Full disclosure: I had some apprehensions about this new Ghostbusters when it first came out in July (which is why I watched it in October). For one, the new Ghostbusters were all women! I felt that I was being pandered to in a “hey we made a movie starring all women so that you can stop noticing the sexism in Hollywood now” way. It didn’t occur to me that Paul Feig also directed Bridesmaids which is a movie I have re-watched a few times and can still laugh at. Not to mention that is also another movie with all female leads and I never felt that it was pandering. For two, sequels in general are bad and remakes are worse. It was hard to imagine this film done in a way that it could stand on its own outside of my well-preserved memories of watching and enjoying the original Ghostbusters. I heard the new “theme song” by Fall Out Boy before seeing the movie and it was so cringe-worthy I wasn’t sure I could handle listening to it during the movie. And if they used a leitmotif from the new song during ghost hunts then I was going to be constantly reminded about how much I dislike the song.
I’m not going to spoil plot points but I will spoil all the ways the 2016 film paid serious homage to the 1984 film, or at least, all the ways I noticed.
This might be my favorite movie of this year (I also really liked Hunt for the Wilderpeople). I spotted cameos from four of the original lead cast: Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Dan Akroyd, and Sigourney Weaver! I didn’t spot Rick Moranis (who is super selective/kind of retired now) I didn’t spot anything resembling Harold Ramis who passed away in 2014 but the internet says there is a bust of him in the film. The logo and the ghostbusting leitmotif that ran throughout the film looked and sounded identical to the old film. They even brought Slimer and the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man into this film! There were a few “AH! They brought back THAT guy!”
This movie cracked me up throughout. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones had great on-screen chemistry. The women had a variety of backgrounds, inspirations, and personalities and guess what? They got along and enjoyed each others’ company. How cool is that to see? No catty stereotype or trope brought about by the female characters. They’re awkward, intelligent, positive science roles models to young women. Watching Ghostbusters reminded me about a Halloween when I was much younger. Some girlfriends of mine and I made our own Ghostbusting costumes from plain jumpsuits, cardboard boxes, painter hats, and something else that I don’t recall. We painted the boxes and added a logo to it and our hats. We were an all-female Ghostbuster movie on our own! And the best part might be that we didn’t have to carry anything, we just cut a hole in the top of the box that we wore as backpacks and folks would drop candy in there for us. It was a blast. Being able
There is a negative: they do have the sexy dumb guy character played by Chris Hemsworth. It reminded me of commercials geared towards women that tend to use a dumb husband character. However, since he was the only dumb guy and the others in the film were still relatively normal roles (Mayor, University head, FBI) with no idiocy involved I’m going to let it go.
All in all as a fan of the 1984 AND 1989 Ghostbusters I was pleasantly relieved and thoroughly entertained by this version! It was the best! I’d love to see similar roles in other films: strong female characters who don’t rely on men, who work in male-dominated fields, etc. The more we see it the more normal it’ll become.