Ghostbusters (2016) ★★★★☆

Charge the lines, create the vortex, break the barriers. 

Directed by Paul Feig, a revival from the 1984 classic has landed on the silver screen. It centrals on a villain obsessed with desiring for the apocalypse constructs a device that increases paranormal activity in hope of designing an opening between our world and the ghost dimension. In the meantime, three scientists, Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Jillian (Kate McKinnon) and Erin (Kristen Wiig) are attempting to prove the existence of ghosts by developing new equipment that can suck ghosts in and trap them. A subway employee (Leslie Jones) joins their team of Ghostbusters, as she is familiar with New York like the back of her hand.

The new female Ghostbusters remake has triggered a number of pop-culture wars, before and after its release date. Perhaps it’s the most controversial film of 2016, or even of the decade. There simply wasn’t a single social media platform that was without heightened discussion on the subject. If you were interested in the film, you were seen as a feisty feminist, and if you despised the thought of it, you were labelled a mean misogynist. If you genuinely despise it, fine, but this flick is in no way, shape, or form deserving of the outrageous hatred it has received online. Had the remake have consisted of an all-male heterosexual cast, the issue would have been apparent, and the film would have undoubtedly flopped. But the concept here is fresh and fun. The initial spark of controversy was the trailer itself, claimed to be the ‘Worst reviewed trailer in YouTube history’. Admittedly, the trailer doesn’t climb mountains, but the producers were clever in saving their most rewarding content and were not guilty of disposing it carelessly into the trailer for all to see.

Not only does the film hold comedic values; elements of horror and action are incorporated equally as effectively. The horror scenes aren’t too intense, and therefore caters for all ages to enjoy the thrills! The humour is quite something. From the gag on Kevin’s dog “Mike Hat” to “I thought the floating hot dog implied a ghost was holding it”, Ghostbusters is filled to the brim with pun after pun. The humour might be a little too daft for some, but if dry and silly humour tickles your taste-buds, then this is right up your alley. The theme tune creeps its wonderful way into several scenes, and never fails to put a smile on your face when you hear it.

The cast’s chemistry is undoubtedly the most effective element. Surprisingly, McCarthy and Wiig weren’t personal favourites, but nonetheless convey exceptionally humourous character roles. Leslie Jones proves to be a bounce of energy as her sass coincides nicely with the other characters’ traits. Kate McKinnon is the real gem here. In fact, the film wouldn’t be quite the same without her spicing each and every scene up. She is most certainly in her element here, and isn’t afraid to show it, by amping up her performance and comedic timing to a whole new level of humour. And Chris Hemsworth finally gets to demonstrate his diversity as an actor by taking on the role of Kevin, the shockingly stupid secretary. Each of the characters hold a lovability that is rare in remakes, making this one prevail among the rest. The Villain however, played by Neil Casey, is all too conventional and screams “Hollywood blockbuster” from start to finish. The guy who had been bullied his whole life decides to become the bully…sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? But the actor still plays his part to a satisfactory level; though nothing quite as ‘special’ lies on his behalf. Relatively ‘Hitchcockian’ cameos are made by the majority of the original cast members, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson. Each one of these cameos are subtly effective and not too intrusive. And for a little more nostalgia, the famous firehouse is back!

If you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, then Ghostbusters serves as an incredibly fitting summer flick, and will have you grinning from start to finish. Indeed, it’s not ‘perfect’, but it’s the best remake that has dived out of Hollywood’s mixed output in recent years. This only emphasises how unreliable internet film ratings are, particularly IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. IMDB’s rating of 4.1 out of 10, of 12,921 reviewers was made before the film was even released in cinemas. But sadly, all of these people had already made their judgement. Audiences tend to put far too much faith in numbers that are calculated on assumption. You can only take from this, that it’s best not to judge the pre-release panic-fest. Go and catch this ghost for yourself, it will be a pleasant surprise.

Side note: (I don’t like to write my reviews in first person, but those of you who are regular readers will know that I am not ‘big’ on remakes. This one however, was a genuine delight. In fact, I haven’t laughed this much in the cinema in months (and that’s coming from the person who doesn’t like remakes…), if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.)

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45 thoughts on “Ghostbusters (2016) ★★★★☆

  1. I agree that the villain’s motivation was uninspired. He was bullied? Really? I’m glad you liked the performances and the cameos. I think Hudson and Potts were the most subtle cameos. I do feel like Murray’s was a bit intrusive, and Weaver’s just felt weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely. That aspect didn’t quite have me convinced. Thankfully, he had much less screen-time than the Ghostbusters! Yes, I understand regarding Murray – also found it wasn’t particularly ‘special’ unlike the subtlety presented with the rest of the cameos, making them all the more exciting to spot! Thanks for commenting.

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  2. Great review! I agree with all of your points. And yes, Kate McKinnon was the star that shined the brightest in the movie. Belly laughs all around that I haven’t had in a long time. Probably not since, Spy, last summer.

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  3. I agree with your review that it is worth watching in the cinema, but I still have my issues with it. I thought Melissa McCarthy’s role could have been a lot funnier. She is normally so much wittier than she is in this role. I did like the Mike’s Hat joke, that was a new one, but his stupidity as the dumb blonde was over the top and unbelievable. I realise it’s extremely difficult to make new jokes in movies nowadays. That’s what I liked so much about Central Intelligence, that movie had me laughing from beginning to end. Not this one.
    My biggest issue, however, was the flow of the movie. I felt taken out of scenes several times when I was wondering where we were all of a sudden (the alleyway) and why things were not like the scene before (when the backpacks were smashed by ghost-possessed Ally and they were all in working order in the next scene). That just throws me. And pricking a ghost with a knife to get rid of it? Come on!
    I know it’s a fun movie and far from real, but it still has to have a certain amount of believability and they dipped below the threshold too many times for me. I still stick to my 7/10, which isn’t a bad score :).

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    • Thanks for taking the time to comment! Yes, I can imagine that Hemsworth’s character could be overbearing to some. I also agree with regards to McCarthy – she was hilarious in Spy, but here I found her to be the ‘least’ funniest if I had to order the female Ghostbusters for comedic timing.
      Interesting to hear your views on the timing/flow of the film. I’d say the only issue with that was the fact that McKinnon’s character had created 126263627 new devices in the space of the film, yet how did she have the time to make them with everything that was going on? That caught me, but didn’t bother me too much. Glad you gave it a 7 though, that’s pretty high! Hope you enjoyed it nevertheless. Thanks again for commenting!

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  4. Good solid defense of the film. I wish I had a better experience with it. Interesting take on McCarthy. I really don’t care for her brand of humor but I thought she was pretty good here. I like that she dialed it back a tad. For me Wiig was the real treat. But regardless of how the ladies try, the script is what I feel ultimately let them and the film down. But it has certainly been a fun one to talk about.

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    • It’s a shame that it wasn’t your cup of tea, but great that you can discuss it! I agree, McKinnon and Wiig were my personal favourites here. While Jones and McCarthy did well, they didn’t reach the level of comedy that the other two did. I found the script was much funnier than I could have imagined and was glad that a lot of the jokes didn’t fall flat, like in most comedies nowadays. And thank you!

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  5. I appreciate your take on the film, and I suppose I do understand why some might find this film a great viewing experience but it just missed the mark for me on the whole. And like I said, it had its moments but just not enough to keep me in the film. On that note, great review! I enjoyed your take on it.

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  6. This review is spot on! I agree with not really being big on remakes but this one stood out and was like summer time in that it was fresh and exciting. Thanks for reading my blog and will defiantly be reading yours from now on

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  7. I loved reading this! Very well said. I agree with you completely – this film isn’t deserving of its online hatred. Even though I didn’t love this film, I have high hopes that the sequel will be better.

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  8. Great review, I agree with a lot of it although I didn’t quite love it as much as you. My biggest different would probably be Kate McKinnon though. I thought she was way too over the top in this and it prevented her from being a genuine character to me. Still, she made me laugh like everyone in the film did.

    I thought this worked as a standalone movie because it was just a Paul Feig comedy with ghosts. Thought it was totally different to the original in terms of tone and I liked that. You just listing a couple of the Kevin gags made me laugh so much as well so thanks! Hemsworth was so great in this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! Oooh interesting! Personally, I thought her character was a revelation. Not only did she have a natural tang of humour, she represents a minority group of women who (like myself) aren’t your typical ‘girly girl’ and adopt a wonderfully weird sense of humour that is different from the rest. The type that aren’t concerned 24/7 on whether their lipstick is perfect, and caring what people think. McKinnon represented the not-so common ‘type’ of women, if you could even call it that. I probably haven’t explained this well enough, but I hope you get where I’m coming from? Out of the many films I have watched, I have never come across a female character as relatable as hers, and I truly felt I could identify with it.

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      • You know what, that is actually making me rethink my opinion on her character. I thought she just felt like she was in a different movie but that’s really cool you related to her so much. This movie really does seem to be about providing relatable characters for underrepresented people which is so great. Outside of this movie I am a big McKinnon fan thankfully and I really would like to see more of her in films. She really feels like the new Jim Carrey which is a style of comedian I do think we need back!

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      • That’s really great to hear that what I said has made an impact on your opinion! Yes, ‘underrepresented’ is the perfect word for what I meant! I agree with you – hopefully she’ll make a breakthrough in comedy. We definitely need someone like her in the industry. And thanks for taking the time to comment/reply! I appreciate it.

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  9. I agree, this is one of the best remakes/reboots in a long time. It captures the spirit of the original but updates it effectively. McKinnon was also the best thing in it.

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  10. I appreciate your reminder that Ghostbusters (rebooted) has a horror element to it, however mild, and however much it is lost in the effort to produce comedy. The original Ghostbusters had far less horror, and it would be interesting to compare and contrast them on that basis.

    As for the comedy level, Ghostbusters did not leave me with more than a few chuckles. The actors may be the public face of this, but the writers shoulder some of the blame. They failed to deploy talents that many of my friends assure me are present McCarthy, McKinnon, and Wiig. Another commenter pointed out the disjointed feel from some of the scene changes. I have to agree that I was left wondering what was the point of certain transitions and even entire scenes.

    Holtzmann. I really wanted to like this character, but the engineer in me, that’s my day job, 😉 couldn’t get past all the tropes and stereotypes laid upon her character.

    Your review was refreshing for it’s absence of protracted socio-political discussion regarding the composition of the cast. Thanks for treating Ghostbusters as a movie, and not as another skirmish in the pop culture battles of our day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Only a few chuckles? Oh no! I was crying with laughter through the majority of the run-time and couldn’t contain my grin. Very true though, it would be interesting to compare the two with those aspects. The transition point, once again, is very accurate. I agree with you on that, at times it did jump from one moment to another, a little to quickly.
      And thank you! Of course, film is very important. No worries at all.

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  11. Great review! I agree with you when you said that they filmmakers left the best and funniest bits out of the trailers – it’s definitely an unusual thing with comedy films where normally you’ve seen all the best jokes before you’re in the cinema. I definitely had a lot of fun with Ghostbusters and wouldn’t mind going to see it in the cinema again 🙂

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    • Thank You! Yes, definitely – they did well with the trailer, as so many films dispose all their ‘best bits’ away into the trailers nowadays! Exactly!! Me too – It’s one of those films I can’t wait to watch again and again, a real ‘feel good’ flick! Thanks for reading, will check out your blog! 🙂

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  12. Personally I’m a sucker for nostalgia-driven remakes, and I totally agree with you! From the acting to the writing, this is definitely one of the better (if not the best) remake done so far. Kate McKinnon was also the highlight of the film for me.

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