Movie Review: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016). Direted by Paul Feig

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ghostbusters_2016GHOSTBUSTERS (USA 2016) ***1/2

Directed by Paul Feig

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones

Review by Gilbert Seah

It took tons of effort and luck before GHOSTBUSTERS could be get this fresh look on the screen. The original 1984 hit version is best remembered as a classic that should not be tempered with. The original 4 that made GHOSTBUSTERS in 1984 including the late Harold Ramis who died in 1984 made a pact that no more GHOSTBUSTERS movie could be made unless all agreed. Bill Murray was the one who objected to all the previous scripts till this one written by Katie Dippold (THE HEAT) and championed by Paul Feig (BRIDESMAIDS). Bill Murray has a cameo as a supernatural activity debunker. And many loyal fans were upset that the film is given a female cast instead.

The film begins with an impressive opening sequence with a tour guide played by TV SILICON VALLEY’s Zach Woods explaining some paranormal behaviour before poltergeists appear. The story then moves on to professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) who reunites with friends (Melissa McCarthy, Kate Mckinnon) to rid NYC of a ghost invasion. The film contains no boring romances, no life lessons or unnecessary drama – just plain silly fun with a female twist.

GHOSTBUSTERS runs out of steam at parts but the audience knows that another funny part will arrive just around the corner. A lot of the humour is provided by the 4 main actresses, who for the most part work well together to keep the laughs coming fast and furious. McKinnon is the most manic of the four, playing the scientist inventor, whose technical gibberish can hardly be understood at times. But who cares? Though Wiig plays the most serious of the four, the professor who loses tenure and has to return to fighting ghosts, she provides a good number of laughs. In fact, the film’s two funniest laugh-out jokes come from her, in the segment where she is manically runs to warn the mayor (Andy Garcia) having dinner of the ghost invasion. McCarthy overdoes it as usual. She does look funny in her oversized jumpsuit, showing that she is game in having a good time. One can get too much of her, while one wishes there is more of Leslie Jones, the reluctant subway employee who joins the group.

The special effects work well. A number of ghosts look like the ones from the original. But the film might be too scary for younger children.
The new GHOSTBUSTERS at least learns from the original. The script by Katie Dippold improves while it can. The original theme song recorded by Ray Parker, Jr. back in the day that was the number 1 hit that stayed on on the billboard for 3 weeks is used at various points in the movie, obviously both reminding and reviving audience’s fond memories. Improvements in the film include adding a human villain, the one that opens the portal for the ghosts. Another is the addition of a new character, Kevin (THOR’s Chris Hemsworth) the male equivalent of the pretty dumb blonde secretary. Kevin has major problems answering the telephone while carrying on normal duties, creating more problems when he becomes possessed. Hemsworth displays a surprising flair for comedy and dance.

GHOSTBUSTERS definitely pleases as evident during the promo screening I attended. It takes quite a lot to both getting the audience to applaud as well as to stay for the closing credits.

 

 

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