By Joanna Cosgrove
No one can deny the effect Ghostbusters had on the world back in 1984, when our four main men (Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson) went ghost-hunting and, honestly, gave us one hell of a visual treat – especially as for the era, the use of SFX was top-notch and stunning to its original audience.
Since then, the franchise has grown and grown – even after the setback that was Ghostbusters II – which has extended from the big screen to the small screen in the form of two cartoon shows, The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters, and several video games.
However, 2016 brought back this frighteningly fantastic franchise in the form of a brand new movie – but hold on. The four men are not the ‘Busters we are seeing; instead, we are granted a shake-up in the form of an all-female hunting team.
This reboot centres around four new characters: former professor Dr Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), her old friend Dr Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Yates’ engineering colleague Dr Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and street-wise MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones).
As Yates and Holtzmann study the science behind the paranormal, Gilbert – once the study partner of Yates – had tried to change her beliefs and denied any such existence of ghosts until suspicions drove her and the other two women to start investigating. After once more embracing her beliefs, as she did years before, the three of them start a small business, named “The Department of the Metaphysical Examination” by Gilbert (surprisingly, no-one else uses it); to take note of all calls coming in, they hire the visually, but not intellectually, appealing Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth). As they develop their equipment, preparing to fight and capture these paranormal predators, Patty Tolan visits them to alert them of a personal encounter she had with a ghost on the job. Not long after they investigate, Tolan invites herself into the group, insisting she can bring historical knowledge of New York to the gang of scientists. She is brought in and trained, armed with some new gear, thanks to the handy tools of Holtzmann.
Without giving much away, I will say: hold whatever opinion you want about Hollywood rebooting Ghostbusters, especially with an all-female team instead of all-male, but I have to be honest. There could not have been a more comedic, visually stunning, respectful reboot of the film franchise than this movie.
Important notes include the natural chemistry between Gilbert and Yates; which only comes from experience of actors working tremendously well together, which we all know Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig have (Bridesmaids) and continue to show throughout the movie.
Special praise is also deserving to Leslie Jones, who has shown how unique and hilarious a comedienne she truly is. Starting from SNL, Jones has proven she has humour worthy of the big screen, especially in a picture as highly anticipated as Ghostbusters.
In all honesty, all four women made this movie a masterpiece, a phenomenon. If it wasn’t for this exact combination, I do not believe the movie would have worked so well. These women just have this connection onscreen that define ‘teamwork’ – and if Ghostbusters works perfectly with anything, it’s teamwork.
And lastly, let’s not forget: you cannot have a reboot without a few actor-shaped Easter eggs. Aykroyd, Murray and Hudson all have their own fun cameos, as well as another familiar face in the form of Sigourney Weaver. These wonderful personalities bring gasps and grins among the audience who recognise and understand their appearances – me among them – and it just added to the indescribable sensation every viewer got from watching the movie.
I dare all men who cry and moan about “the feminists” remaking Ghostbusters, saying it’s been “ruined” by a “men-hating” group of actors, to see it. Open your eyes and ears to the heart-stopping experience. I do not expect you all to say it’s better – even I have to say it isn’t better than the 1984 original – but it’s faithful and respectful, and is on par with the original (as agreed among myself and my two best friends).
Prepare. View. Enjoy. And remember: we ain’t afraid of no ghosts… But the SFX came close.