The original films have their place in cinematic history but the stories and themes had more to offer which Paul Feig chose to capitalise on and apart from several cameos and winks to those classics, they should be kept separate to allow you to experience this version as its own film. The four chosen Ghostbusters, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are on the scene to take on a host of paranormal activity with plenty of jokes, slime and very dangerous equipment.
First of all it can be said fairly definitively that this was the casting of a lifetime, these four women all working together is a dream and that comes across on screen in a massive way; the chemistry between all of them and the team dynamic is extremely strong. They all stand out in their own way but as Wiig and McCarthy have been more present on the big screen their acting and humour feels much more familiar, even when in a different setting, whereas (relative) newbies McKinnon and Jones are a revelation to comedy, taking their talents from the small screen on Saturday Night Live to kicking arse on the big screen (though both have appeared in films before on a smaller scale) should have happened sooner; but appreciation goes to Feig for finally giving them more of a platform for them to show just how funny they really are. Jones holds a huge amount of the comedy for the film and does it perfectly and McKinnon may not have been your action heroine before but one particular, brilliant scene in the film will change that. There had been a little bit of backlash towards the representation of Jones’ character but when you see the film you realise that Patty is clever and brave, she is not a simple stereotype and has much more to offer than what’s seen in the trailer. Then there’s the male section of the film, held extremely well by Chris Hemsworth, he may be known for action and heroism as Thor but the man has a serious funny bone, the comedic timing and deliverance of his lines is dead on and an absolute joy to watch, you can only hope that you’ll see more of it in the future.
The film succeeds in the fact that it acknowledges the tone of the original films and brings it into a modern context, the fact that it is lead by women does not change the tone or the humour in any noticeable way, other than physically being able to see that they are in fact women. Every single one of the jokes does not land perfectly well but there is so much comedy packed into it, that it has no negative affect and the majority of which that do land are great and constant, stopping the film from at any point having a lull in enjoyment. The film does have its issues, the progression of the film doesn’t always feel smooth and that it is partly juddering from moment to moment, and it is a real struggle to create a climax that is a surprise because of the majority of audiences familiarity with the original films. There is also a fairly constant stream of references to the originals which may divide audiences on whether it is a good or bad thing, so whether you want it or not, it is extremely present, although both Ernie Hudson’s and Sigourney Weaver’s cameos are a particular highlight (no spoiler, as their involvement was announced pre-release). There are moments in the film that almost veer towards the horror end of the spectrum but not so far as to believe that this isn’t 100% a comedy, but enough to give an increase in emphasis to the ghosts and their role to play, which prevents them from just feeling altogether ridiculous.
At its core this film is a fun experience, it’s hugely enjoyable, does not take itself too seriously, even getting a few nods in to the issues it has experienced over social media, and the comedy is undeniable because the chemistry between the principal actors is extremely strong. Ghostbusters keeps itself to a nice 116 minute running time and manages to consistently entertain throughout, even the credit sequences are entertaining and a post-credit scene to boot. There are going to be people who will not like this film, some out of spite and prejudice and some genuinely just because it was not for them and if you strongly believe you will not like it, don’t go and see it but if you have no set opinion and are open to enjoying a fun and hilarious film then get down to the cinema! (And make sure to see it in 3D).