By Bradley Griffith
It’s difficult to successfully remake an iconic movie that is beloved by millions of people. The original “Ghostbusters” hit theaters in 1984 and became an instant sensation. It had a great cast, a great story, and was a lot of fun. This year’s movie of the same name did not create the same kind of stir, but it is an enjoyable movie to rent at home on a cozy Friday night.
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a physics professor at Columbia University on the verge of getting an ever-elusive tenured position when a man interrupts her before a lecture to ask her about a book she wrote. He’s not talking about a physics book, but about a book she co-authored with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) about the existence of ghosts. Erin flips out when she discovers that Abby has placed the book on Amazon.
Erin and Abby were best friends before Erin decided to leave the study of the paranormal and focus on physics. Despite the fact that she was abandoned by Erin, along with nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon), Abby has continued her studies into the paranormal. She and Jillian are trying to catch a ghost to prove once and for all that they do exist.
Abby agrees to remove the book from Amazon only if Erin introduces them to the man looking for help with a ghost in a historic home. Erin makes the introduction, but hangs around long enough to see that the ghost is real, and get slimed. A video of Erin claiming that ghosts do exist hits the Internet and she is promptly fired from the university. Soon Erin has joined Abby and Jillian in their scientific studies to locate, capture, and prove the existence of ghosts.
Luckily for them, New York City is soon overrun with ghost sightings. There are more sightings than they can keep up with. As the calls keep coming in the girls become convinced that something sinister is at work. Something is drawing all the ghosts to New York and they intend to find the source.
The best move the filmmakers made with “Ghostbusters” was to making it similar enough to the original movie to provoke warm memories for everyone who saw it in theaters over 30 years ago, but different enough to be its own movie. The bad guy is different (though lame) and there is no damsel in distress. But they still have the proton guns to capture ghosts in the device of their own making and they drive around in a converted hearse with the same logo on the side.
The most glaring change from the original is that instead of an all-male cast of ghostbusters there is now an all-female set of paranormal pugilists. Even though that’s the biggest change, it had no discernible effect on the movie. The plot lends itself to females and it felt natural and normal to have women ghostbusters. The performances of Wiig and McKinnon stand out among the cast and provide 90 percent of the laughter in the movie. Wiig is quiet and timid while McKinnon is quirky and outlandish. Together they steal the show.
While it is an amusing movie, it’s not even close to the humor and magic that was captured in the original movie. There are several very funny parts, but also many scenes that are just plain stupid. While parts of the original were goofy, it all worked together to form a perfect comedy. The new “Ghostbusters” is a good movie, but it pales in comparison to the original, classic movie.
I will be the first to admit that “Ghostbusters” is better than I thought it would be. That’s not saying much, because I expected it to be a complete disaster. Instead, it’s a fun movie that holds your attention for a couple of hours and provides some good laughter along the way.
Rated PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor.