When dealing with a reboot of a cult-classic like Ghostbusters, that comes equipped with a rather demanding audience who feel precious over the original production, it’s an uphill challenge for a filmmaker to appease the established core of fans, and yet craft something unique that will inspire those less acquainted with the original movie. But Paul Feig has done a commendable job, and while it’s by no means perfect, the inevitable flaws that derive from this task raise more questions over the need for the reboot to have been made, rather than the reboot itself.
Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, vying desperately to escape her shameful past, where she co-authored a book professing the existence of ghosts, alongside permanent enthusiast Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). When finding out their book has resurfaced online, which potentially jeopardises the former’s career, she confronts her former colleague, only to discover Abby is still obsessed with the authenticity of supernatural beings, now working closely with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon).
Though the purpose of the trip is to put an end to this fantastical theory, the trio are informed of a ghost sighting in an old mansion, and upon their arrival they soon realise that they had been right all along. Forming a new agency to help combat ghosts in New York – hiring the blissfully optimistic Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as receptionist and recruiting Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) as one of the hunters – they have a mighty task on their hands, to not only eradicate all ghosts, but to convince everybody around them that it’s a worthy, genuine cause.
There’s an interesting parallel to be drawn from the fact the four protagonists are embarking on an adventure that cynics think is a complete waste of time, given the backlash against this film being made. It’s one that Feig playfully addresses too, as a handful of meta one-liners against those who doubt the endeavour are littered around this screenplay. But one area that can help to justify this cinematic reimagining is that special effects have improved so drastically, and that pays dividends here, making for a visually gratifying experience – and while impressive in the design of the antagonists, they maintain that distinctive, cartoon-like quality. Feig has established a triumphant tone too, and while many jokes misfire, given we’re dealing with an engaging narrative, and the amalgamation of genres that inform this feature, there’s not that pressure to be laugh a minute – which is handy, because this certainly isn’t.
If pride can be swallowed, there’s bound to be many punters pleasantly surprised by this genial offering, and more inclined to appreciate that having four female Ghostbusters is not detrimental to the project at hand. Their gender is not a prevalent theme either, which in many ways is more progressive, for it’s not discussed throughout or turned into a device that moves this story forward – it just is what it is, and the film is all the better for it.