Let’s get the important stuff out of the way. Yes, the Ghostbusters reboot features an all-female team, causing quite a few to bash the film sight unseen with claims their childhood will be ruined because it isn’t four males this time around. It’s safe to say that nobody’s childhood will be ruined by the latest Ghostbusters. It’s an enjoyable enough film that’s completely harmless, so rest assured all Ghostbusters-related childhood memories that remained in tact after Ghostbusters II was released will be fine.
The all-female team is stacked with some of the funniest names in comedy as Melissa McCarthy leads Saturday Night Live current and past co-stars Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones into action. The plot is similar to Ivan Reitman’s original Ghostbusters. A group of scientists – and one outsider – team up to fight ghosts in New York City as a paranormal apocalypse approaches. Hi-jinks and light horror ensue.
The best part about this new Ghostbusters is the cast is free to use their comedic skills however they see fit. McCarthy, Wiig and Jones are funny doing their own thing, and even Chris Hemsworth gets a lot of laughs as the girls’ dim-witted assistant, but Kate McKinnon? Wow. There’s a good argument to be made that she was on acid during production. McKinnon has a vibe all her own that’s hilarious and begs the question, “what kind of drugs is she on, because I want some.”
This Ghostbusters is technically a reboot, but it’s more Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters than anything else. Like the writer/director’s other works, the movie mixes laughs with so-so visuals and is very comparable to Spy, another the McCarthy-starrer. The movie was even written with his co-writer from The Heat, Katie Dippold. Despite Feig’s visual shortcomings, Ghostbusters is his most visually appealing film to date, sporting fantastic effects. The ghosts here look much better than any in the previous Reitman films.
Reitman’s two Ghostbusters had a very grounded feel to them, even if the original sported a giant killer marshmallow man. It helped with the horror but made the comedy a bit more subversive. Feig’s Ghostbusters is much more aloof, and when the film does its own thing, mostly works. Cameos from the original cast aren’t too detracting, since the characters flow with the narrative, but when the homage is too on the nose, like with a Slimer – and female Slimer – it’s distracting more than anything.
Ghostbusters unlike, say, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was so bad it spawned an entire South Park episode about, isn’t going to ruin anybody’s memories of the original films. The reboot is better than Ghostbusters II, which honestly has aged pretty well, but it can’t touch the original, and never really had a chance to. It’s just a fun, harmless summer comedy. No more, no less.