Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good: A review of Ghostbusters (2016)


It’s hard to be objective when you’re so intent on being right. You can level this at anyone who has or hasn’t seen the new Ghostbusters and in the midst of one of the most tumultuous Film releases of the century, it appears that you can’t be somewhere in the middle. Either you’re with it or against it.

You know what’s going on. Like me, you’ve been following the Ghostbusters tags for the last few days, watching as two opposing sides wage a war of words against the other. And the thing is, though I will try to be objective and give you my opinion on the Film without getting into the complicated battle that has been fought on the battleground of the Internet for the past days, weeks and months. I must admit, I too am more than happy to take up arms and fight the good fight for what I believe in.

This cannot just be a gentle discussion of the Films good and bad points, for those rallying against it will not listen to reason, as they poison every free space on the web with their agonisingly unproductive fury. If they must band together to give the Film a bad rating on IMDB then on their head be it.

Since the release of the Films reviews I have become glued to my phone, scrolling through hours of tweets and finding a joyous amount of positivity and praise. The sensible ones, those who tell of the Films good and bad points, without choosing a side, are rare. The rest of us hand over our level heads and try to stay above ground.

We don’t want to see this unfair amount of scorn being thrown onto something we love and it’s important that we stand against the tide of petulant insecurity.

I want to do a simple review, state what I liked and what I didn’t and then move on. But I can’t. I need to address the big issue and take up arms. I hate that I even have to use this tortured metaphor yet I find myself so compelled to argue my corner.

I read a fantastic piece today and it was a sentiment I saw replicated on Twitter a few times. Though many may say that this whole thing isn’t about sexism but rather about the cash grab attitude of Hollywood and the ruining of a beloved franchise, I fundamentally disagree.

Yes, remakes, reboots, prequels and unnecessary sequels are systemic of a disappointing summer of Movies and the Movie industry in general, but I openly praise Paul Feig for at least trying to make it worthwhile.

No one wanted another bloody remake but taking into account that it was inevitable, I think that by making it an all-female cast was the best outcome. In this age at least.

The alternative, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, bro-ing all over the place. Thanks but no.

So whereas so many of these re-se-pre-quel-boots have stuck so rigidly to the formula, Ghostbusters deserves praise for making the change and giving little girls and boys some women to look up to.

This is why I believe that, on the whole, this is a blatantly sexist issue. No other Film that has been re-spawned from an existing franchise has been met with as much bile and derision as Ghostbusters.

Not Independence Day: Resurgence, Total Recall, Jurassic World, Star Trek: Beyond etc etc. You know, the only criticism to come out of Mad Max: Fury Road? Imperious Furiosa. The female and feminist hero who man-boys chose to rally against as a patriarch destroying warrior


The Force Awakens too. Rey was the most exciting hero of 2015 yet people can’t look past her gender.

So frankly I’m all for taking sides. If the haters continue to hate then I, like many on The internet who have seen the Film and continue spread the good word, will happily stand proudly by my love of Ghostbusters 2016.

The Film

What of the actual Film? Well, I loved it. It’s not perfect but it has something that so many Films this year have failed to include. Joy.

That’s all I could think of when I came out of it. It was so filled with a joyful exuberance that it just made me happy that I had enjoyed it.

I know that we all want more from Blockbusters than just ‘fun’ but in the case of this, it’s important that it was simply so.

It IS a flawed Film, most definitely so, but the neon electric, hyperkinetic buzz it gives you is more than enough to help you look past the issues it has. For a Film so unfairly shat upon for two years, FUN is all I ever needed.

Like the original, it has a core group of engaging individuals, all SNL regulars, who may not have much in the way of character development but have charm in spades.

Wigg is Wigg, endearing as a goofy scientist who uses every opportunity to flirt with Chris Hemsworth’s moronic and muscular receptionist.

Melissa McCarthy proves as she did in Spy, that with the right director she can produce a restrained and subtle performance to match her comedic skills.

Leslie Jones commands her scenes, earning her spot as the fourth Ghostbuster and despite the still iffy issue of her being black and the only non-scientist in the group, it helps that this was an issue addressed by Jones and Feig a while ago.


But the real MVP award goes to Kate McKinnon, who steals every scene she’s in like she’s been doing it for years. She’s dazzling on screen, every wink or smile activates a blush and her comic timing is fresh and exciting.

The Film could flag for a bit but she would just whip out a sly wink or a body movement that would bring out a smile and it would be back to joyful again. She also gets the best action set piece, kicking ass to an electric version of the Ghostbusters theme in the Films excellent Times Square set fight scene.

This is where the show really begins to shine as the stunning effects work really begins to spark. Neon bright colours shroud ghoulish and terrifying ghosts as they swamp the streets of New York and it’s these effects that I can safely say some of the best I’ve seen this year.

Each ghost looks incredible, something I wish to see in 3D on my next rewatch, and more than that, they’re pretty scary too.

As a comedy, it could’ve been so easy for the other bits to fall by the wayside and despite the light character work, the atmosphere, cinematography, effects and music are all wonderfully realised.

The jokes mostly hit and inevitably there is a sense of too much improv, yet the talented performers light up the screen and the jokes that do work are smart and come from the people and their performances.

Apart from McKinnon a large amount of humour comes from Hemsworth’s dim receptionist. He does comedy like you wouldn’t expect Thor to do, straight-faced like it’s not even hard. He represents the Films gentle roasting of masculinity, which some say is a sexist attack on men but realistically that’s a load of old pants.

Women have put up with leering objectivity and ridicule for decades and now it’s time for some to go the other way. Though it’s not like the original Ghostbusters weren’t ridiculous in their own right and it’s not like these women are saints either.

Essentially, I’d say there is no gender divide in this Film despite how the writers could’ve so easily chosen to do so and a distinct lack of romance is a welcome change

One of the best moments for me is in which the villain describes how he wants to destroy the world because he gets bullied a lot and McCarthy simply states that she and the rest of the Ghostbusters have been dealing with the same stuff too yet they’re not trying to destroy anything.

Well, I think that’s the moment to take away from this Film. When she says “we”, it can be interpreted as Women. They’ve put up with shit forever and they aren’t trying to destroy anything.

In the end, what may be the Films greatest asset is that it is and never was trying to undermine or attack anyone. People so commonly mistake Feminism as man hating yet, in reality, it’s about making women as rightfully equal as men.

This is all Ghostbusters was trying to do and that clearly still doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. They attack because they believe themselves to be under attack and as long as they do, I will stand by my views.

Rating: B+


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