Year of Release: 2016
Director: Paul Feig
Screenplay: Kate Dippold and Paul Feig, based on the 1984 film Ghostbusters by Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth
Running Time: 116 minutes
Genre: Comedy, action, science-fiction, supernatural
This is probably the most controversial film of the year. Ever since it was announced, it has fired up the more misogynist corners of the internet. Every time there is a remake of a beloved film, and the 1984 Ghostbusters is seen as a modern classic, than there will be controversy, but there is an additionally ugly side to the hatred directed at this, because a lot of people are angry about the fact that the Ghostbusters are all women.
Dr. Erin Gilbert (Wiig) is a professor of physics at Columbia University and is hoping for tenure. However, a book that she has co-authored with fellow scientist Dr. Abigail Yates (McCarthy) stating their belief in the supernatural, and which Gilbert has since tried as hard as possible to distance herself from, has reappeared on-line. Gilbert approaches Yates, who is studying the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon). After the trio witness a ghost for themselves, Erin excitedly affirms her belief in the supernatural on camera, and the clip is posted online, resulting in her getting fired. Yates and Holtzmann are also fired when they ask their Dean for more money. They decide to go into business for themselves as paranormal investigators dubbed "Ghostbusters", alongside ex-subway worker Patty Tolan (Jones) and dim-witted receptionist Kevin (Hemsworth). However as the number of paranormal occurrences in New York City increase, the Ghostbusters soon realise that something very bad and very powerful is being released.
This is a hugely entertaining film, and very funny, probably funnier than the 1984 original which, good as it is, really hasn't aged very well. The film references the original frequently and many of the stars of the previous films appear in cameo roles, however it stands on it's own and is a very different film entirely. The special effects are spectacular and the film is well acted with Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon being especial standouts. Some of the pacing is a bit uneven and Kristin Wiig in particular, could do with more jokes.
This is an important film because it is a mainstream action franchise with all-female leads that more than passes cartoonist Alison Bechdel's test for female representation. It's great that this film is out there and I think that in thirty years time this may be seen by women with the affection that the original is seen by men.
Some people have commented that since there is an all-female Ghostbusters there should be an all- male one. Well, there are two already from 1984 and 1989. Which are still readily available, for fans of the originals, fear not, the remake hasn't spirited them away.