Possible spoilers ahead!
I was one of the many movie fans who avoided 2016’s “Ghostbusters” like it was carrying a plague. I didn’t have anything against the cast, they’re a talented group, but the trailers were just so damn awful, I couldn’t bring myself to buy a ticket. Then, last weekend, I couldn’t find anything else to watch, so the wifey said, “What about Ghostbusters?”
Part of me kept saying “Don’t do it,” but I figured if the movie was as bad as I was expecting, I could shut it off and go watch an episode of “The Batman” on Netflix. However, much to my surprise, “Ghostbusters” wasn’t half bad.
Don’t misunderstand me, this reboot is nowhere as good as the original movie was, but it does have several funny moments and a couple of good performances I was not expecting.
Everything begins when Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is days away from becoming a tenured professor at Columbia University. To avoid any problems, she visits her childhood friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) – to request that Abby remove the online listing for a 400-page book on paranormal science the pair co-authored years earlier while they were in school.
In exchange for removing the book from the web, Abby and her research partner, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), persuade Erin to join them for an investigation, during which the three scientists have a close encounter with an actual ghost. But when footage of the incident is posted on YouTube, Erin, Abby, and Jillian lose their jobs and are labeled as attention-seeking fakes.
Hoping to prove they are not con-artists, and that ghosts do exist, the trio rent a place above a Chinese restaurant, hire a hunky but dim-witted receptionist named Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), and develop experimental energy weapons to begin studying paranormal events around New York City.
Their first client is MTA employee and NYC history buff, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), who leads the trio to a malevolent apparition haunting the subway tracks near her subway station. Here, the group makes a terrifying discovery: in an attempt to start the apocalypse, someone is building devices to break the wall between our world and the paranormal.
The movie didn’t start well for me. I thought the 3-5 minute routine about Chinese food felt like an SNL skit, and the jokes were forced. Also, for the first 15 or so minutes, the plotting was quite muddled. But once the three women were fired from their jobs, thing picked up quickly.
I loved watching the team come together, and acquire the Ghostbusters staples like the logo, the car, and the base of operations. But my favorite aspect of this movie involved Kate McKinnon continuously creating new gear for the team. From the proton packs to proton gloves, and other gizmos you see in the film.
I know Feig’s choice of an all-female Ghostbusters team was a big problem for many fans, but I thought they all did rather well, even Kristen Wiig who I’m not a huge fan of. Melissa McCarthy showed she doesn’t need an R rating to be funny, and that she can be lovable without being crude.
The real standouts for me were Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. Both have an important role on the team, Mckinnon as the Ghostbuster’s gadget maker, and Jones is the one who knows everything about the city. Both ladies got some of the funniest and most memorable moments, and both stole the movie in opinion.
“Ghostbusters” did have a couple of things I wasn’t crazy about. For example, I’m not sure why Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth) turned out to be so stupid, and kind of useless when it was all said and done. Also, the villain played by Neil Casey was very weak, and his plan to unleash the apocalypse didn’t seem to fit in with everything else. Finally, the CGI ghosts were a little disappointing, especially because the ghosts in the original movie and in the sequel looked so good in 1980’s.
For all the hate this “Ghostbusters” got last year, I have to say writer-director Paul Feig’s reboot is a thoroughly entertaining supernatural comedy that pays homage to its roots, while also ushering in a modern direction for the Ghostbusters brand.
This felt like a good first step for the new series, and one that could actually be improved upon with the next installment, assuming there is one. And hey, if it can turn a doubter like me around, maybe it will change other minds.
“Ghostbusters” score: C+