Despite what many readers might think, I do enjoy being proved wrong every once in awhile. When the news of an all-female Ghostbusters reboot hit the press, I was one of the many pre-existing fans who instantly debunked the idea as unnecessary and disrespecting of the source material. Call me sexist and bigoted if you will, but that was my opinion at the time. Having sat through Paul Feig’s reboot, I think it’s safe to say that the misogyny and cynicism has been rendered utterly moot, as the film itself is absolute gold.
Ghostbusters has been rebooted in the best possible way: using the core concept as a springboard for a whole new story and set of characters, rather than simply painting over the same patterns laid down in the original. Venkman, Stanz, Spengler and the other bloke (First person to correct me gets a shoutout in the next article) are removed from the billing, and instead replaced with female scientists of a somewhat similar personality type, filling the roles of sarcastic one, nerdy one, professional one and ethnic one respectively. Obviously this isn’t a racial bias, but sadly the change in gender hasn’t avoided stereotyping, as the incredulous and disbelieving black man is replaced by the sassy and over-bejewelled black woman, who stops just short of ‘Aw Hell Naw’ with 90% of her dialogue. This is a small criticism however, as the character did make me laugh, and has enough unique personality of her own to be much more than a cheap racial gag. In fact, all the characters are very well crafted, with Chris Hemsworth’s moronic receptionist often stealing the show, and the writing is funny enough that the film works well regardless of gender.
That being said, the film is rather cleverly packed with nudges at male incompetence, from the useless government authorities to the aforementioned beefcake receptionist. Even the final ghost villain is none-too subtly weakened by a proton blast right to the genitals. Indeed this villain cleverly takes the form of a warped and mutated version of the original franchise logo, as a way of the 2016 firmly establishing its independence from its predecessor. Yet the film does this without disrespecting the source material, and manages to remain irreverent throughout, from its use of the original iconic Ghostbusters theme to extensive cameos from the original cast-members (even Harold Ramis, don’t ask how!)
In summary, Ghostbusters is a fine reboot for the modern age. The ghost-busting itself has been taken up a notch, with the special effects allowing for some very exciting paranormal combat scenes. The humour is razor sharp but thankfully not as dry as the original, and much more evenly spread throughout the cast rather than relying on one character to carry the comedy around. With excellent casting and an absolutely dynamite script, this film has certainly breathed new life into the franchise which, if the general consensus of Ghostbusters II is to be believed, has been sitting waiting for a saviour for some time. Sony already have a sequel planned, and given the film’s success one can hardly blame them. But one question remains: if Paul Feig decides that only one film was enough…
Who they gonna call?