‘Ghostbusters’ – Film Review

Does the remake top the '80s classic? Not quite, but it's a damn fine effort

Though the internet often whinges when a beloved movie franchise gets a reboot, most of us hope the new version will “do justice” to the original. But somehow, Ghostbusters 2.0 has managed to offend people before they’ve seen it. Some fans of the classic ’80s action-comedies are so incensed by this reimagining (which boasts co-creator Dan Aykroyd as an executive producer) that they’ve made its trailer the most disliked in YouTube’s history.

Smartly, director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) and his co-writer Katie Dippold (Parks And Recreation) play this outrage for laughs. In an early scene, we see the new, all-female Ghostbusters crew checking the comments on a YouTube video of their first spooky encounter. One reads, “Ain’t no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts!,” a not so thinly-veiled reference to the sexism that seems to be fuelling some disapproval.

The haters will be dismayed, though, because the only terrible thing about 2016’s Ghostbusters is the way Fall Out Boy have mauled Ray Parker Jr’s theme song. Feig introduces the new crew smoothly as high-flying scientist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) tracks down her somewhat sketchy old friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and gets sucked into the makeshift supernatural investigation unit she’s formed with ingenious nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon). The four-piece is completed when smart-talking subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones, another SNL favourite) brings them a case and makes herself indispensable.

Though A-listers McCarthy and Wiig are typically brilliant, Feig delivers a true ensemble piece that allows each actress to shine. McKinnon’s Holtzmann steals scenes with her madcap swagger; Jones gets many of the best lines. “Is this a black thing or a lady thing?” she deadpans when a rock concert crowd drops her as she crowd-surfs. Thor’s Chris Hemsworth also gets to flex his comedic muscles as the crew’s hilariously dim receptionist.

Feig’s film isn’t perfect: the action sequences could be slicker and some of the cameos from original ‘80s Ghostbusters stars aren’t as sharp as they should be. But if you like slightly silly, gag-packed movies starring talented comic actors at the top of their games, this is a real treat.