Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), one-time authors of a book positing that ghosts are real, both lose their jobs due to their beliefs. When ghosts invade Manhattan, Gilbert reunites with Yates, teaming up with nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), to save the world from a powerful demon known as Rowan (Neil Casey), who can exercise control over human forms.
Reboot? Re-imagining? Remake? Who cares? The news that there was going to be new Ghostbusters hitting the big screen should have been greeted with howls of delight and yet when certain people from the interweb found out exactly who was tipped to answer ‘Who You Gonna Call?’, they launched a hate campaign, all seemingly based on the fact the proton-pack wielders this time were to be four women.
Haters gonna hate, but such was the negativity (the trailer on YouTube became the most disliked in history after a campaign) that the bad smell has followed the film around, stinking up the place like a class 4 apparition with extra slime. But in the end, that’s no bad thing.
When expectations are low, finding out a movie is not just good but great just adds to the enjoyment. And Ghostbusters (the reboot, pedantic fans) is fun, a ride of sheer joy only hampered slightly with a too-long running time (like most films these days) and a reliance on nostalgic callbacks and cameos that are just not needed.
A thoroughly confident opening, complete with decent jump scares worthy of The Conjuring, gives way to a decent meet and greet as the team are put together. McCarthy is less Marmite than usual here, Wiig the glue that brings everyone together and Jones simply outstanding as a metro employee who joins the team…just because. Only Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann grates, coming across as trying too hard. After securing premises – ditching first choice and original 1984 HQ ‘Hook & Ladder 8’ due to it’s $21,000 month rental – and hiring dumb blonde Kevin (Chris Hemsworth sending his reputation up brilliantly) as their receptionist, it’s on with the business of busting ghosts.
Adhering to the original with broad strokes, they uncover a plot by disaffected hotel employee Rowan to ‘cleanse’ New York with the undead. The ‘Busters investigate, rid an establishment of its ghoul and post the results online, resulting in the best laugh of the film that’s aimed squarely at the trolls. First mocked, they are then hailed as heroes before Mayor Bradley (Andy Garcia – good to see him again) tries to shut them down; it turns out the authorities have known about ghosts all along and the Ghostbusters have got in the way.
The four leads spark off each other wonderfully and the (often ad-libbed) quips come thick and fast. Cameos by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson (all stars from the original 1984 version but in completely different roles here) are fun but unrequired; this team is more than capable by themselves. Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin, the incredibly thick receptionist employed solely because of his looks, provides the pratfalls (but equality equates reverse sexism? Really?!) but is overused and it could be argued that the ending is too reliant on CGI, but this is all just nitpicking.
Ghostbusters is funny, smart, slightly scary and bonkers. So everything you could want from a new take on a classic then. Well, apart from a decent theme tune that is. These Ghostbusters ‘aint afraid of no ghosts, they sure ‘aint fazed by no trolls and watching them bustin makes you feel good all over again.