♫ When there’s something strange, in your neighborhood. Who ya gonna call? ♪
Shout it with me now – GHOSTBUSTERS!
I grew up watching the original Ghostbusters and remember being both a little terrified and thrilled by it. It came out when I was only four and I most definitely saw it when I was way too young. It gave me nightmares for months, but even then I still wanted to watch it. Fun fact: it’s also the movie that taught me my first swear words. My parents were thrilled, I tell ya.
The newest reinvention of Ghostbusters takes the original movie and gives it a huge facelift – namely by swapping out the all-male ghostbusting team for a female cast and swapping the ditzy secretary to Chris Hemsworth. (Seriously, watch it just for that – so funny.) While the basic storyline stays the same, the locations and ghosts get an update as well, making the story more relevant to this decade of viewers.
Erin Gilbert is a recognized physicist working at Columbia college and is trying her best to fit in, and more importantly, be treated as an equal among her peers. Needless to say, this goal is challenged when her old friend and fellow physicist continues to push a book about ghosts the two of them wrote years before.
In a desperate attempt to get Abby to pull the ridiculous book down, Erin agrees to help Abby with a paranormal investigation of a haunted mansion where they witness and get slimed by a very real ghost. The footage is posted online and Erin loses her job.
With nowhere else to go and a new found excitement for the paranormal, Erin agrees to join the team and they start taking calls for other ghost sightings, significantly more sightings than what should be happening. As they work through the different cases, they realize that the sightings follow along ancient supernatural ley lines and there is something much bigger going on.
At the same time, the Feds join the picture trying to publicly denounce the Ghostbuster’s work to prevent a panic, all while still needing their help. Then, a famous ghost debunker, played by Dan Ackroyd, tries to prove them as phonies as well, only to be tossed out a window by a ghost that one of the Ghostbusters release to prove him wrong.
Turns out, our villain Rowan, has been planting devices around the city that attract ghosts in order to charge his mega device. This ultimately will give him power over all ghosts and earn him the respect and attention he failed to achieve on his own. The Ghostbusters must stop him before all of New York is swallowed into a vortex of doom.
If you want to know how it ends, you best go watch it.
I literally have avoided this movie because I worried that it wouldn’t do justice to the original, or worse, just be gross and stupid. I was wrong. In the end, I loved what they did with the story itself and how they crafted each of the characters to serve very different roles. It definitely helps that the entire cast is populated with amazing comedians and actors. The Ghostbusters themselves are entirely composed of ladies from Saturday Night Live.
The original Ghostbusters skirted some fairly adult material and I had concerns for this one possibly going down that route as well. Instead, it pulled way back on the weirdly sexual themes contained in the first and made the primary villain a social reject nerd who wanted attention – something far more relatable than an all powerful androgynous catwoman who needed a “Key Master” to open a portal. Yeah, I didn’t realize that was also a sex thing until way too late.
While the majority of the ghosts have also gotten a very cool CGI facelift, fear not – original Slimer does make an appearance.
This Ghostbusters is significantly more family friendly than the original. There are still instances of sexual themes and ogling and a splash of suggestive dialogue, but it felt far less icky. As for violence, there’s an exciting ghost fighting montage during the climax that’s more fun than intense and at one point I think a guy gets shot in the jewels. There is, however, a suicide by electrocution which some could find disturbing, but happens so fast that no one has a chance to dwell on it.
As for language, yeah, it’s a little worse than the original. While there’s still not a ton, it’s there. It’s mostly minor swears and a middle finger. I didn’t really notice it as a problem.
Should young kids watch it? My youngest was fine, although the first ghost startled him a little bit. No nightmare inducing traumas here. That said, he’s got two older siblings that make sure he’s seen and heard just about everything, so there’s not much that phases him. I’d recommend ages 10+ that are okay with mild swearing and moderate intensity scenes with ghosts.
I give Ghostbusters 2016 a rare 5/5 stars for being well written, well executed, and thoroughly enjoyable.
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