Ghostbusters movie cast: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones
Ghostbusters movie director: Paul Feig
Even at the cost of calling forth the wrath of fans, the 1984 Ghostbusters wasn’t the kind of film we should be discussing 32 years later. The special effects were passable, the jokes occasional, the story not really a parody, and a mix of it all a film that could only survive because of Bill Murray’s zen-like sardonicism, at times even at the cost of the film, because of somehow acquiring a “cult status”, and because of that song.
So what is the problem with the new Ghostbusters again? That it replaces an all-male gang with an all-women one? Yes, the fans of the 1984 film do need to worry, for Feig’s Ghostbusters is an improvement — as much of an improvement, that is, as the film is aspiring to be.
The new scientists exploring paranormal activities kick ass with more style, more science, more fun, more jokes, and even a more pretty face at the reception. The film also manages to put in a semi-back story, gives more of a role to its Black face (though Leslie Jones has had to survive vicious attacks of her own in the process), and builds up to a more satisfying conclusion.
Where Ghostbusters could have done better, ironically, is not being so overawed by the ghost of its predecessor. Apart from characters that are a throwback to the four from the previous film (Wiig standing in for Murray, McCarthy for Dan Aykroyd, McKinnon for Harold Ramis, Jones for Ernie Hudson), it even brings in the predecessors for bit parts. Some of the ghosts too get repeated.
Accomplished comedians all, some of whom have worked before with Feig (Bridesmaids), Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon and Jones share the spoils here equally, unlike Murray dominating the 1984 version. However, the film isn’t all jokes, of course, and so a shout-out for McKinnon, who is smashing as the madcap, zany scientist who wows with an absolutely manic style.
The other standout performance is Chris Hemsworth, who gamingly plays the dumb receptionist to the Ghostbusters and who is the eye candy whom Wiig’s Dr Erin Gilbert lusts for — in another role reversal from the previous Ghostbusters. He is the kind of guy who covers his eyes when a loud sound goes off, and because he looks so good, just too good, no one really cares.
When the ghosts come around, still covered in slimy-green ectoplasm, Andy Garcia surfaces as the mayor who won’t hear any bad news. But here too, his aide, a woman with perfectly white clenched teeth and perfectly coiffed side parting, steals the show.
The men, really, don’t stand a chance.