A reboot of Ghostbusters that replaces the men with women, can it work? Yup! Lets get this out of the way before I go on, I grew up on Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. The first film is forever burned into my mind as a classic and it would take a lot to make a reboot be better than the original. The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot does not get to the level of being better than the original, but it is still pretty good in its own way. I did not see the theatrical cut of the film (in the theaters or on Bluray). This write up is for the extended cut on 4K UltraHD Blu-ray.
In this reboot of Ghostbusters, we meet the four ladies who will form the Ghostbusters: Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wigg), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). We also meet their secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth). The story for the reboot does not follow the original’s storyline at all, but there are cameos and hints throughout the film that give homage to the original film. The film does loosely follow the original in that there are three scientists that are on the hunt for ghosts, they are helped by a street smart MTA agent who knows New York City. There seems to be an explosion of ghosts in NYC, no one really knows why, but Gilbert, Yates and Hotlzmann have the tech to detect and fight off the ghosts. The antagonist shows up and his motive for doing what he is doing is basically world domination. It is not much, but it is enough to carry the film forward.
The thing that surprised me about this film is that Wigg and McCarthy really do not get the best lines or even the best parts. The highlights of the film are McKinnon, Jones and most especially Hemsworth. McKinnon’s Holtzmann is one weird character that at some points gets annoying, but she is always skating the line between annoying and funny. Her character grew on me. Jone’s Patty was fantastic and had some of the funniest lines (“Man it smells like burnt bologna and regrets down here.”). But, really it is Chris Hemsworth who completely steals the movie with his empty-headed character Kevin. I never knew that Hemsworth had some comedy gold in him. Hemsworth is the reason to see this film.
The thing that this film lacks is story and while the characters are decent, they are nothing like the characters from the original. The film seems to have aimed less at having a good coherent story with great characters; rather it spends most of its efforts on special effects and action. While the specials effects and action are great, I wish that there was a little more focus on the story and characters. Speaking of the special effects, the 4K UltraHD Blu-ray (and I assume the Blu-ray) uses full use of the screen to give a faux-3D effect. The film has an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (which means that on widescreen TVs there are black bars above and below the picture). What the transfer for the film does on disc is that some of the special effects (ghosts and photon rays) extend outside of the 2.35:1 ratio into the black bars. It is something that made me rewind to double-check that it was happening the first time it happened. It is one of the coolest things to see and is quite a surprise when I first saw it.
So, the question is: Was a reboot of Ghostbusters really needed? No, not really. Was this reboot worth watching? Yes, definitely. The problem with this film is that the original Ghostbusters exists. If I don’t take into account that there was an original Ghostbusters, I would give this film more love. But, it is hard to write about this film without having the original in the back of my mind for comparison, and because of that, this film is good, but not great. That being said, I would definitely watch this film again (probably the next time around being the theatrical version).
Two things: The crazy credits (Kevin dancing) are awesome, so watch them. But, more importantly, stay until the credits are done.
The post-credits scene makes mention of Zull, who is the original antagonist of the first Ghostbusters. This seemingly ties this reboot in with the original film and leaves the door open for a sequel. I look forward to what they will do for a sequel.