There’s been a lot of internet chatter around the new Ghostbusters reboot starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, most of which has been focused on the fact that the new team is composed entirely of women. Don’t let the haters detract from the film itself, because while it isn’t necessarily without its faults, Ghostbusters is incredibly fun, well-acted, and a great homage to the previous films.
Here are five things that rule about the new Ghostbusters movie:
All four Ghostbusters are strong characters but Kate McKinnon is a comedic standout as Jillian Holtzmann. While she doesn’t get a lot of screen time in the first half of the film, she shines throughout the second half. From upgrading ghost weapons to being just the right amount of charming and creepy, McKinnon absolutely knocks her big budget screen debut out of the park. The most ass-kicking moments in Ghostbusters are indebted to her badassery and some of the most quotable lines come courtesy of her sense of comedic timing. Ghostbusters signals great things to come from Kate McKinnon. She is constantly engaging to watch on screen and she was hands down the best part about the film.
It’s Perfectly Meta
In the era of reboots, remakes and fourth wall-breaking meta movies, there are a lot of films out there that just try to feed an already established audience with more of the same. Thankfully, Ghostbusters is a great mix of old and new. They tease out the Ghostbusters logo, and when the audience sees it, it’s difficult not to feel a sense of nostalgic glee. The film uses the trademark ghost traps and updated equipment together seamlessly. Some of the cameos are a little stilted (why Ozzy Osbourne?), but they slide in just enough references to keep the original fandom happy while still making it refreshing and new enough that the film is excellent on its own.
It Acknowledges and Dispenses With the Haters
Much was made online out of the fact that the new Ghostbusters would feature women, but the film doesn’t just switch gender roles and call it a day, there’s a lot of nuance in the characterizations. For example, all four leads embody a great mix of physical humour and cutting jokes and the film has moments of empowerment without being too heavy handed. A highlight of the film are the jokes that are targeted at online trolls directly. Considering the amount of backlash Ghostbusters had before the film was even in production, it’s a great tactical move on the films part to incorporate and promptly dispense with the haters. Those who were offended, at least implicitly, seemed to be outraged that women who are not sexualized are in positions of power, but Ghostbusters relishes in its main characters’ abilities. Perhaps the vitriol is from Ghostbuster purists but I suspect there is something more insidious surrounding the hatred which makes it difficult not to root for the new Ghostbusters. To top it all off, the main villain seems to be a movie version of these online trolls and spoiler alert: he’s defeated.
While part of the charm of the original Ghostbusters are the now outdated special effects, the reboot’s special effects are expertly crafted. They are terrifying enough to get the point across but not so terrifying that they will give children nightmares (though I personally had Stay Puft Marshmallow Man nightmares as a child, but apparently I’m the exception there). The ghosts are varied and vibrant in Ghostbusters, which makes the film a lot of fun to watch. One scene in particular features a parade of ghost floats that elucidates how integral CGI is to the enjoyment of the film. The goo paired with the ghosts evokes a Casper vibe but also adds to the interactions the Ghostbusters have with them.
It’s Extremely Quotable
One of the fundamental aspects of films like the original Ghostbusters and its subsequent sequel are that they are quotable. Films hold up over time often because audiences recite lines repeatedly in opportune situations, and the Ghostbusters offer a lot of material. While Kate McKinnon is a standout, Leslie Jones has some really great lines, and her delivery is a deftly on point. Wiig and McCarthy shine too, and the jokes are relatively evenly spread out, though some are much funnier than others. For example, there’s a particular Jaws joke that was really well placed. After watching it you’ll find yourself laughing at some of the best lines even after the film is done. Ultimately, Ghostbusters incorporates the colloquialisms of our time and mines them perfectly to create more laugh-out-loud moments than is typical for a contemporary comedy.