I understand that many people hold the original 1984 Ghostbusters dear to their hearts, but I was one generation too late for that one. Of course I enjoy the film and struggle to see who wouldn’t, but it’s not a childhood treasure of mine and therefore I’m not as protective as so many people appear to be. Toys have been thrown out of the pram over the past year or so on the behalf of this female-led remake and I felt fortunate to be able to watch this one without riding the see-saw between disappointment and expectation. If fans were able to attend this without their judgement being clouded with nostalgia, I can’t see how they would’ve been let down.
The team of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones make up the new quartet sent out to fight both the ghosts and haters. Paul Feig as director is accustom to the comedic needs of a film like this, but dealing with a PG-13 rating required a little more subtlety compared to his usually crude gags. Early on I worried some of the dialogue exchanges were missing their mark as Feig tiptoed around more bawdy material. However, I began to warm to it after a while. The same went for the characters, who early on seemed to show off their quirks a little too much but as the film went on they mingled and merged as a group with impressive ease. McCarthy and Wiig were decent and essential for plot, but the duo of McKinnon and Jones brought the laughs constantly. McKinnon especially was an amazing standout, who’s unusual eccentricity and peculiar mannerisms made way for a special character that could be a cult favourite. Moments towards the end in which she fends off ghosts single-handedly with an insane amount of nonchalance paints a stand out scene, especially when it takes place in an amazingly colourful set piece played out brilliantly on the streets of New York.
The male twist on the secretary role that provided the chiseled Chris Hemsworth a job was also a good choice. Some of his deadpan humour absolutely floored me, and despite his ridiculousness he had a lovable quality, like a daft Labrador who’s support from the Ghostbusters made him all the more endearing. Specific props go to the joke about having a pet dog called “Mike Hat” that was so terribly hilarious I couldn’t help but shake my head at how funny I found it.
Nods and in-jokes that were always going to be present however didn’t hit all the right notes for me. Maybe if I shared a greater affinity with the original they would been better received, but the only thing I missed out on was a longer play of Ray Parker Jnr’s iconic theme song. Fall Out Boy’s modern update was fine but it’s not what any of us came to hear.
If fans weren’t happy with this then they’re too precious with their memories. Even if you can’t get along with Paul Feig’s brand of Ghostbusters its perfectly understandable, but in no world does this modern update take away anything from the original. This is a return to the great family blockbuster and it takes that lesson straight from 1984.