Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

I enjoyed a Sunday afternoon movie, in the delightful company of my grandson Jonathan, daughter Elissa and son-in-law Josh. Jonathan chose to see Ghostbusters, the recent reboot of a movie by the same name, released in 1984. This was actually my second viewing of this film, having watched it recently with granddaughter Aubrey, who chose this movie over the kid flick, The Secret Life of Pets. I had not done a review yet, so this was the perfect opportunity to catch more details as I watched again. 

Ghostbusters stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth and Neil Casey. This comedy/sci-fi was directed by Paul Feig and has a run time of 1 hour and 56 minutes. The movie is rated PG-13 for supernatural action and crude humor. 

In this remake of a classic, the gender roles are switched. The Ghostbusters team is made up of Abby Yates (McCarthy), a scientist studying the paranormal, her nuclear engineer, Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon), subway worker turned ghost hunter Patty Tolan (Jones) and Abby’s former scientific partner Erin Gilbert (Wiig). 

Erin has distanced herself from Abby and the supernatural, teaching at the prestigious Columbia University, and seeking tenure. Her hopes are dashed as Abby shows back up in her life. Erin confronts her old friend over the reappearance of a book about ghosts that they cowrote years ago. Abby agrees to withdraw the book if Erin will introduce her at the Aldridge mansion, where a malevolent ghost has been sighted. 

There is indeed a ghost in the mansion. And not just there. Apparitions are appearing all over NYC. Erin loses her job at the university and rejoins Abby. The team settles into a new office and hires an attractive assistant, Kevin (Hemsworth), to answer the phone and carry equipment. Patty supplies a vehicle, a hearse from her uncle’s funeral home, and coveralls to protect against sliming. The girls are in business, ghostbusters who use science and engineering to tackle the paranormal. 

They encounter a suspicious man, Rowan (Casey), who is the force behind the recent ghost sighting. He is intent on creating a vortex and unleashing the unhappy dead on the city. It’s mayhem, madness and lots of restless ghosts against the determined Ghostbusters team. 

This was a fun movie to watch. Although the first 15 minutes was a bit scary…Jonathan called it creepy and Aubrey crawled into my lap…the rest of the film was a humorous romp. I saw the original Ghostbusters film years ago and I enjoyed this remake with the gender twist. Melissa McCarthy was brilliant, and well supported by the rest of the cast. There were numerous nods to the original movie and great surprise cameos. 

Chris Hemsworth is always a pleasure to watch on the big screen. Known for playing more serious characters, such as Thor, it’s great to see him in a comedic role where he can offer his gifts in a fresh way. It is worth sitting through the credits to catch extra movie scenes and enjoy Chris as he dances! 

While much of the humor went over my grandchildren’s heads, they both enjoyed the movie. Jonathan said he loved the film and hope they make a sequel. He also said he would purchase this one when it is available. Aubrey loved Ghostbusters as well. It was interesting that as a young girl she liked seeing the women portrayed as smart and scientific. She told me, after we watched the movie, that when she grew up she wouldn’t want to be a ghostbuster, but she would like to learn about science and make cool gadgets. That’s a powerful message for girls offered within a comedy. 

Elissa, Josh and I enjoyed the movie for what it was, a playful, fun adventure with generous dollops of laugh out loud humor. Being familiar with the original film probably enhances the viewing experience but isn’t necessary. We loved hearing the classic theme song and catching the references to the 1984 movie. 

Got ghosts? Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!