By Kathryn Whitney Boole
It’s unfortunate that this movie is called “Ghostbusters,” only because that forces us to refer to it as “the new Ghostbusters.” The original 1984 “Ghostbusters” is so iconic and was so groundbreaking for its time that to compare any movie to that one throws it in the shadow of greatness. However, don’t think for a minute that the new “Ghostbusters” is just a rehash of the original. It’s a wacky, creative joyride with a cast that is obviously having the best “playdate” ever while shooting it, and it pays homage to the original movie with surprise subtle appearances of some of the old characters when you least expect it.
I remember being awestruck watching the 1984 “Ghostbusters” when it first came out. For that time it was a truly unprecedented concept with special effects that were cutting-edge. Today people watch a movie with a whole different sensibility than they did 32 years ago. Today similar special effects are mainstream in TV, film and video games. Whether you were alive at that time or not, your communications toolbox is shaped by a paradigm of sensory material coming at you every nanosecond, so different from that of the ’80s audience.
So come into this new “Ghostbusters” with fresh eyes. What you will get from this movie is a great “buddy film” with four zany females and their “dumb blonde” sidekick receptionist in the form of a hilariously comedic Chris Hemsworth. In a role that’s the antithesis of “Thor,” Hemsworth proves he has the slapstick skills to match up with his four “bosses,” who are some of the best comedians in the business: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.
McCarthy brings her split-second timing and sarcastic snappiness, Wiig plays a great “straight man” as always, Jones is larger than life and the most grounded — she brings the team back to focus when needed — and McKinnon is hysterical as a hyperactive motor-mouth physicist and engineer. The ghosts are colorful, scary and fun — and they all have personalities.
Director Paul Feig, who directed McCarthy on “Spy” and “The Heat,” brings his excellent editors from those films, Melissa Bretherton and Brent White, to the team. Cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman also has great credentials (“Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Bridesmaids”). Production designer Jefferson Sage also worked on “Bridesmaids” and “Spy.” Feig co-wrote the story with comedy writer Katie Dippold, who appears as a real estate agent in the movie. The story began as a treatment in 2008 and went through many changes and reboots until the final shoot began in June 2015.
My only complaint with this movie is: Why did they banish Hemsworth’s flash mob scene to the end credits? That scene should have been in the main story. Rhythmically, there’s an editing “black hole” where it should have been, in my humble opinion. You’ll understand when you see the movie and you’ll understand why Hemsworth made it to the seventh episode of the Australian version of “Dancing with the Stars.” So don’t miss the end credit roll.
“Ghostbusters” is good, clean (or, rather, gooey) fun for the whole family, and is obviously destined to grow its own sequels.
Rated PG-13. 116 minutes.
Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. Reach her at email@example.com. For previously published reviews, see https://kwboole.wordpress.com.