University teacher Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is called upon to investigate hauntings at a mansion due to a book she collaborated upon with scientist Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) – which was published without Erin’s permission. Erin, Abby and Abby’s new associate Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) investigate the house and see a real ghost, yet no-one takes them seriously. However, due to an evil plot masterminded by disgruntled janitor Rowan (Neil Casey), Manhattan is slowly overrun with ghosts, and Erin, Abby, Jillian, and subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) have to take on the supernatural beasties.
The 2016 Ghostbusters is no masterpiece, but it’s hardly the worst film ever, so its trailer doesn’t really deserve the amount of dislikes it got. I wouldn’t say the original Ghostbusters film is sacred and is thus in no need to have a remake, and while the 2016 Ghostbusters has more or less the same plot as the 1984 original, it feels different enough that it doesn’t seem a rehash. It’s fun and entertaining, yet not really that memorable.
The intro does certainly promise a lot of spooky fun: a tour guide’s little prank is contrasted with floating chairs and a room flooding with ectoplasm – though I must admit it was slightly ruined by later jokes about the guide defecating himself during the incident. The main draw of a Ghostbusters movie should be the ghosts, and this film does have a couple of good ones. There are evil parade balloons, anthropomorphised versions of Joker’s weapons from the 1989 Batman movie, where we get our obligatory cameo of Stay Puft. Ghostly armies are commanded by a gangly figure in circus garb – clown-like monsters are always the scariest ones. Rowan’s final form is the Ghostbusters logo ghost by way of The Nightmare Before Christmas (and yes, his defeat comes about due to a laser aimed between his legs). Those ghosts I liked – most of the others simply looked as if they had escaped from Disney’s Haunted Mansion movie.
The main actresses do fine in their roles, especially McCarthy and McKinnon, whose characters enjoy their work so much, some of their enjoyment rubs off on the audience. The funniest character in the movie, however, is definitely Chris Hemsworth as the Ghostbusters’ airheaded secretary Kevin – the rare type of comic character that’s stupid in an amusing way and not an obnoxious way. Most of the other jokes, however, are nothing to write home about, like a running gag about Abby being displeased with her takeout.
Ghostbusters is nowhere near as bad as comments made before its release made it out to be, but don’t expect anything you’ll really remember. It’s passable entertainment, no more no less.