I never got why people were so upset about this new Ghostbusters. Sure the decision to make all four new Ghostbusters female seemed gimmicky; it was one of the first things I heard about this new remake and it was clearly a marketing point. But there seem to be people actually upset about this. I would have been among them if the gender of the cast detracted from the quality of the film. It did not. Calm down everybody, they did not turn Ghostbusters into Bridesmaids.
Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
Of course that’s not to say that the entire movie wasn’t deliberately playing with gender. It definitely was. But that actually added to the best thing about Ghostbusters: the sheer enthusiasm that bubbled throughout the whole thing. Ghostbusters looked like a lot of fun to make and it certainly was a lot of fun to watch. But gender humor wasn’t the point of the film; it just led to some funny moments. The ditzy secretary and horndog scientist, say, are actually much funnier when the roles are reversed. It’s refreshing.
I hadn’t realized that Ghostbusters was a guy thing before all the hype for the new movie. Sure the original failed the Bechdel test but then almost all movies from the 80s did. I think it became a guy thing as soon as the new Ghostbusters casting was announced. Now I’ve seen what can happen when you bring a gal into what is a essentially male space (say, bringing the reluctant girlfriend to the D&D game) and it can suck the joy right out of the experience. But the opposite happened with this movie. It was MORE fun for its female cast, I promise you. It was more hilarious. For example, it turns out girls can make WAY dirtier fart jokes than guys can. (Gay man, didn’t know). Throughout the whole movie, I laughed. A LOT.
Visually the movie was gorgeous. I loved the special effects. And it was well written AND it was amazingly well cast. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy were awesome and I loved Kate McKinnon (her character was my favorite). And of course Chris Hemsworth. I did love the cameos of the old Ghostbusters cast. There were a thousand tiny ways the new Ghostbusters built on (and played with) the old films and those were fun to spot. The pacing was great too, it felt like things were moving at a great clip the entire time. There was so much energy it didn’t feel anywhere close to its 116 minute duration.
Not everything was perfect or course. There were jokes that fell flat, moments that didn’t make sense. There were moments where it seemed to be trying too hard. Chris Hemsworth wore a shirt too often. And since the theme of this week’s review is Gender, why is it that the story’s protagonists can be gender progressive but the story’s villain, a misanthropic loner bent on world destruction, remains male? If women in movies can be heroes, they can also be villains. But I nitpick, it really doesn’t matter all that much.
So is the new Ghostbusters worth watching? Hell yes. I’m going to see it again, probably in the theatre. That may or may not be related to Chris Hemsworth’s sexy dance through the end credits. (stay till the very end on this one by the way, there’s something after the credits) Ghostbusters is one of those good news-bad news scenarios – good news is that it’s absolutely a proof-of-concept that gals can do this type of movie every bit as well as guys can. Bad news is that we apparently needed this proof-of-concept. But even if you’re not interested in the gender issues, it really is worth going to see. It’s a good time.