Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

The 1984 Ghostbusters is a classic. It is without a doubt one of the best comedy movies in my lifetime and it cannot EVER be duplicated. Even for as good as the sequel was, it was not equal to the original. But in a time when remakes and reboots are the “in things” in the movie world, it was bound to happen that someone would try to remake it. But no one could have ever imagined the way it was remade.

Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) was tasked with remaking Ghostbusters and decided to use an all-female cast in this 2016 version. This decision was discussed, good and bad, worldwide. Then the main cast was announced. Playing the Ghostbusters would be Melissa McCarthy (Spy), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Kate McKinnon (SNL), and Leslie Jones (Trainwreck). The talking continued even more after this announcement and would magnify when the first trailer was released. Ever I had no intentions of going to a theater to watch this movie!

But something made me want to go see it. I don’t know why, but I did. And while it will NEVER be on par with the original, it was not as bad as I expected it to be. First off, if this was marketed more as a reimagining than a reboot, it would have helped public perception. The only thing this movie shares with the original is a loose outline and a title. The story in the movie is completely different. And secondly, these women did a damn good job making the movie their own. They are not Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, or Hudson and they don’t have to be. They made these characters their own and tried to create something fresh with an old idea.

The 2016 version of Ghostbusters follows the outline of the original by having four women work together to create a business to help people get rid of unwanted ghosts. But where it mostly differs is in the way the ghosts begin to attack New York. In the version, a loner named Rowan (Neil Casey) creates a device to unleash ghosts around the city wherever he wants and ultimately hoping to unleash a horde of ghosts all at once. 

Helping the main cast of was a stellar supporting cast. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) plays the bumbling receptionist Kevin. He was hilarious in this role and showed a different side to his acting. Andy Garcia (The Untouchables) is great as Mayor Bradley and Cecily Strong (SNL) was good as well as the Mayor’s publicist. Ghostbusters also featured good performances from Karan Soni, Zach Woods, Steve Higgins, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Matt Walsh.

With a good story and good acting, Ghostbusters is not the trainwreck that I expected it to be. I have to be completely honest. I think I actually wanted to hate it. I wanted to see it fail. But it was an alright film. It even features cameos from Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver. It even featured a cameo, in a way, of the late Harold Ramis. 

If this movie had been named anything else, it probably would have been received much better. But people, myself included, judge quickly on remakes. But if you look at this movie as a reimagining instead, it is easier to view. It will never match the original. It shouldn’t. It was made because the original was so highly successful. But this version is its own film. And if you are that hardcore against it, don’t think it is over. The new Ghostbusters will be back. This new franchise is not over yet.
Daryl Karpinski, Jr.