So it’s here. One of the most reviled films of the decade before it was even released; the Ghostbusters reboot has a tough job persuading fans of the original films and newcomers alike that it’s worth their time.
With director Paul Feig, stars like Melissa McCarthy and Chris Hemsworth and the backing of the series’ previous stars, it’s certainly got a lot going for it, but does the finished product soar or deserve all those dislikes on YouTube?
Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) are trying to prove that ghosts exist in modern society. When strange apparitions appear in Manhattan, Gilbert and Yates turn to engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) for help. Also joining the team is Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a lifelong New Yorker who knows the city inside and out. Armed with proton packs and plenty of attitude, the four women prepare for an epic battle as thousands of ghosts descend on Times Square.
To look at, Ghostbusters is absolutely stunning with breath-taking CGI coupled with sweeping shots of New York’s famous skyline. There simply hasn’t been a film so far this year that has looked this good. The ghouls are rendered with brilliant special effects that culminate at the finale for a cracking female-led battle and Slimer even makes an appearance – what more could you ask for?
This is also a witty, occasionally hilarious and on the whole reasonably funny film that utilises Paul Feig’s knack at scriptwriting and the talents of its exceptional cast very well. Melissa McCarthy’s presence proves just what a team she and Feig are, with Chris Hemsworth providing some of the film’s best one-liners.
But the true surprise is in Kate McKinnon. Her wacky, over-the-top character has been tremendously well written and is a joy to watch on screen, especially in the film’s final act. Leslie Jones and Kristen Wiig each make an impact with the former in particular being very funny indeed. The cameos are all present and correct too, with the majority of the previous film’s main cast returning in some small way.
There are a couple of flaws. When you think of Paul Feig then Bridesmaids will probably spring to mind. Then perhaps The Heat or Spy? All these films were given a 15 certification by the BBFC and they used that certificate to its full potential. Ghostbusters is given the much-maligned 12A rating meaning it’s not as immediately hilarious as those films.
That’s not to say it isn’t funny, in fact, part of the humour is derived from spotting references to its much-loved predecessors, but it doesn’t have you rolling about the aisles like Feig’s earlier works.
The story does occasionally suffer from the pressures of influence, with the original film’s footprint well and truly stamped across the running time. Nevertheless, this isn’t a real drag and the taut 116 minute running time keeps things moving along nicely with the highlights being the group’s inception and interactions.
Ghostbusters fans; you can rest easy. This isn’t meant to step on the toes of its wonderful predecessors at all. What it has achieved however is to provide its audience, new generation or old, with cracking special effects, a decent, well-written script and some dry, subtle humour. It’s one of the best films of the year so far and no publicity is bad publicity.