Any cult film that undergoes a makeover is bound to cop some flack, often undeservedly and largely as a result of nostalgic fans protesting that the remake has veered too far from the original. Granted, some films do deserve this criticism — anyone remember the 2006 version of The Wicker Man? It’s a shame if you do, because Nicolas Cage exclaiming, "not the bees!" proves that nothing is sacred to that man.
In my humble opinion, however, the new Ghostbusters is not a failed remake that falls flat on its face. Packed full of laughs, exhilarating action scenes, and a hell of a lot of slime, this is a film that will leave you grinning but only if you can accept that it will be different to the 1984 original - and yes, a part of that does involve the fact that the protagonists are women this time around. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones comprise the badass ghostbusting quartet of the 21st century who fight the patriarchy as well as vanquishing the incorporeal floating buggers wreaking havoc around New York City.
Upon uploading a ghost sighting video to Youtube in the early part of the film, Erin Gilbert (Wiig) reads a comment that sounds much like a Reddit-cruising MRA in anticipation of the film's release: "Ain't no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts." This comment sets the tone for the rest of the film, which proceeds to swiftly flip two middle-fingers to those who didn't think an all-woman cast would work without inundating viewers with overwhelming feminist ideologies - these bitches sure do hunt ghosts, and they do it well.
The relationship between the four paranormal aficionados is endearing, dynamic and hilarious. Some of the moments they share will make you guffaw with laughter, while others will fondly remind you of how much you love your bestie and potentially inspire you to start a ghostbusting business together. The characters are uncomplicated, straightforward, and solely dedicated to kicking some supernatural butt: Jones is fantastic as the bold and boisterous Patty Tolan, McCarthy is ever-lovable in her role as passionate ghost nerd Abby Yates, and you will even find yourself developing a soft spot for uptight academic scientist Erin Gilbert. However, the real MVP here is kooky engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon), whose side-splitting one-liners, geeky tangents and generous heapings of sass are delivered perfectly every time. My only criticism is that the plot seemed to move so fast that it provided little room for any of the characters to develop any actual depth (particularly weird villain dude Rowan - he seemed to only be a part of the film to provide some sort of conflict for the ghostbusters to fight, but it just didn't really work out).
An honourable mention goes out to Aussie babe Chris Hemsworth who takes the role of clueless receptionist Kevin, and offers up gems throughout the film like, "Did you know that aquariums are submarines for fish?" His role is absolutely cringeworthy, but it'll have you screeching with laughter and helps to offset the slightly wittier, drier humour delivered by the ghostbusting team.
The visual effects of this film are obviously an enormous step up from the '84 version, particularly if you witness it in 3D - while I was worried this may detract from the corny charm of the original, it actually works in the new film's favour. The action scenes are incredibly well done, the ghosts are strangely beautiful in their ethereal shimmery glory, and the ectoplasm is very slimy and gross. The battle scenes have a lot of fire and cool ghostbusting guns and it's so badass. Sometimes the CGI is way too intense and overdone, but it functions well alongside the garish, over-the-top nature of the film.
Ghostbusters is very far from a perfect movie. It's cheesy, the plot is extremely messy and has a tendency to jump around the place, and characters who have the potential for so much more emotional depth often fall short. However, it's a hell of a lot of fun, and if you're looking for an action-packed flick that will make you giggle as you shovel some popcorn in your face, Ghostbusters is a top-notch choice.