Posted by Paul Donovan @paul_donovan
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at https:[email protected]_donovan
Paul Donovan

There has been a lot of controversy about the 2016 reboot of the classic supernatural comedy Ghostbusters. Many people thought the original was perfectly fine and didn't need a remake. There was also a heated controversy when people got upset that the new ghostbusters were women.

All the worry is pointless, if you ask me. The new ghostbusters are women because this movie is not really a remake. Yes, the movie takes it's main story points from the 1984 classic. There are a lot of little winks at the original (such as when the ladies search for their headquarters and find an old fire station, but they can't afford it). There are also quite a few cameos by the actors from the original. But you know from the very opening scene that this is a different movie.

This movie is not trying to compete with the original movie or erase it. It wants to be the other bookend. And I think it succeeds. Let me explain why.

Directing Styles

It was directed by Paul Feig, who is known mostly for directing movies like Bridesmaids and Heat. But not as many people know that he created the cult classic TV show Freaks and Geeks in 1999. The rebooted Ghostbusters has a totally different vibe than the original, directed by Ivan Reitman, who made movies like Meatballs and Kindergarten Cop.

Paul Feig, 'Ghostbusters' [2016]
Paul Feig, 'Ghostbusters' [2016]

The Story

You won't find Zuul and Gozer anywhere (well, at least not until after all the credits are done). There is no Keymaster, no Gatekeeper. The main plot is about two scientists, Erin and Abby, who wrote a book about ghosts and are now fighting about whether to keep it in print because it was a flop and makes the women look like fools. The plot thickens when a man finds them and asks them to investigate paranormal disturbances at a museum where he works. The women find a ghost there and decide to start up a ghostbusting business. Meanwhile, a bitter, bullied man has found a way to open up a supernatural vortex that will bring the end of the world.

Unpopular Opinion: I like the new battle of New York better than the original. It's a nice reference to the first one, but is more kick-ass.

The Humor

The movie is a mix of smart jokes, stupid jokes, and jokes that make you tilt your head sideways and squint your eyes because you just don't get where it came from. There are also sly jokes that make fun of themselves and acknowledge the controversy, such as when Abby reads an internet comment of somebody saying "Ain't no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts.”

The Gender Thing

Speaking of women ghostbusters, the movie establishes itself as a clever reverse-gender version of these types of films. In this movie, the heroes are all strong, intelligent women — three scientists and a walking encyclopedia of New York. Chris Hemsworth is goofy and fun as Kevin, the male version of the gorgeous (but dumb) secretary who was hired specifically for being attractive (and I don't think there is a secretary in all of movie history that is dumber than Kevin).

Chris Hemsworth, 'Ghostbusters' [2016]
Chris Hemsworth, 'Ghostbusters' [2016]

So sure. This movie is goofy and unrealistic. There are no iconic performances like the original four dudes. It won't win any awards. The special effects seem to be deliberately made to reflect the ones from three decades ago. But the movie is funny, creative, and good-natured. Everybody in the movie looks like they're having a good time, and that rubs off on the audience, as well. It's great escapism for those times when you need to get your mind off of life and go laugh at something.

Here is the official trailer No. 2:

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