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Review: Ghostbusters

Spoilers ahead! Turn back now!

Unsurprising to many people, Ghostbusters turned out to be a pretty good movie.

Now, I’m not going to argue that it was the greatest film ever made or that it was better than the original (which I didn’t see until I was 21, so I hold no nostalgia for it), but I will say without a doubt that the amount of vitriol this movie received was absolutely due to the fact that it starred four women. The first trailer was mediocre, but the fact that it became the most disliked movie trailer of all time on Youtube was frankly ridiculous. The other trailers were better and more attune to what the movie was.

Honestly, the biggest issue with the film was the script. What made it worse than the original was the number of missteps it took in dialogue. The original and the reboot have almost everything in common: it stars four very funny people who chase ghosts and do goofy shit. However, the original is a lot tighter than the reboot. There are no moments that feel unnecessary, whereas in this film, there are a handful. This is an issue I have with all of Paul Feig’s movies. There are moments where they won’t just let the scene be. Rather, they want to shove in another joke or cool moment and it throws off the pacing.

Fans of the original will appreciate the cameos throughout the film. More than just Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd (who was also executive producer of the film), and Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, Slimer, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man made appearances in the film as well. They were all able to play their parts in the world paying homage to the 80s film.

Something that I actually think was done better in this film than in the original was the horror and suspense. I feel that the original was so goofy that I wasn’t really scared. I knew that they had to defeat Zuul or else bad things would happen, but I was never really frightened. Perhaps that was the effects at the time, but I don’t feel that they played on the viewer’s fears in any substantial way.

In the reboot, however, there are some frightening moments. The chase scene through the haunted house at the beginning of the film takes a lot of tropes from horror films and makes it work without feeling out-of-place or awkward. It begins with jokes, develops a minor character enough so that the audience can relate to and understand him, and finally, ends in a chase through a house from which he cannot escape. It was a good beginning to the film.

The scariest moment, however, involves Patty. Here, Patty is becoming the viewers. She’s seen all the movies before (and references them) and she knows that the mannequin is going to move. She doesn’t want it to, but she knows it will. Then, instead of being the cool, collected hero who takes it down, she runs because she’s scared. It’s both humorous and scary.

This is what makes the Ghostbusters appealing to me. They’re not badasses or really even hero-types. They’re a part of the team for other reasons. Erin and Abby are obsessed with ghosts because they represent an academic phenomena. They are researchers at the core. Holtz and Patty however, are more there for the group (though Erin and Abby have nice friendship moments at the end of the film as well). Sure, Holtz likes to blow stuff up and use her expertise, but they think of it more as a camaraderie between each other than an obligation to the city. Protecting everyone is a nice bonus, but they’re ultimately doing it because they get something out of it to be with these people.

I think that this allows me to relate to the Ghostbusters in this film and in the originals. They’re not super cool badasses. They’re just smart enough to create equipment that makes it so they won’t fuck up all the time. That’s really cool to me because I am not inherently a badass and neither are most (or really any) of my friends. We are just able to use our strengths to our benefit in cases where we would normally lose. Movies about nerds saving the world from something no one else understands are great because I can relate to them, and that’s what this film and the originals bring to the table.

If you’re going to the theater to see the greatest film ever made, you’ll be disappointed with this movie (and basically every movie in theaters right now), but, if you’re looking for a good horror comedy, then Ghostbusters is for you. I’ll have to read more reviews, but, unless you inherently dislike something unchangeable about the film (the genre, for example), it’ll be worth seeing. If our childhoods can survive things like The Last Airbender and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then they’ll be just fine with Ghostbusters.

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures
Fiona L.F. Kelly (@FionaLFKelly)
Fiona L.F. Kelly is a writer, editor, and podcaster. She has published numerous articles about all things gaming and pop culture on websites all across the internet, was also a writer for Trinity Continuum: Aberrant 2e, and has been published in books and magazines. She is an editor for the pop culture and media website GeekGals.co. In addition to her writing and editing, she has also been a guest and host on several podcasts. She hosts the Project Derailed podcast Big Streaming Pile, produces and performs on Fables Around the Table, and plays the githyanki pirate Rav’nys on Tales of the Voidfarer. Buy her a coffee: ko-fi.com/fionalfkelly

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