Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

July 19, 2016 Movies, Reviews, Watching, You Should Love 0

ghostbusters_ver6Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat. – IMDB.
4/5 Stars.

As someone who grew up watching the original Ghostbusters and still loves it, I have to say I had so. much. fun. watching the reboot. Perhaps I am biased because I enjoy Paul Feig’s work, and did go in with a positive attitude about it, but I really enjoyed the movie. I even went back the following day at 10 a.m. to watch it again by myself.

Ghostbusters follows a similar plot to the original, mixes in some well-placed nods, and makes the story its own with a great cast of hilarious women at the forefront. And as expected, I came out with a massive crush on Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) like 90% of Tumblr.

Friendship acts as the glue for this movie – the Ghostbusters (before they adopt the name) come together after Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) seeks out her former partner and friend, Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). Abby has continued her work in the paranormal along with Dr. Jillian Holtzmann, a nuclear engineer, but Erin went the more conventional route and left her interest in it behind in the hopes of seeking tenure at Columbia. There is a brief moment of tension between the two friends, as well as Erin with Abby’s new partner, Holtzmann. It’s shown more as a conflict of personalities, however, than any kind of resentment. Erin is more high-strung and wants to play by the rules, unlike Abby who just wants db3e91ef92f31a1d239a9fa472943f2eto investigate the supernatural and legitimize the field (Holtzmann just doesn’t give a shit because there’s inventing to be done). When MTA worker, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) joins the group, she hits the ground running and brings her own expertise to the group without being a scientist. She knows the city and its history and she wants to help. I loved seeing how quickly they all bonded and got to work on figuring out New York’s sudden ghost problem. They all have a common goal and also each other’s backs.

Let’s talk about Patty! Leslie Jones is so great in this movie and I really want to see more of Patty in the sequel. A friend mentioned that the movie lacks its Dana Barrett storyline, but I believe it took that plot and improved upon it. Patty, just like Dana, is the second person to come to the Ghostbusters following a paranormal experience. However, instead of being the person who needs saving, she joins the group. Both women play integral parts in the final battles, but in their own different ways. Another bonus is that no one creeps on her…well, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) tries dancing with her and she shuts him down.

Side Note: If you love Leslie Jones as much as I do and use Twitter, be sure to tell her (@lesdoggg). She’s been on the receiving end of a lot of disgusting, racist vitriol from people who have nothing better to do with their lives. 

Okay, so about my new crush. I had a feeling that I’d come out of this movie being into Holtzmann but, hoo boy did I underestimate myself. She serves as the group’s engineer and is always bringing new “toys” to use on their investigations. Undoubtedly the sexiest part of the movie is Holtzmann’s slow motion ghost fight that begins with her licking one of her guns. I was sweating. Though Feig does not give a definitive answer as to Holtzmann’s sexual identity – largely due to pressure from Sony – she does give off a strong queer vibe. There is a fantastic scene wherein Holtzmann lip syncs and dances around her workshop for Erin that I’ve decided to call “The DeBarge Seduction.” Serious flirting and suggestive use of a fire extinguisher. Can’t stop the queerness, Sony. As many others have stated, I agree that there’s going to be a group of baby queers who will become acutely aware of their orientations because of McKinnon’s character.

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Paul Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold had zero chill when it came to their villain. He is the living embodiment of every troll, mansplainer, and person who vocalized their hatred of the movie even before it premiered. If you want a more in-depth explanation, head on over to Kevin’s (not the flying beefcake, sorry) post. There are more plot points revealed in the post, fair warning for any spoilerphobes.

The men in Ghostbusters fall into similar categories as the ones in Spy and Bridesmaids. There are some funny ones, some useless ones, some jerks, and some creeps. Of course, there’s the attractive but hapless secretary, Kevin, with whom Erin attempts to flirt rather than the other way around. He winds up playing a major part in the final battle as well, taking a page from the original film and reworking it to suit the new plot.

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As for the cameos by the original cast, I think that a few could have maybe been tightened up just to keep the pace a little smoother. One (not by a member of the ‘84 Ghostbusters line-up) felt completely off but was very brief. Without spoiling who it is, I will say that my absolute favorite came during the credits sequence. I gasped loudly and even stayed during the credits at my second viewing to see it again. And there is an after credits scene that fans of the original will want to stick around to watch.

Ghostbusters is not a perfect movie, but it is a hell of a good time. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of pressure on movies like it (female and/or POC-centric) to be The Best so that studios will greenlight others. It’s just so refreshing to see a female-led cast being funny and not sexualized. The film adamantly rejects the male gaze and allows its female characters to dress realistically and, often, comfortably. Those women are there to do their jobs and save New York City, dammit. Kids will be introduced to hilarious, smart, and supportive women on screen, and I’m so happy that they can have that. Hell, I’m happy that I have it to enjoy as an adult. I hope that it has continued success in the following weeks, and that Hollywood finally extricates its head from its ass so we can see more women from all backgrounds on screen.

Kristen Wiig meeting some new fans. Their faces = what this is all about.

Kristen Wiig meeting some new fans. Their faces = what this is all about.

 

Images courtesy of Sony, via Tumblr and Yahoo.