Review: Ghostbusters

Chances are your favourite movie has been remade by now and although it’s usually bad news, the excessive outrage surrounding 2016’s Ghostbusters was baffling.

Considering the 1984 original spawned a somewhat amusing but largely forgotten sequel. Not to mention recent, more questionable remakes such as 2014’s RoboCop and 2015’s Point Break passing by with little to no fuss. I failed to see why this reboot, in particular, touched so many nerves. While I’m as fed up with recycled franchises as the next cinemagoer, I at least understand the thought process behind this cheap cash grab. Ghostbusters is a family-friendly, recognisable property, from its logo and theme song to its lead ghost Slimer. It’s not a satirical, violent action flick that sadly doesn’t fly these days or a cult oddity that doesn’t hold any mainstream name value.

Similarly to the original, ghouls start wreaking havoc in New York and paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) team up with physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and subway worker and New York history buff Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) to form the Ghostbusters, in order to reclaim the city.

Diverging from the original, the humour is broader with an emphasis on gags and slapstick laughs and is more in line with director Paul Feig’s previous comedies Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy. While their characters are more rigidly and predictably defined (believer, cynic, quirky and down-to-earth) compared to their male counterparts, the cast does showcase their chemistry well and effectively poke fun at the colossal overreaction before the film’s release. Glimpses of Chris Hemsworth’s comedic timing can be seen in fish-out-of-water scenes within Thor. As Kevin Beckman, the Ghostbusters’ dim-witted receptionist, Hemsworth takes it up a notch or two with humorous results.

Ghostbusters suffers from too few laughs and too much CGI, however, its biggest problem is its lack of identity and the endless cameos feel heavy-handed instead of being a playful nod or wink. It will come as no surprise that 2016’s Ghostbusters, like the majority of reboots, pales in comparison to the original and fails to bring anything substantially new to the table.

Ghostbusters is an unnecessary remake, but what’s new? The bigger issue is the trend this film is going to set, with more reboots now replacing an original all-male cast with females. Audiences may want more female-led films, but this gimmick isn’t the answer.


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