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Ghostbusters – Movie Review

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Ghostbusters – Movie Review

Rating: B+ (Very Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Sony Pictures

The Ghostbusters concept is such a brilliant one, it’s almost surprising there hasn’t been a new film in the franchise since 1989. In tackling this reboot, director/co-writer Paul Feig understands the appeal of what Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd created over thirty years ago. He does a more than suitable job of making a film for a new generation, while also pleasing most fans of the original. When Ray Parker, Jr.’s classic theme song plays at the beginning, it’s difficult not to smile. That smile stayed on my face through the entire runtime. This new team of Ghostbusters is worthy of the name and that infectiously catchy tune.

Feig has assembled a talented group of comedians to don the proton packs and all of them work marvelously together. Kristen Wiig’s Erin Gilbert is given the most development as she goes from paranormal believer to skeptic to legit Ghostbuster and her back story adds a touching element to her motivation. Wiig’s delivery is on-point and she nails every piece of dialogue from small asides to the more broad humour. Melissa McCarthy takes a break from the usual loud, outspoken character she has played in previous Feig outings and more than handles the job of straight woman. Leslie Jones takes a character that easily could have been stereotypical and brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to Patty, creating a lovable Ghostbuster in the process. The MVP of the quartet ends up being Kate McKinnon, who goes all out. Jillian Holtzmann is on the kooky side and she makes it work. There are times when she is merely in the background and yet still produces laughs.

Paul Feig and his co-writer Katie Dippold fill the screen with all sorts of creative ghosts. There’s the classic favourite Slimer, but the new batch are inventive and original, complete with back-stories. The ghosts are not merely sprinkled in, because the title demands it, but tie in nicely with the plot and the character progressions. The usage of the iconic Ghostbusters logo as a Godzilla-like beast is built up in a way that’s both funny and smart. The principal villain works as a legitimate threat as part of the storyline involves figuring out his motive and agenda. That mystery element becomes another great spin on the Ghostbusters concept. Cameos from the original cast members are utilised in a way that never feels obtrusive or winking towards the camera. The little nods to the original 1984 film does create some confusion and might necessitate the coining of a new film terminology. This is, in many ways, a reboot of Ghostbusters, but reboots normally don’t include references and cast members from earlier incarnations.

One consistency with Paul Feig’s work is his films tend to run a tad too long. Ghostbusters is a little under two hours and heading into the third act, one does start to feel the length a bit. Thankfully, the pacing picks up for the big climax and Feig pulls out all of the stops for a triumphant action scene. The proton packs are utilised perfectly, but the new gadgets constructed by Holtzmann are wonderful new additions to the Ghostbusters arsenal of ghost-catching machinery. If there are less successful jokes, they come from the more off-colour humour. There’s an unnecessary flatulence joke and a bit involving a college administrator flipping the Ghostbusters the bird never lands, but seems intent on overstaying its welcome. However, when most of the humour does work, these are minor quibbles.

Ghostbusters has a lot to live up to, thanks to the iconic status of Reitman’s original film. However, Feig more than answers the call, to quote the oddly placed tagline at the end of the film. It’s a spirited and lively affair led by four talented comedians. From the first time we see the four of them wear the uniforms, we know we’re looking at real Ghostbusters. It’s clear the amount of passion the filmmakers put into continuing the legacy of this franchise and making a worthy chapter. During the end credits, a tribute to Harold Ramis is included. It’s nice to know that the film series he helped launch is in good hands and one can imagine him smiling down at the creative team behind this movie.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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