In a rare moment of being able to go to the actual cinema to watch a film it was decided that the new Ghostbusters reboot was going to be the film of choice. I can safely say that it was a good choice. There is plenty in there if you are willing to enjoy a movie and not get too hung up on the external stuff.
I can see why Paul Feig likes to work with Melissa McCarthy (Dr Yates), she is really the driving force of this film. Pushing the team on, providing the impetus for the jokes and generally being the least likely person you would expect to do some of the things that happen on screen. Facing off against Kristen Wiig (Dr Gilbert) you get the classic combination of the straight woman and the funny woman and it works well, as it has previously also. Kate McKinnon really does steal the show as the zany Dr Jillian Holtzmann, with her one-liners and unending supply of newly constructed gadgets for the crew to play with. Leslie Jones (Patty Tolan) is a less to the fore than the others but still brings an energy to the film when she is central that is needed. The whole team do a good job of filling the roles, allowing some identification to the previous films.
The inclusion of Chris Hemsworth as the unfailingly useless Kevin the receptionist provides most of the slapstick humour and he plays the role well, a nice aside from the superhero fare.
A decent premise of a rogue loner (Rowan) planting strange devices around the city to call forth spirits from the other side as part of a bigger plan to bring about the Fourth Cataclism (whatever that is), brings the scientists together, with Jones’s subway worker joining once they are called to deal with a ghost in the subway. The progression from newbie ghost hunters to full blown Ghostbusters ensues, with a good amount of laughs along the way. The effects in the film are of a high standard and are as believable as film spectres can be. The tech creations of Holtzmann are interesting and provide a nice twist on how a ghost can be “busted”. As usual there is a climax to the film, a nod to the hallowed original with its supersized threat, but that seemed to be over before it really began left it feeling a little light at the end.
I found this film to have a much greater amount of laugh out loud moments than the originals, which weren’t really straight out comedies in my eyes. What made it even more appealing and original in my opinion was that a lot of the humour came from female observational comedy, something that you don’t hear a lot of in mainstream cinema these days which adds to it’s value.
The ability to be self referential, knowing the amount of over the top crap that they were getting and to be able to put that into the film (“ain’t no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts”) was a nice touch.
The cameo appearances by most of the original actors were, again, nice little nods to the past. Bill Murray as the Spook Nay-sayer, Dan Ackroyd as the cynical taxi driver, Harold Ramis as a bust statue outside Dr Gilbert’s office, Ernie Hudson as Patty’s uncle, Annie Potts (Janine) as the hotel desk clerk and Sigourney Weaver as Holtzmann’s mentor. Unfortunately the somewhat forced introduction of Slimer and his role was a bit weak in my mind however, the Stay Puft Marshmallow man scene was done well and brought a chuckle as he almost managed to do what he failed to do so many years ago!
Being able to provide decent laughs, a good amount of CGI-ghost-hunting action and still be respectful of the original is a challenge but I believe that this film does manage that. As far as reboot and sequels go I think that the film industry could do a lot less of them as they tend to bring forward situations like this; Die hard fans hating the idea before it has even been started, diminishing returns as each subsequent film gets less and less impressive. Having said that, this is a really good, easy going, funny film that did have a different feel to the original. I would definitely watch it again and it is refreshing to see so many woman front and centre in a major film.