by Elizabeth Stoddard
There is a load of undeserved pressure on the new Ghostbusters, given the sexist attacks on this reboot starring women. The self-aware script even points fun at its own controversy, in a way. I can’t speak to this new take on the series ruining my childhood, since as a kid, I found the original comedy disturbing enough (although it did start my young crush on Harold Ramis).
This is all to say: 2016’s Ghostbusters isn’t a perfect film, and it shouldn’t have to be. It is an imperfect comedy which would be improved with a bit more character depth. Nevertheless, it’s a most enjoyable 2 hours to spend in a (hopefully) chilly air-conditioned theatre. And here are some of the factors that make it so:
5) You could bring your young ghostbuster to Ghostbusters. While it’s not quite scary enough to haunt you — I never had to block my eyes, and I’m a wimp — it’s spooky enough to heighten your pulse a tad. There are a few things that can probably be explained to your kid later, but the language is fairly tame (for a Feig film!) and the situation/plot is easy to follow.
4) Callbacks to the original don’t overwhelm the action. The Ray Parker Jr song plays over the title card, and most of the cast from the 1984 hit make an appearance… there’s even a blink-or-you-miss-it bust of Ramis. These don’t detract from the new story about these lady ghost fighters, just add a nice extra touch.
3) The Visual Effects are outstanding. The effects team did an impressive job throughout, giving form to multiple apparitions that occur, as well as the zany tech used by the protagonists.
2) Silliness and puns abound. If you have a silly sense of humor, then you won’t be disappointed with this script, co-written by Feig and Katie Dippold. It’s not on a quotable level with Spy (what is, really), but it is often hilarious. I laughed the hardest at a pun about a certain ’80s musical group and a joke involving Ed Begley, Jr, if this gives you any idea of what to expect. Chris Hemsworth’s dumb assistant act is also a high laugh-generator.
1) Kate McKinnon!! Her role as bespectacled inventor Jillian Holtzmann is star-making. The Emmy-nominated comic actress speaks volumes with a quick eye movement or facial tic. And the strange, enchanting pattern of her speech in the film! If the goal of Ghostbusters is to leave the viewer with a slight crush on McKinnon, then SUCCESS. Leslie Jones and the rest of the lead cast are also great, but McKinnon steals the show.