. Simply put, it asks the question what if the guys had been gals? What if it took place in modern day New York? What if the ghosts were more malevolent, bigger, and meaner? This is what I believe the new Ghostbusters is, a “What If” film. and a thumpin good one at that!
Homage Well Payed
One of the biggest concerns with this film was that it would ruin the original. It would stomp all over the traditional ghostbusters and destroy their legacy with bad female stereotypes and disregard for it’s origins.
This didn’t happen. At all. In fact, it was the complete opposite. Throughout the entire film there were numerous references to the original film. From locations and jokes, to specific ghosts. It was, however, all done very respectfully and with dignity. One scene specifically I believe payed homage in a very appropriate way. I won’t post it here, but I will say it involves an iconic locale.
Powerful Role Models
If there was ever a film that exuded girl power, this is it! the women in this film have no concern for their looks or matching clothes, but instead have a focus on science, ingenuity, and engineering. The stereotypical dim-witted blonde receptionist is traded out for a dim-witted male receptionist (Chris Hemsworth) which I’ll get to in a bit 🙂 The women are all intelligent and witty (mostly) with a strong sense of sisterhood and duty. But most importantly, they are role models!
One character, Jillian Holtzmann, played magnificently by Kate McKinnon, is an nuclear engineer. Throughout the film she is creating, editing, and testing numerous inventions and paranormal weapons. Her social awkwardness is endearing and comes to a very accurate speech near the end of the film. If I’d seen this film when I was a young girl, I would’ve jumped onto the engineering bandwagon instantly! Truth be told, I wouldn’t have been a good engineer, but the passion would’ve been there.
Melissa McCarthy’s character, Abbie, is a paranormal scientist and an author. Two very inspiring occupations, even if one isn’t exactly a profitable career. Abbie is goal oriented, headstrong, and not easily defeated. She knows what she wants, what she needs, and how to get it without using her “female gifts” or looks. The way Abbie deals with the “haters” of the film is exemplary and a great example of how to deal with the haters and trolls.
Erin Gilbert, played by Kristen Wigg, is a more odd character. She is an author and established physicist at Columbia University about the be on tenure when all hell breaks lose. Her character deals with discrimination, prejudices, and misconceptions throughout the whole film. Sadly, her character also falls into several female stereotypes including her interactions with Chris Hemsworth’s character, Kevin, and a brief scene about her outfit being too conservative.
Leslie Jones plays a character named Patty Tolan. She’s your stereotypical New York subway worker who sort of stumbles into the group. Only she isn’t and she didn’t. While speaking and acting very much like a typical New Yorker, she used her street smarts and knowledge of the city to good use. She knows the history of various locations and hotspots, and isn’t shy about joining in the ghostbusting fight. In fact, she insists on it! But what may be even more important, is her respect for her fellow team members. Not once does she not make fun of them for being scientists or quirky, but she embraces the differences and strives to learn all she can.
A physicists, nuclear engineer, paranormal scientist, two published authors, and a New York subway worker. Not a bad team!
Chris Hemsworth: The Eye Candy
This is really all his character is. Eye candy. yes his character, Kevin, plays a pivotal role later on, but from the beginning he is just there for his looks. While I appreciate the tongue in check approach to the receptionist position, I did miss seeing more of his actual acting ability.
But to be fair, he seems to REALLY be enjoying himself on camera. He clearly had fun with this part and as a whole, we enjoyed having him on screen. I’ll call that a win!
New Beginnings: New Stories
I loved the story. It was very different from the original and very well done! It made sense and I loved how they explained various parts. (Instead of just showing us a finished proton pack, they describe how it works and how it was made.) There was a good deal of technical and scientific jargon thrown around and some big words here and there. Some people have complained that the script was juvenile and written by a child… unless that child has a working knowledge of partical physics and paranormal science, I highly doubt it.
Another complaint was the effects. This I don’t get. The effects were made specific to the film and I thought they did a great job. The ghosts looked like ghosts, the slime looked like slime, and at no point did I watch the film and think I was viewing Batman & Robin. Also, the ghosts are scary. VERY scary. Probably a bit too frightening for anyone younger than 12. Unless they like having a fear of mirrors.
Next the acting. I found the acting enjoyable. The actors seems to click very well and it didn’t seem forced. Was it Oscar worthy, no. But I have seen bad acting and this wasn’t it. For the record, McKinnon clearly was the break out performer of this movie. She was amazing and quirky and I loved her.
Ah the Cameos
And now for the bad. The cameos. There were a lot of them, and none of them seemed natural. It was exciting when they appeared, but after the first one, you just kind of expected them. Was it nice that they were there, absolutely. Could they have done it better? Absolutely. In my opinion, don’t go for the cameos. Go for the story.
And that’s it! My review in a nutshell. It’s a controversial movie (though I still don’t see why) but it’s an excellent film with an excellent cast. Don’t let the haters and trolls stop you from seeing it, and don’t let your preconceived notions stop your curiosity. And most importantly, don’t hate on others who DID enjoy the movie if you don’t. Let’s not ruin this for all the young girls out there who are excited to see strong female characters in a non-female dominated genre.
Do it for the future engineers, physicists and scientists.