“Ghostbusters” Is Not A Reboot, Remake, Or Sequel; It’s In A Class Of It’s Own

By Scott Kurland
Film: Ghostbusters
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Neil Casey, Chris Hemsworth, Cecily Strong, and Andy Garcia
Rated: PG-13
Director Paul Feig

I’m a die hard “Ghostbusters (1984)” fan; so much so in fact that I had two back-to-back “Ghostbusters” themed birthday parties. It would have been three, but “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” took over. I’ve gone on record several times to say that “Ghostbusters (1984)” is the greatest comedy of all time. I’ve worn through my VHS tape and had the entire play set. I can quote it on demand: “Gozer the Gozerian? Good Evening…. ,” “I collect spores, molds, and funguses,” “There is no Dana, only Zuul”. As you can probably tell, I’m obsessed. Its because of this obsession that I was excited about an all-female “Ghostbusters”. I've all but disregarded the harsh judgment that this new film has garnered; especially since it has a stellar cast under the direction of Paul Feig. This week’s film is, indeed, “Ghostbusters (2016).” Let’s find out if it’s any good shall we?

“Ghostbusters” takes place in a mutli-verse where the events of the original film’s never took place. A duo of paranormal physicists by the names of Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) have long believed in the strange occurrences of the occult but, alas, they have drifted apart. After years of not talking, Erin and Abby reconnect when a ghosts are sighted in various sections of New York. Aided by Abby’s new partner and engineer Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and a street-wise subway worker (Leslie Jones), they form “Ghostbusters”. Together they need to figure out what that "something strange in the neighborhood" is; all while dealing with their dim-but-good-looking secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth). Will these ladies succeed? If not, who we gonna call?

First off, don’t go into this film thinking it’s going to be like the original. It’s not, and it shouldn’t be. This film is in a class of its own. Paul Feig is able to accurately reimagine a multi-verse where Venkmen, Stantz, Spengler, and Zedmore never existed. With that said, we see versions of them in cameo form starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts. The greatest cameo is Sigourney Weaver as, well, you should see it to believe it. Feig and Katie Dippold wrote a very ingenious script. It starts off like “Bridesmaids” and ends as “Ghostbusters” so, if that’s my only compliant, this is a great homage. 

This “Ghosbusters” is the second best “Ghostbusters” film in my opinion. The second one from the original series has two strikes against it as it involves lot of slime and a lot of Pete MacNicol. Both are inexcusable, and make that the lesser film. What really impressed me was how much actual battling there is with our four leads and all these wayward spirits. The last 45 minutes of the film is all action blended with great comedy. Kate McKinnon’s fight scene gave me chills.  Honestly, McKinnon was my favorite thing about this movie, not just because her character is the Egon of the group (note: Egon Spengler is my favorite character of all time. R.I.P Harold Ramis), but its because she’s just a hoot. McKinnon has the best lines, the best timing, and it’s just a fantastic breakthrough performance. I’ve worshipped her since SNL and I will now see every film she makes because she is a wonderful comedic actress.

As for Leslie Jones, Wiig, and McCarthy they fill their roles well. Jones is the second best thing in this movie. This is not to say Wiig and McCarthy are terrible. However, as the leads, they have to play both the Murray and Aykroyd roles equally which leads to a lot more exposition rather than comedy. It’s Jones and her larger-than-life personality that really rounds out the cast. Jones’ Patty is not a scientist, but she’s smart and well-read. She’s also the mindset of the audience who gets freaked out when ghosts start chasing her. Jones has paid her dues as a writer for years, and this role is well-deserved. As for Wiig and McCarthy, these two make a great team because you can tell they love each other and that’s what leads to great teamwork. If you’re going to create an all-female “Ghostbusters,” these are the women you want front and center….especially McKinnon.

The stuff that didn’t work for me is so minuscule that I can’t even remember it.  Yes, it takes a while to get to the action, but its worth the wait. Also, Neil Casey as the main villain (another example of an SNL writer-turned-actor) is a constant source of entertainment. His performance is that of  a creepy villain that’s incredibly intelligent; something we had in the first film with Walter Peck and lost in the second. You know what.... let’s not talk about the second film…we’re all better for letting it go. As for Hemsworth, getting Thor to play a dumb, male bimbo was genius and having Wiig be obsessed with touching him is even better comedy.

The true audience for “Ghostbusters (2016)” is not adult men or young boys. They’ll see it I’m sure, but we already have our own “Ghostbusters (1984)”. This is a great film for young women and little girls. It’s time to empower women. We did it last year with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and we’re doing it again with this film. These four women are smart, intelligent ladies who fight evil and save the day. For an 8-year old girl that’s really important because it shows them they can be whatever they want when they grow up.

“Ghostbusters” is a great action-comedy. I still think the original is the funniest film of all time, but this is a welcomed addition to the franchise. If you have a gripe with this film because of it's all female cast, let it go. If you have issue with re-imagining “Ghostbusters,” chill. It’s time we hand this franchise over to four of the funniest ladies working today. Paul Feig being in the mix helps too because he’s the greatest comedy director working today (please don’t have me killed Judd Apatow). Do yourself a favor and see “Ghostbusters (2016)” . It’s filled with great performances, a clever story, and the ghosts are hauntingly beautiful. This is the must see comedy of the year... really well done.

scott kurlandComment