'Ghostbusters' Review: A rewarding reboot

There is really very little novelty in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters.

Yet it works. The film proves that a reboot does not have to reinvent the formula. All it needs is a drastic bend in perspective to make the familiar grooves of a summer blockbuster seem fresh. (READ: Movie reviews: What critics are saying about the new 'Ghostbusters')

 

Shifting genders

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Just like the beloved 1984 Ivan Reitman classic, Feig’s film mixes ghosts and gags to create a mostly hilarious experience. The biggest challenge for Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold is to make that experience feel new despite the several decades worth or horror-comedy mash-ups. However, they are also working within the limits of a material that already has an overprotective fanbase.  

Their solution to the dilemma is nothing short of ingenious. Retain the brash narrative about ghosts invading New York City. Keep the entertainingly grotesque visuals that populate the alleyways of the metropolis with otherworldly specters. Maintain that offbeat tone. Just pull off one noteworthy change, which is to turn all the ghostbusters female, and everything will be fine. 

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

So yes, the new Ghostbusters has comediennes of various shapes and sizes: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, instead of the generic musclebound heroes in tights and capes that usually dominate blockbusters.

That’s everything that the film needs to work. While the film suffers from spectacle overload, especially during the climax where the screen is mostly covered in digitalized greens, blues and oranges, it survives by way of its irreverent treatment of the shift in gender focus. (WATCH: 8 Things to know about the all-female 'Ghostbusters' reboot)

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Ghost and girls

The story isn’t anything new. 

Erin (Wiig) is a scientist who is on her way to getting a tenure from a reputable university. The only thing that might stop her from getting that tenure is her recent history with the supernatural by way of a book she wrote with former friend Abby (McCarthy).

Abby hasn’t given up on ghosts and has now teamed up with nutty genius Jillian (McKinnon) to prove that they are real. Somehow, the three team up to investigate recent hauntings around the city. 

They are then joined by Patty (Jones), a subway worker who has an astounding grasp of New York City history, and Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), who plays the team’s receptionist as a cross between a clueless hipster and a brainless gymrat.

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

 

Elsewhere, a loner is planning to destroy the city by unleashing ghosts.

Unsurprisingly, it will be up to the four women to save the city. (READ: 'Ghostbusters' backlash reflects Hollywood's sexism problem)

What is most interesting about the gender shift is how the film is mostly about the 4 women trying their best to be believed – becoming heroes without the spotlight. They are first portrayed as a group of delusional females, struggling for some sense of believability amidst a world where the mix of their absurd beliefs and their being female makes everything more difficult.

Underneath the jokes, there is actually a tinge of truth to their bizarre struggle.

 

Struggling for hilarity

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Ghostbusters struggles to sustain the hilarity.

When the jokes have run out, it falls for the convenience of being all about eye candy, which really betrays how subtly intelligent its central gimmick really is. Thankfully, despite its obvious missteps, there is no denying that the film is a wildly entertaining romp, one with enough balls to poke fun at the gender disparities that has hounded Hollywood throughout the years. – Rappler.com