Want an 80s hit rebooted? Who ya gonna call? Paul Feig it seems.
Paul Feig took on the challenge to deliver a reboot of the 1980s hit Ghostbusters and he has definitely delivered.Thirty-two years ago writers Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis along with director Ivan Reitman brought us Ghostbusters - a film that would cement Bill Murray with a mainstream audience and see him reunited with Ramis on the big screen in what would become the second highest grossing film in the US in 1984, second only to Beverly Hills Cop. So, why make a ‘reboot’ now I ask myself.As a huge fan of the original two Ghostbusters films and an even bigger fan of Bill Murray I thought to myself – are they serious? Do they think even for a second that they will be able to capture the chemistry, comedy and brilliance so well distilled by Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis and Ernie Hudson, repackage it and hope for the same effect over thirty years later? Well, yes, they did.
The film begins with an opening sequence that's similar to the one in the original and packs in some early scares. A tour guide at Aldridge Mansion makes an eerie discovery and thus sets in motion the bringing together of the Ghostbusters beginning with Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig). Gilbert is a particle physicist eagerly awaiting confirmation of her tenure but is forced to reunite and work with old school friend and colleague Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) a paranormal researcher who’s joined forces with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to try and prove the existence of ghosts and paranormal activity. The three of them set up headquarters above a Chinese restaurant (after realising they can’t quite afford the rent of a familiar fire station) and with the help of recently hired Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), who lives up to the stereotype of dumb receptionist, the trio are ready to begin their mission to prove the naysayers wrong.
Following, shall we say tradition, the fourth Ghostbuster joins a bit later on and this time around we have Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan who comes seeking help after encountering something not quite human in one of the subway tunnels where she works. Now complete and with a selection of ghost fighting equipment on hand the four Ghostbusters are quickly thrown in at the deep end and are called out to several venues reporting strange, otherworldly activity. Realising that someone rather than something is behind the recent influx of spiritual sightings the foursome must figure out who is behind this evil, apocalyptic plot and how to stop them, before it’s too late.
Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy) Ghostbusters is more or less a reboot of the original film which sees how the four Ghostbusters come together and begin their feisty battle against the ghostly apparitions that start plaguing New York City. Reunited with Wiig and McCarthy with whom he’s worked before, Feig was able to deliver the style of humour one would expect from a reboot of this kind. It’s understandable to see why the genders were flipped so that it would be an all-female lead cast to prevent too much direct comparison to the original line up. However, the characters were obviously written with the former Ghostbusters in mind and it’s easy to see who is playing who.
This fresh and funny reboot isn’t at all hindered by the female leads
That said, it is done in a very effective and positive manner: Wiig is the front-woman of the group and is mildly obsessed with the eye candy that is Kevin the receptionist, McCarthy is the all-out believer desperate to show the world that ghosts really do exist, McKinnon is the engineer who creates the gadgets and weapons – sporting a hairstyle that’s just a bit familiar and Jones is the late comer to the party but this time proves much more useful and hands-on. I cannot fault the casting whatsoever, each character fits their roles perfectly. Even the dimwitted Kevin is cast brilliantly, Hemsworth plays on his own physical attributes and character's lack of mental capacity to become the butt of the majority of the jokes and it was great to see a change from the typical casting of men poking fun at the female dimwitted receptionist.
There are cameos, references and catchphrases by a lot of the old faces from the original which I thought was done extremely well but not over-played, giving a nod to fans of the original film (make sure you stick around for the credits as you might miss one). Even the soundtrack has been slightly renovated but still maintains its old charm. With girl power rife throughout the film it’s clear to see why many had such a strong reaction to this revisioning of a classic originally starring all male leads. But with such a strong female cast who aren’t afraid to look or act silly at times, it manages to really kick any backlash it received in the ecto-balls – and this is perfectly presented in one scene where all four aim their laser beams at the crotch of a nasty villain posing as the ghost from the beloved logo of the group.
Part of me really wanted to dislike this film because I loved the original so much, but I have to say I was proved wrong; Feig and his team did a brilliant job of bringing elements that made the original so great into this reboot whilst updating it and making it relevant to the current times. The CGI used to create the ghosts wasn’t over-the-top and fitted in perfectly with the film using bright neon colours to create an eerie otherworldly presence. Whilst the gadgets the Ghostbusters used were reminiscent of those used in the original film, even taking some elements directly such as the P.K.E Meter and Proton Packs.
With just the right amount of nostalgia I think that fans of the original and new fans alike will enjoy this film – it’s lighthearted, fun and energetic and even has the confidence to poke fun at itself and at those who, like myself, were quick to pass judgement on this reboot starring an all-female lead cast.
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