By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review brings you one of the biggest, if not the biggest, blockbuster of the year. The Ghostbusters reboot has been highly anticipated for a couple years and now it's finally here.
The 2016 version has had a role reversal for the four protagonists compared to the 1984 hit as the quartet have had a gender swap.
A few primary characters survive from the 80s phenomenon as they make a cameo but Paul Feig is adamant to spawn new life into this franchise…
Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
You may have noticed that the backbone to the original 1984 classic is bubbling just below the surface here. Interestingly, Paul Feig (director) does try to break new ground when possible to help make this film standalone. The central core of the narrative echoes the original with the four down-on-their-luck scientists, seen as a bunch of frauds, step up to become heroes when New York City comes under attack.
As with the original, this movie would prevail with the chemistry of the four leads. The beauty in 1984 is how they all stuck together and the comedy could shine through. When assembling a team to follow in the footsteps of Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson – you need to be on top form. Fortunately, McCarthy, Wiig, McKinnon, and Jones are great together which I assume is due to their many past experiences together like previous films and Saturday Night Live.
Kate McKinnon in her role as the quirky expert Jillian Holtzmann is the standout performer for me. Whenever she is on screen, the best parts of the movie occur and I don’t think that is a coincidence. She is the most confident out of the four but also has an aura of ditziness about her. She’s an ass-kicking scientist that doesn’t care what anyone thinks or about safety laws, she’s the cool rebel everyone wants to be.
Wiig and McCarthy are veterans when it comes to comedy films so they were always going to be solid. It’s to Feig’s credit, and risk-taking ability, that he gave the better comedic role to McKinnion and it pays off dividends. Where Paul doesn’t completely pull things off is Leslie Jones’ role. It’s through no fault of her own as her character, Patty Tolan, is a subway station worker whose encounter with a spirit leads her to becoming a full-time Ghostbuster. Therefore, Jones’ character is every bit the outsider that Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddmore was in the original Ghostbusters and serves exactly the same purpose as Ernie did. She is the most relatable to the audience as the majority of us will not be scientists. Leslie is the team’s voice of common sense and rational thought amongst all the scientific talk. But by being this ‘straight guy’ to the three ‘comedy guys’, she loses out in the end.
Chris Hemsworth is impressive in his comedic role if not a little over-utilised. He adds great effect to his screen time with the other cast members, especially Kristen Wiig, but we could perhaps do with a little less of Kevin the meathead. Bill Murray’s cameo is welcomed as is the sight of the old firehouse, a lovely bit of nostalgia. Paul Feig does very well with getting a great balance between the old and the new.
The film is a little jumpy in areas but that’s not a problem, it actually adds a bit life when some scenes are too dialogue-heavy. While the film has some pretty scary spirit baddies and over the top slime scenes, the ‘action’ sequences still seems a bit flat and too reliant on CGI. Nonetheless, this new Ghostbusters lacks the element of surprise that even remakes should have; the "library moment" from the original for example is missed here. To be fair, what Feig and the team have accomplished with this 2016 reboot is deserving of a sequel. It was always going to be a difficult first movie but now the four female Ghostbusters can finally find their own way in this franchise on their own terms. Now we have got the 1984 comparisons out the way, let’s get cracking on number two… and more of McKinnon please!
Cineroom’s Rating: 2.5 Stars
Ghostbusters is currently screening worldwide in selected cinemas – certificate 12A