by Christopher Poli
Reboot, redesign, reimagine. Call it what you will, but the new trend coming out of Hollywood is movie studios remaking some of our favorite classic movies from days gone by. A quick snapshot of the next few years shows us release dates for remakes such as WarGames, The NeverEnding Story and The Crow. In some instances it works out, see True Grit or Ocean’s Eleven. However, most of the time the outcome leaves you feeling like your favorite movie has just been butchered. See examples such as Point Break, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Pyscho.
Hollywood’s latest foray into the remake genre brings us Paul Feig’s female-led cast of Ghostbusters. The premise remains the same, a paranormal threat comes to New York City and it’s up to 4 discredited ghost chasers to save the day. That’s about where the similarities end. And that’s a good thing. Feig uses the proven storyline to redesign this movie into a 21 st century comedy with 4 of the funniest ladies working in Hollywood today. And they make it work.
Please understand, this is not a comparison to the original movie. To me, the original is one of the great classics of all time with an all-star cast. This movie is not that, it doesn’t need to be. It has a stellar cast with a break out performance by Kate McKinnon. It has a clever script, a laundry list of original cast cameos, and a story that helps you remember the original, while not suffocating from it. Feig starts with a script that is funny, smart and clever. I counted at least 4 laugh out loud moments in just the first 5 minutes of the movie and that really sets the tone. There’s no lack of jump out of your seat moments either, I mean this is a ghost movie after all. The movie strikes a nice balance between comedy, and serious, while also being able to make fun of itself at various points.
Feig then takes this script and hands it over to 4 of the funniest ladies in Hollywood today. The cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and McKinnon show instant chemistry from their first moment on screen together. Wigg, McCarthy and Jones are their usual solid comedic selves, and while those selves are fun, it’s nothing we haven’t seen from these 3 previously. That’s all rectified every time McKinnon’s Dr. Jillian Holtzman appears on screen. McKinnon’s portrayal of the quirky, endearing and brilliant Dr. Holtzman shows why she’s ready to take the mantel of SNL’s next rising star. Her delivery, and chemistry are spot on, and this is the type of character McKinnon has shown she can master. She is the breakout star of this movie.
Not to be outdone, Chris Hemsworth (Thor), sports his comedic chops. Hemsworth’s portrayal of Kevin, yes, just Kevin (like Madonna or Cher) the ditzy space brained assistant doesn’t disappoint. His dead panned delivery will remind you of Rick Moranis in the first movie. Hemsworth shows he’s more than a Norse God with 6 pack abs.
The movie however, is not without its flaws. While the laughs flow fast and free early on, the final act of the movie seems to leave the jokes at the door to focus more on the drama of the movie. McCarthy is her usual funny self, but nothing we haven’t seen from her before. Wiig plays the usual uncomfortable in her own skin character who just wants to fit in and not be mocked by the public. Individually, the performances leave something to be desired, however together, they make for an entertaining ensemble and they feed well off each other. Honestly, when the temperature of the movie theater is your biggest complaint, the movie has done something right.
Overall, if you go to movies to have a good time, to escape life for a few hours and just enjoy the art on the screen, this is a movie that will not disappoint. It was enjoyable, funny, and, most importantly it showed that maybe you wait to see a movie before declaring it a pile of garbage on social media, or in the comments section of a YouTube clip. This movie pays a nice homage to the original while also helping you forget about Ghostbusters 2. It doesn’t club you over the head with a female empowerment message as some feared it would, rather it just goes about its business being an enjoyable movie.
Finally, I couldn’t finish this review without saying something about the tremendous amount of hate this movie received prior to release. Being the movie fan that I am, I get excited to see new movies come out. Some look awesome, others look boring, while some look downright bad. The one thing I have always tried to do is approach each movie I see with an open mind. I try not to read reviews until I’ve had a chance to make my own decisions.
Unfortunately in this case, the detractors were everywhere. The movie’s trailer on YouTube received the lowest rating in the history of the site (yes worse than that song “Friday” by Rebecca Black). People had declared this movie the worst movie of the year before a single frame of film had been shot. The trailer was met with a level of venom I can’t remember ever seeing. People were determined to say this was a horrible movie, without a shred of evidence to back it up. Shame on them.
We’ve become a knee jerk society with a keyboard as a weapon, often times feeling God-like in our judgment due to the anonymity the virtual world provides. I have no idea if the hate for this movie was because of the all-female cast, or because it was a re-imagining of a beloved classic, but whatever the reasons they were small and petty. There are going to be a lot of people eating their words this week, and some who declared they’d never see this movie, might find themselves actually enjoying the product on the screen. Don’t listen to the haters. Make your own decision. Be your own person. Have your own opinion. Life is simpler when you do.