Well friends, the moment finally came and went last night. For the last year, I have been on the edge of my seat, trying to ignore the increasingly loud and deeply misogynistic outcry of the man babies* who claim that having four women reprise the roles of the original (male) ghostbusters has RUINED MY CHILDHOOD!!1 (because including women in things is apparently gimmicky and can never be a genuine attempt to represent half the population). But vindication is mine, because this movie was everything I hoped it would be.
For some background: the original ghostbusters was an incredibly important film to me in terms of how my love of horror was shaped. I didn’t quite understand the humor at the time and most of the movie’s jokes went completely over my head, but the meat of the plot, four dudes catching ghosts that happened to be terrifying to 6 year old me, was enough to get me hooked. I watched this movie on a loop for probably the better part of a year. Now that I have kids of my own, I’ve watched it quite a bit as an adult (they have taken after me when it comes to watching movies one million times in a row) and the humor is damn near flawless. But of course when I watch the original with the kids, the biggest feeling I get is nostalgia.
More background: I know I’ve said it before, but it bares repeating, I LOVE remakes. Love them. I know that there is a general consensus that remakes are bad and somehow harmful to their predecessors, but in my opinion good remakes can add to the originals, make them new and fresh while at the same time paying homage to what made the original great. To me, remakes are like fan fiction; the good ones are made by people who love them and want to add to their universe. To me, remakes create more content of the movies I love and I am very much on board with that. I know they’re not all gems, but if a remake is bad we can always go watch the original to reenforce our love for that particular film and forget all about the remake.
So, with all that being said, I want to talk about why I think the 2016 version Ghostbusters is one of the greatest remakes I’ve ever seen.
The banter between the characters has always been my favorite aspect of Paul Feig’s movies and this was no exception; the dialogue is witty, a little biting, sarcastic and hilarious, and perfectly timed. There’s a scene when Kristen Wiig is trying to warn the mayor about the impending doom of the city and she compares him to the mayor in Jaws. The mayor laughs at first, saying never compare him to the Jaws mayor as if in jest, then unexpectedly shouts “NEVER!” with an angry face. That line killed me, and it’s far from the only one.
The physical comedy
Mostly from Kate McKinnon, but all four leads get into the game. I am not a huge fan of watching people get slimmed, but every gag just worked for me, probably because of the impeccable timing.
The plot was rock solid and didn’t feel contrived, boring, or stupid. I also LOVED that they didn’t do a shot-for-shot remake of the original; they made a movie that winks at the original but can stand alone, plot wise.
I thought the chemistry between the the leads was impeccable, but then again I am a huge sucker for the Kristen Wiig/Melissa McCarthy team-up. Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon were also delightful to watch together. Chris Hemsworth actually has some comedic talent, as it turns out. I also LOVED that the original cast members had small roles. It gave the six year old in me the warm fuzzies.
I know some people thought the ghosts in this were too cartoonish, but I thought they looked amazing.There were also a lot more of them than in the original and they were so incredibly creative (ghosts taking the forms of giant, Macy’s day parade balloons, or possessing store mannequins). I liked that a couple of the ghosts had a little bit more detail in terms of backstory.
Is there anything I didn’t like about this movie? Honestly, no. I was impressed with the entire thing, from beginning to end. Everything in this film worked for me and it will forever hold a special place in my heart, right next to the original.
*Just for the record, I define a man baby as a person who is completely oblivious to the overt and more subtle sexism women have to face daily and because of this will complain loudly when women try to make our existence a little better. A man baby doesn’t necessarily have to be a man, but more often than not, men are usually not aware of the misogyny their female counterparts face because they don’t have to experience it first hand. But sadly, women are not immune to internalized misogyny and will sometimes say stupid shit about how casting women as ghostbusters is nothing but a cash grab.