We should get the elephant in the room out of the way first. "Ghostbusters" 2016 is a reboot of the classic 1984 film and the less classic 1989 sequel (plus numerous video games and an animated series). The four new Ghostbusters are also women played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.
When the reboot was announced, a very vocal (and male) online contingent decried how it would ruin their childhoods, and when it was announced that the new Ghostbusters would be women, that vocal contingent went absolutely batsh*t. Over the last few years, as women have been more vocally and visibly part of geek and nerd culture, this contingent has fought hard against what they see as an encroachment on their territory.
The "No Girls Allowed" mindset has been around long before the internet, and with 2014's Gamergate controversy, the continued harassment of online female critics, plus the instant dismissal and hatred of a female "Ghostbusters," it's hard to imagine geek culture becoming more progressive any time soon.
The argument that 1984's "Ghostbusters" is a classic and shouldn't be remade is a valid one, but without remakes we wouldn't have John Carpenter's "The Thing" or David Cronenberg's "The Fly." Since the "Ghostbusters" franchise hasn't had an entry for 27 years, maybe we should be surprised it took so long. One thing that should be made clear is that "Ghostbusters" 2016 is not remotely a remake, but a full reboot of the entire universe. Many of the actors from the original films show up here, but they are playing new characters, thus crushing the dreams of anyone hoping to see a reunited Venkman, Stantz and Zeddemore fighting ghosts.
The plot is the typical franchise reintroduction of the premise: the main characters meet, and then take on, an ever-escalating series of ghosts. The four leads have perfect chemistry together, and the entire film screams for further "Ghostbusters" films with these characters leading the charge. In a brilliant bit of meta-screenwriting, the villain is a typical Reddit misogynist who doesn't believe for a second he can be stopped by four women.
Everything isn't completely perfect. The script has some groan-worthy dialogue, and some of the jokes land with a huge thud, but the film moves at such a brisk pace that whatever doesn't work is quickly replaced by something that does. "Ghostbusters" 2016 actually works much better as an action/horror movie than it does a comedy, although there are belly laughs throughout.
Kate McKinnon steals the movie with both hands as Holtzmann, a brilliant and deranged engineer. She is the group's Q, and her absolute glee at scientific discovery is something to behold. McKinnon will be a box office force after this film.
"Ghostbusters" is an all-too-rare female-led franchise film that deserves to be seen before being judged. As a massive fan of the original, I was skeptical about a reboot, even though I became more excited as it was cast. Imagine how terrible it would be if it was Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan in the jumpsuits, and then tell me how bad your childhood is now.
Dir. Paul Feig
Now playing at Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX