The movie version of ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ would be ‘Don’t judge a movie by its trailer’. Early last year it was announced that the 1984 classic, Ghostbusters, would be getting a reboot, which is not unusual in the cash-grab nature of sequels, remakes and adaptations in modern cinema. However, what differed here was the revelation that the cast comprising of Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis would be replaced by an all-female ensemble.
This was a bold move that garnered its fair share of unfair backlash, compounded with the release of the trailer, which still stands as the most ‘disliked’ trailer of all time on YouTube – and you have to wonder how many of these keyboard warriors actually went to see the movie because overall, it’s not too bad.
Two ex-best friends in Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig re-unite quickly over their differences in ghost chasing and paranormal studies after a sighting in an old mansion. When the two (plus Kate McKinnon as the wacky scientist sidekick) make contact with a real ‘class 4 transfiguration’ it is clear that they have been right all along. Knowing they will face the disbelief and vitriol of the general public and academics, they decide they must further their work and form a team, and it isn’t long before they must figure out how to stop a maniacal introvert from unleashing a weapon to open a portal to the other world, flooding New York with spooky souls.
Paul Feig is renowned for making great movies with great women in leading roles, most notably his work with Melissa McCarthy on Spy in 2015, and of course Bridesmaids, so a certain calibre of quality is to be expected and it feels like on nearly all fronts they almost get there. The performances are good but just a little askew, the comedic elements were witty and punchy but timing felt off, and the plot doing its best not to be a complete copy of the original is stuck in a limbo of offering something fresh and new, but also kowtowing to fan service harking back to old gags and famous catchphrases.
There are still plenty of great moments, and definitely nails the ‘family’ market, stretching the poultry PG rating as much as it can, and the visuals are as real as you could imagine. Chris Hemsworth as the ditzy receptionist is a highlight, as well as a few clever cameos. The four leading ladies have great chemistry but their typecasts are way too exaggerated, and certain plot beats were skimmed over so quickly that it reeks of studio re-edits.
All encompassing however, it is fun, funny and certainly not the worst reboot that has graced our screens in the last ten years. Hopefully it’ll open the door to a new generation of Ghostbusters lovers, while still ticking the nostalgia box for old fans, which depending on their level of fandom will either hate or love this. Best to check it out for yourself rather than follow internet bandwagons.