Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

I loved Halloween when I was a kid, and I still love it as an adult. The only drawback is the annual ritual of getting the “Ghostbusters” theme song stuck in my head when it comes on the radio. For me, Ray Parker Jr. deadpanning, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!” only once is a surefire way to get it playing repeatedly on a loop for the next few hours. So I figured this would happen when I went to see the remake starring Melissa McCarthy, but decided it was a small price to pay. Fortunately, a character quotes the line in an amusing cameo, but that’s it. Though the original version of the song plays during the end credits.

Melissa is a “paranormal enthusiast” (thank you IMDB for the correct description of her job), who co-wrote a book on ghosts (First line: “This is not a joke.”) with her friend, Kristen Wiig, who is now trying to make tenure at an Ivy League school and does not appreciate having the book surfacing on Amazon. Melissa teaches at a community type college and builds ghost-busting machines with her colleague, Kate McKinnon, who’s an actual scientific genius. Meanwhile, several paranormal sightings have been seen in the Manhattan area, including on the subway tracks by Leslie Jones’s city employee, and she eventually joins the trio, who though doubted and discredited by the mayor among others, hole up above a Chinese restaurant and hire hunky but dim Chris Hemsworth (having fun riffing on his pretty boy image) as a secretary. Chris also has experience making logos, though he has a hard time getting the hang of answering the office phone. While the women prepare to fight the ghosts, a bitter outcast (Neil Casey) is busy rejuvenating tormented souls and turning them into monsters bent upon wreaking havoc in the city. I didn’t understand a world of the scientific jargon they used, but they ultimately manage to triumph. On the way, they run into many of the original “Ghostbusters” cast members, who pop up with regularly.

People who prefer quiet audiences should maybe wait until DVD, as it’s likely veteran viewers of the first will emit audible hoots of recognition during the cameos. One non-human cameo comes in the form of the Marshmallow Man, and there is plenty of green slime, as there was in the first. At first the special effects look like what happens when Voldemort and Harry Potter aim their wands and try to kill each other, but they get better as the movie goes on.  I personally found the remake as funny, if not more hilarious than the original and would definitely go see a sequel.

 

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