Ghostbusters (2016): Movie Review


When the inevitable “Ghostbusters” remake was announced, fans of the original cried out in anger.  How Dare You, Hollywood!!!  Admittedly, I felt the same way, though kept my opinions to myself.  No matter how this remake turned out, there was just no way it could touch the original.  Having the Ghostbusters be female this time around wasn’t even an issue for me.  Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones are some of the funniest individuals working today.  Having Paul Feig in the director’s chair was also a plus.

My feeling was, why bother?  Then I remembered that movie making is a business and “Ghostbusters” is a brand-name with a massive built-in audience.  The original can still pack a theater more than three decades later.  It only stands to reason that a brand new version with the best visual effects money can buy could do gangbusters at the box office.  The real question is, was it worth the effort?  My answer is a reluctant yes.  Although not as great as the original, it still brings enough laughs and eye candy to justify its’ existence.

This updated “Ghostbusters” is almost the exact same movie as the original, with some slight tweaks.  Erin Gilbert (Wiig) loses her job at the University and winds up working with her old partner Abby Yates (McCarthy) who studies the paranormal.  Abby works side by side with a brilliant yet unbalanced engineer named Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon).  The three are joined by former subway booth operator and New York City know-it-all Patty Tolan (Jones). Patty may not have the education the other three women possess, but she has her uncle’s hearse and the Ghostbusters need transportation.   The Ghostbusters headquarters wouldn’t be complete without a receptionist and the dumb-as-dirt Kevin (played hilariously by Chris Hemsworth) fills that void.

One of the big differences in the story between the original and the remake is that this time a person is bringing the ghosts to the living world. Rowan North (Neil Casey) has been bullied all his life and now he has the power to bring New York City to its’ knees.  The only ones who can stop him are the Ghostbuster.  Even with all the work they do, the city thinks they are frauds, thanks to the Mayor (Andy Garcia) and his assistant. The rest of the story follows the original, beat-by-beat, leading to the big battle in Times Square and a giant version of the Ghostbusters logo instead of a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Although Stay Puft does make a humorous appearance.  Speaking of appearances. With the exception of Rick Moranis, ever major cast member of the original film makes a cameo. Even the late Harold Ramis, in the form of a statue bust.

One of the biggest issues with “Ghostbusters” is that Wiig and McCarthy don’t seem to be bringing their “A” Game. For the most part they play the characters too straight and they just aren’t all that funny.  That being said, McKinnon steals every moment here.  She is comedy gold and her character is just amazingly awesome that I wish the film was built around her.  Jones also does a good job at bringing the funny.  Hemsworth as well. The actor has proven that he can definitely tackle comedy.

Die hard fans of the original film might have trouble getting past the fact that this is a remake but I feel it can stand on its’ own and if McKinnon, Hemsworth and Jones come back for the sequel, then I am hoping the new “Ghostbusters 2” can outshine the original “Ghostbusters 2”. That is much less of a challenge.

By: Marc Ferman