Dan's Review: "Ghostbusters" is fun, but not any more than the original
Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in Ghostbusters - © 2016 Columbia Pictures.
Ghostbusters (Columbia Paictures)
Rated PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor.
Starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Cecily Strong, Andy García, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Matt Walsh, Neil Casey, Michael McDonald, Ed Begley Jr., Toby Huss, Nate Corddry, Jessica Chaffin, Jamie Denbo, Katie Dippold, Zach Woods, Dave Allen, Steve Bannos, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Ozzy Osbourne, Al Roker, Pat Kiernan.
Written by Katie Dippold and Paul Feig.
Directed by Paul Feig.
Yeah, I know. Remakes, reboots, retreads are everywhere. It seems like if any movie or TV show or book or obscure comic ever had any traction over the past 50 years, there’s some Hollywood studio exec who thinks they can squeeze a little more money out of the source material. It was only a matter of 1984’s Ghostbusters to get a sequel or reboot, or whatever, so this week, we get an updated version with an all-female cast.
Kristen Wiig stars as Dr. Erin Gilbert, a brilliant Columbia quantum physics professor who is on the verge of gaining tenure when she’s contacted to find out what’s causing paranormal disturbances inside a NYC mansion. Erin reunites with her old pal Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and her new sidekick Dr. Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) and they soon discover that the mansion is indeed haunted by a nasty ghost. When word gets out that Erin is ghost hunting, she is fired from her post at Columbia. Abby and Jillian are fired from their jobs at another school, and the trio set out to form their own ghost hunting business. They take up residence above a Chinese restaurant and hire a dimwitted receptionist named Kevin (Chris Hemsworth). A subway worker named Patty (Leslie Jones) joins the team after an encounter on the tracks. Apparitions increase, thanks to a creepy dude named Rowan (Neil Casey), who plans to create a paranormal vortex and release an army of ghosts on NYC.
The ladies must team up and defy the odds to thwart the attack.
Ghostbusters is a fun movie, but not any more than the original 1984 version. Before I get into any heavy cinematic analysis, let’s dispense with the whole “female remake” issue. It should be noted that the new GB is not a sequel to the 1984 film, even though almost all the surviving main cast of the original film make cameos (as different characters) in the new version (Harold Ramis passed away two years ago, and Rick Moranis has stepped away from acting forever). Being a reboot gave writer/director Paul Feig freedom to allow Wiig, McCarty, McKinnon and Jones to create the main characters in their own way, far different from Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Ramis and Ernie Hudson. So, it doesn’t matter if the characters are male or female, it just matters if their characters are engaging and funny. Wiig and McCarthy accomplish this with their usual comedic acumen, while relative newcomers McKinnon and Jones contribute their own quirky and slapstick brand of humor to compliment the team. They may not be better or worse than the original GB team, but they are unique. The script and dialogue lack a little of the same crisp comedy of the original film, relying more heavily on what seems like improvisational material from Wiig and McCarty.
One thing that isn’t unique about the GB is the main story, which pretty much follows the original version scene for scene – so there are no real surprises if you’ve ever encountered the 1984 version.
In a nutshell, the new GB could have been worse, but it isn’t much better than the original.