Movie review: Ghostbusters

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Ghostbusters Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Erin (Kristen Wiig), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and Patty (Leslie Jones) are surrounded by ghosts in Times Squares in the new "Ghostbusters." (Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)

The “Ghostbusters” reboot – like many other recent remakes of classic movies – is one that should be taken fairly lightly in how it compares to the original. Although there were plenty of cameos and throwbacks to elements of the 1984 original, the storyline in itself was more or less independent of anything that would directly connect the two plots, and the 2016 version most likely would have benefited if it had somehow been a stand-alone rather than a continuation of the movie franchise.

The plot does follow a somewhat similar path as that of the original – scientists who are generally viewed as crazy for their work in the paranormal field eventually discover that all of their hypotheses were correct. Government officials denounce their work as fake (granted, they acknowledged their work was accurate in private and were polite enough to warn them before said denouncement), but then, after a portal to the ghostly dimension is opened allowing malevolent spirits to wreak havoc on our side, the scientists end up saving the world.

As previously mentioned, there were a lot of cameos and references to the old movie, including a character played by Bill Murray and an appearance from “Slimer,” and while they were fun for the sake of nostalgia, they didn’t seem to contribute much to the plot or could have been substituted by anyone else.

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Slimer in appears in the new 'Ghostbusters.' (Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)

If I was bothered by anything in regards to the animation, it was that some of the phantoms were almost hyperrealistic while others such as Slimer and the antagonist were styled more like the cartoonishly animated ghosts from the original. Granted, I never particularly liked that style to begin with but I think sticking to one or the other would have made that more subtle.

The movie’s soundtrack was fun as well, and presented multiple versions of the “Ghostbusters” theme song – the original version that is most widely known, a version by Fall Out Boy that was rather different from the original (but is enjoyable if you like their sound) and an instrumental version which is something I always appreciate.

“Ghostbusters” ran into problems before it even made it to theaters. It received an extreme amount of backlash when it was revealed that the four main leads were all women and after the trailer was released. Some people chose to take offense to the fact that gender roles within the movie were reversed and as a result the movie was subject to a lot of negative feedback well before its release on July 15.

As a result of the backlash it received after the trailer came out, I think a lot of people missed the actual point of “Ghostbusters.” People’s fixation on what was different between the original and the reboot caused them to break down every single aspect of the movie with some form of criticism that no comedy movie could realistically live up to – but if you went in with an open mind you watched a movie that was funny, spooky (at times) and highly entertaining overall.

Were some of the men in the movie (Chris Hemsworth in particular) deliberately given arguably over-the-top roles as vapid secondary characters who were only there to look pretty and advance the plot? Sure. But four women were also given the chance to step into a comedic spotlight without having to prescribe to gender roles that are generally rigidly adhered to in Hollywood, and it was a refreshing change – if you weren’t too bitter to just sit back and enjoy the flip-flopping of the stereotypes for what it was.

Despite the negative backlash before its release and the harassment some of the movie’s stars received via social media after, “Ghostbusters” earned $46 million during its opening weekend – the biggest opening weekend its star Melissa McCarthy or director Paul Feig have experienced to date – and came in at number two in the box office behind “The Secret Life of Pets.” (Check out our review of that movie, too!)

If you came into this movie bitter about the casting, you were obviously going to find reasons to hate it and probably shouldn’t have wasted your time watching it in the first place, but if you went in just wanting to see a ridiculous, comedic and engaging movie with a lot of nostalgia built-in, you got exactly what you went for.

I give “Ghostbusters” 4/5 stars.

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