Ghostbusters: Who You Gonna Call?

In the aftermath of a paranormal invasion of Manhattan, ghost enthusiasts and scientists, Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) along with nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and subway employee Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) team up to prevent the paranormal from taking over the land of the living.

When a team of paranormal detectives post a video online of their first ghost encounter, one of the comments reads “ain’t no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts”.This is a mirror of some of the immediate hate this film got in its early stages of production. As soon as the announcement of an all-female lead Ghostbusters movie  was made, it was met with a frenzy of anti-Ghostbusters hysteria. Not only because they were female but because, why reboot a franchise that is loved  by millions worldwide? Was it really necessary to remake this?

In this culture of reboots/sequels, it was only a matter of time before Ghostbusters got the greenlight. On the topic ghosts , this movie received many a roasts, purely based on the trailers. That being said, the trailers were horrible. This doesn’t take anything away from the goodness of the movie as I really enjoyed it. The hate towards this movie wasn’t because it was necessarily a bad movie. It came from Ghostbusters’ nostalgic protectors of the 80s comedy movies, though seemingly and selectively forgetting about the horrific mess which was Ghostbusters Part II (1989). But hey, that’s none of my business. Insert Kermit the Frog meme where appropriate.

The classic Slimer with Abby Yates (McCarthy) and Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) (Ghostbusters, Universal Pictures)

The classic Slimer with Abby Yates (McCarthy) and Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon)
(Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures)

The all-female reboot had laughs at every corner. Much alike the original, the humour was cringey yet highly amusing. It’s not unwatchable, which is what people were insinuating before even seeing the movie. They were basing their opinions on trailers. And to be fair, the trailers were unfunny but the media fuelled YouTube commenters’ anti-feminist ideologies triggered by their love for the 1984 hit. You know how YouTube comment threads get. A few people start to hate and everyone jumps on the bandwagon. That’s not just YouTube, that’s what happens in a social media frenzy. Admittedly, they could have released better trailers but that’s bad marketing and doesn’t take anything way from the movie.

Ghostbusters isn’t just a sci-fi comedy. It’s a critique of identity politics and ideologies as well as popular culture. It attacks both in such a way that it makes it understandable and digestible for younger viewers, and that comes from an intelligent script by director Paul Fieg (Bridesmaids) and Kate Dippold (Parks & Recreation).In the original, it was Murray, Hudson, Ramis and Ackroyd as the Ghostbusters. The reboot comes from Fieg and Dippold. Their script is bouncy and very funny, though it is a blend between verbal comedy and physical comedy as well touching on important social issues. Wiig (The Martian) plays career physicist at Columbia university who was trying to leave her past behind her and not be labelled as “crazy”. Life isn’t so easy, and when a book about ghosts called “Ghosts From The Past” pops up on Amazon she almost loses it. She co-wrote this book with Abby Yates (McCarthy) years ago, someone who is very passionate about the paranormal and the other side, pursuing her interest with Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon).

Patty (Jones), Abby Yates (McCarthy), Erin (Wiig) and Holtzmann (McKinnon) (Ghostbusters, Universal Studios)

Patty Tolan (Jones), Abby Yates (McCarthy), Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon)
(Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures)

The book on Amazon leads to Erin being sacked and has no alternative but to join Abby and her ghost hunters. They’re joined by Patty (Jones) who alerts them to ghosts in the subway. They recruit Australian beefcake Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as their receptionist who only answers the phone when he wants to, and only speaks to people if they aren’t shouting down the phone. His work ethic is questionable and he’s a bit of a blonde bimbo who they only hired because there were no other applicants and Dr Gilbert wanted to gawp at him like she was still in highschool. I loved the opening scene with the iconic theme song though it could have stayed on for a tad longer.

The movie is a good bit of fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Paul Fieg has successfully created a great Ghostbusters movie and potentially made a movie that would appeal to a new generation of fans with the youth of today. The star of the movie for me, was Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) as Jillian Holtzmann. She reminded me of one of those quirky eccentric English teachers yet with sciency twist. The comedy came naturally to her, and to be honest, she was born for the role. She was that physical comedy that spoke about before. It’s the things she does that make one laugh out loud. She’s uncanny in persona to NCIS’ forensic scientist Abby Sciuto.

Chris Hemsworth as the blonde bimbo Kevin (Ghostbusters, Universal Pictures)

Chris Hemsworth as the blonde, bimbo beefcake Kevin
(Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures)

The quality of the CGI is like any low-budget science fiction movie. It’s mediocre and nothing more than that. But it wins with the story and its characters with great performances from McCarthy, Wiig, Jones but McKinnon steals the whole movie. It’s not an invasion of nostalgia. In fact, it honours the original. If it didn’t, Murray and Aykroyd would not have accepted cameo roles in the movie. It’s not trying to replace the old movie. If anything, it’s trying to give it an upgrade. It’s enteraing, funny, intelligent anf fun for all the family. It would not suprise me if a sequel is already in the pipeline.

An all-female upgrade is welcome in this culture of differing opinions, ideologies and freedom of expression; now more than ever