directed by Paul Feig
(Sony, 2016)

I was a teenager when most of the seminal films of the 1980s were released, and I maintain a die-hard loyalty to all of them, having seen them countless times. The original Ghostbusters remains an all-time favorite.

Ghostbusters 2016 is a fantastic and funny addition to the franchise. Clever writing and a great cast round out a smartly-done movie that doesn't have a single moment of down-time. If you had any doubts as to whether or not women could be action-comedy stars (or nerds and geeks), rest easy. This reboot retains the spirit and energy of the original while introducing four new compelling characters.

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarty) are childhood friends who co-wrote a book about their paranormal theories. As a professor chasing tenure, Gilbert doesn't want any academic blemishes on her record, only to discover that Yates published the book without her knowledge. Confronting Yates about the book after losing her chance at the aforementioned tenure gives Erin the opportunity to restart her friendship with Abby.

After an encounter with an actual ghost, Yates and Gilbert, along with Gilbert's co-worker and engineer, Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon), form the Ghostbusters. Joined by their secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), and former MTA employee Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), the newly created team tries to figure out why ghosts -- very malevolent ones at that -- are appearing more and more frequently. Without spoiling too much, there is indeed an evil genius behind the increasing apparitions, which is why the team finds themselves fighting a master plan that involves wiping most of Manhattan off the map.

There are quite a few amazing CGI effects to enjoy, as well as lots of excellently-paced action and equally great comedic timing. The team is a terrific assortment of personalities that avoids going too far with any stereotypes. There are enough smart one-liners to keep future pop culture references humming along for quite some time. The fight scenes are fantastic and the plot is full of humorous moments well-utilized by the cast.

Ghostbusters is cartoonish enough to be fun and smart enough to be convincing. That's the defining element of both films, really, and it's what makes them both such classics: the combination of slapstick comedy and witty dialogue.

In spite of the generous nods to the past, this "reboot" has such a new feel to it, and is so pleasantly entertaining, that comparison to the original occurs only at the obvious reference points. For the most part, it stands up on its own, both as a solid film and as an introduction of the franchise to a new generation of fans. Ghostbusters is well acted, well done, and well worth seeing.

review by
Mary Harvey

6 August 2016

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