Just so you know, if this is the first time you’ve read one of my reviews, I’m a Gen-X’r who’s seen the original Ghostbusters (1984) in a theater when I was fifteen—and loved it! Now that I’ve laid that out on the table, I was genuinely surprised I liked this remake! I don’t think it’s better than the first one, but the disdain I thought I was going to have for it just never fully manifested as I watched it last night.
When I heard they were nixing the idea of a sequel (I blame Bill Murray for all that) and remaking it my gut reaction was to hate it, which I did, along with the assumption it would flop anyway. Changing the gender of the cast to all-female didn’t bother me, casting the wrong females would, and I’ll admit I have never been a fan whatsoever of Melissa McCarthy. Once I heard Director Paul Feig was directing I just knew McCarthy was going to be in it, and by God I was right. I stayed in that mode all the way up till I saw it last night. I’m still not a big fan of McCarthy, because I just don’t think she’s funny, and basically she doesn’t make movies I watch (I did see her in one of The Hangover movies), but I found her funny in Ghostbusters. And there was also a lot of genuinely funny moments in the movie not involving her, which was also a plus.
The two comic highlights were Chris Hemsworth as their dumb-as-dirt “secretary”, Kevin and Kate McKinnon as ghostbuster Dr. Jillian Holtzmann. McKinnon is a recent discovery having learned of her when she did this hilarious bit on Saturday Night Live (I no longer watch SNL, having stopped way back in the late 90s) as an alien abductee. Plus I find her sexy, she’s that and funny as hell as the eccentric Holtzmann. I love what they did with Hemsworth’s character too. I knew about his role before hand, but I had no idea they were taking the “dumb blond” thing to the nth degree with him. And because of that he’s absolutely hilarious!
The one thing, however, that the movie fails utterly on is the villain. Compared to the original’s it’s mindblowing why they went with a normal human who’s been bullied by society, so he rips open a portal between our world and the next and lets all the spirits out to exact his revenge. The plan and the ghosts were more sinister than him. Stay with the movie through the credits, there’s more playing out, and a final scene at the end teases the return of a certain demi-god the original Ghostbusters dealt with. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on who you talk to, the movie really did flop this summer, putting any potential sequel in the “probably-not-gonna-happen” category. Last I heard they now want to do an animated movie next. And they also believe if the discs sell well, it might happen too. You know, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of this team on the screen.
Best as I can figure Dr. Abigail Yates (McCarthy) reminded me of Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Holtzmann (McKinnon) reminded of Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis), MTA worker Patty Tolan reminded me of Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) and Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristin Wiig) reminded me (loosely) of Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman character from the original.
Since there’s no Gozo The Gozarian in this one there isn’t any giant Stay Puft Marshmellow Man to destroy the city. They did, however, manage to give it a cameo in the form of a possessed parade float. The stand-in for him is the Ghostbusters ghost on the logo. Our main villain who ends up dead (deliberately) during the course of the film and in the final act shape shifts himself into the logo, then enlarges himself into a gigantic Godzilla-sized evil version of it and proceeds to do the kind of damage the Mr. Stay Puft did in the 1984 original.
This version has Gilbert and Yates separated for years until they are forced back together to start busting ghosts. Yates and Holtzmann are already teamed up and have been perfecting their ghost catching technology, and thanks to this female version of Spengler we get more nifty ghostbusting tools. The ghost containment system from the first flick doesn’t get created until the end credits sequence. The tech of actually catching the ghost, the proton packs, and proton guns we’ve all come to know so well through two original cast movies and a cartoon series are pretty much the same in the remake, with just a few little tweaks.
The theme song is pretty much the same too, at least in the opening, but the tweaks to it later on were acceptable. At least with that the filmmakers understand if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, or at the very least, don’t fix it too much and that’s what they stayed true too.
The original surviving cast members from the ’84 version all make cameos: Sigourney Weaver shows up at the very end as Holtzmann’s mentor, Dr. Gorin; Aykroyd shows up as a cab driver; Hudson is Patty’s uncle who runs a funeral parlor where they got the hearse they transformed into their Ghostbusters mobile, he shows up at the end too; and last but not least Bill Murray makes a cameo as paranormal debunker, Martin Heiss, who gets killed during the course of the movie. Slimer even made it into the movie, too, near the end!
Surprisingly I didn’t have a problem with any of the CGI ghosts either. I mean, come on, we all know any Ghostbusters movie in the age of CGI is obviously going to use the technology. The trailers that came out for this remake, though, really made it look unwatchable in my opinion, but I’ve come to expect that from trailers in this “new age.” Cutting trailers and creating posters is a lost art these days, I guess.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.39:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital—English, English SDH, Spanish
Extras included . . .
- Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Paul Feig and Writer Katie Dippold
- Audio Commentary With Editor Brent White, Producer Jessie Henderson, Production Designer Jeff Sage, Visual Effects Supervisor Pete Travers, and Special Effects Supervisor Mark Hawker.
- Gag Reels: Round 1 (7:30)/Gag Reel Round 2 (7:59) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Deleted Scenes ( 9:22) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Extended & Alternate Scenes (21:14) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Jokes A Plenty (34:30)
- Meet the Team (8:04)
- The Ghosts of Ghostbusters (13:57) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Visual Effects: 30 Years Later (15:16)
- Slime Time (5:15)
- Chris Hemsworth is “Kevin” (7:42) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Photo Gallery
Note: The DVD is the only version that doesn’t come with the Extended Cut (15 restored minutes).
This is the third remake of a 80s classic I ended up liking and owning, but I must reiterate none of them have surpassed the original and I don’t believe Hollywood has the ability to do a remake like that, that’s how this Gen-X’r sees it. Those other three are Total Recall: Extended Director’s Cut (2012), the direct-to-DVD remake Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013) and the Season 1 remake of From Dusk Till Dawn (2014). To date I still haven’t had a chance to see that RoboCop (2014) remake.