Monday, July 18, 2016

Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

While I’m endangering my privacy by dating myself, I remember when the first Ghostbusters movie came out and it was too scary for me to see, but by early 1990, I was brave enough to watch it and the sequel. The cartoon (The Real Ghostbusters, which I bought the box set for years ago) was well ahead of its time, paving the way, I’d argue, for shows like Batman to be both for kids and for adults. Why a third Ghostbusters movie was never made is a debate that could rage on. Sadly, Harold Ramis passed away before getting the chance to glimpse at what was being done with his beloved franchise.

I could sit here and argue the pros and cons of rebooting yet another storied Hollywood franchise (this topic will be rehashed next spring with Beauty and the Beast), but what’s the point? The movie has been made and I tried to see it as soon as it was released. Be warned, I may give some SPOILERS away, so if you don’t want to read further, know that I gave the movie 4.5 out of 5 stars on Rotten Tomatoes.

There are parallels to the original movie and yet the movie felt utterly new. The movie opens with a haunting in a museum and ends much like the opening sequence to the 1984 movie, with someone getting slimed/haunted. The movie picks up with Kristen Wiig’s Erin Gilbert is something akin to Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman. Unlike Venkman, she is about to get tenure at Columbia (I think) and someone representing the haunted house from the beginning finds her. In an effort to quiet anyone know she once investigated the paranormal, she seeks out her former best friend, Melissa McCarthy’s Abby Yates. At a younger age, the two published a paranormal book and someone had stumbled across it. Gilbert goes to Yates’ place and finds the place not nearly as impressive as she thought (not dissimilar to the university that Ray and Peter occupy in the beginning of the first Ghostbusters movie). Within the research area is Yates’ new collogue, Jillian Holtzman.

As you might expect, Gilbert gets dragged to the haunting and gets sucked back into the Ghostbusting life. I don’t want to give away too many plot points, mostly because they are really fun as you stumble across them. What proceeds is about two hours of tightly packed scenes with pretty impressive acting and special effects. Leslie Jones as Patty really stole quite a few scenes and Chris Hemsworth was quite the perfect incompetent secretary. The villain was almost a side-note, and I can’t quite come up with an argument to the derision about this point from the Entertainment Weekly review. At the same time, the Avengers movies are just as spotty. I’m still not clear what Daniel Bruhl was hoping to accomplish with such a lackluster plan in Captain America Civil War. I hardly think an entire movie should be criticized for one plot point, when most of the other ones come together (except how the group can afford to do anything if they’re not getting paid).

One of my cousins pointed out that here at OrangeyRamblings, I do tend towards giving higher marks to movies that are diverse or feature women prominently. This is no exception. I understand why a bunch of lonely white guys living in their parents’ basements might be upset to see their beloved movie turned into a woman-focused movie, but I wonder where those some detractors are when other reboots are going on and are a thousand times worse (really, do I need to list them?). This movie gave a new voice to a concept that isn’t owned by men. Were all the original movies/cartoons men focused? Yes. Does that mean that we can’t try something new? The cast was stupendous. The story kept me engaged throughout. The cameos from times past were all perfectly timed and utterly unexpected. Is this movie perfect? Of course not. Will every single thing in it be exactly what you want? Probably not. Did it entertain me and keep me guessing after the movie? Yes. Did it make me anxious for a sequel? Yes. Just go see it.


  1. Loved the cast, especially McKinnon.

    Great review.

    - Zach

    1. I still don't understand how people are so upset because it is all women? the Slimer bits were also to die for!