Okay, so. Ghostbusters.
First off we’re just gonna get the obvious picture out of the way, because of the clear visual similarities and because a few proton packs would make it far more simple to get those friggin’ Zubat into a Pokeball in Pokemon GO.
Anyhow. While I’ve tried to avoid looking at the “BOOOO GIRLS” comments because seriously who wants to read that, I’m aware that many people were unhappy with the concept of remaking Ghostbusters with women. Mind you, I don’t remember seeing many complaints about remaking Jurassic Park with men (it got some token women, but by that argument there are plenty of side-character men in the new Ghostbusters), but there you have it.
Now, here’s the thing. There are absolutely some conditions under which I would have gotten angry at a female-led remake of Ghostbusters. If, for example, they’d tried to head off the angry males at the pass and cast a handful of hollywood staples — you know, the slim, seemingly-interchangeable ones who are probably great actors with individual human personalities but always get the exact same role, hairstyle and love interest whether it’s an action movie or a romcom — or implemented “girl versions” of the old Ghostbusters plotline and gear (y’know, for the sake of the kids … so the little girls will be able to understand that there are girls in the movie).
Instead this is literally a Ghostbusters movie with female actors instead of male ones. We again got a great crop of comedians known largely from SNL and other small-screen work. They have individual personalities, complexions, and body types, which isn’t really commented on or played to comedic effect aside from the broad initial characterizations of the straitlaced one, the kooky one, the optimist and the civilian. (Note that these are comedy archetypes but not really “girl character” archetypes, because the latter tend to be defined by what kind of love interest said girl is. Unlike even the original Ghostbusters, this movie is not a romance … and frankly the original could have stood to be a not-romance too, no offense to Bill, but dang Venkman was terrible/creepy at flirting.)
Nothing is incongruously pink or form-fitting or missing chunks of fabric. They don’t make a big deal out of the fact that they’re all women, any more than the originals made a big deal of being men, but they’re still feminine in a practical way (Abby apparently keeps her work key on her bra strap so she doesn’t lose it, which frankly isn’t a bad idea). Like most remakes, reboots and sequels made with a bigger budget and/or in an era of better SFX, they jumped on the chance to throw in more/more-involved fight scenes, but frankly that worked for me here. The big showdown with all the new Ghostbuster gadgets was really fun and felt a bit more satisfying … I seem to recall the original involving more blind luck. Now, maybe that was the point — it was a goofy comedy with a goofy premise — but now that we’re all familiar with the source material and the sequels and whatnot, that brief moment of pure glorious ghost butt-kicking and tech-flaunting felt warranted. Even if it’s an obvious opening for a new toy line of Ghostbusters accessories….
An aside of sorts: When I was watching the original Ghostbusters recently, I couldn’t help thinking of how convenient it always is that no matter how much the characters on shows and movies complain about the cost of buying/repairing something, they always seem to have more than enough money to do so in the end, because eew, actually having limited funds would be almost as gross as having to watch a movie where the woman actually has brown frizzy hair and glasses for the whole runtime instead of just until the makeover crew arrives 1/3 of the way through, I guess? So the twist on their new digs in the 2016 movie was a bit of a welcome surprise for me personally as well.
I could dedicate another paragraph to Chris Hemsworth as the beautiful but completely clueless — not “man-clueless,” mind you, like a television hubby who’s afraid of the kitchen, or “girl-clueless” like a stereotypical mechanically-inept female character, or even really “below-average-intelligence clueless” but just UTTERLY USELESS in a gloriously transcendent sort of way — secretary (though the dude has a point, an aquarium is TOTALLY a submarine for fish) … but I guess I just did, and made it a run-on sentence to boot, so there’s that. I think if he’d been played more seriously I miiiight have taken issue with it despite the perfection of the role-reversal, but as it is he’s clearly just comic effect personified. And yet … somehow if you imagine that he’s Thor in-character for the whole movie, it’s still not *entirely* implausible. I would probably watch a “The Adventures of Dumb Kevin” spin-off.
So, if you didn’t notice, I liked the movie. Was it an artistic masterpiece? Perhaps not. Was it funny and entertaining and something I’d voluntarily hazard watching a sequel to? Certainly, and that’s more than I can say for Jurassic World, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Godzilla (1998/2016) (which, yes, were technically based on action movies, but took themselves waaaaay more seriously than the content, or in some cases the source material itself, warranted). The jokes hit, the cameos and callbacks didn’t feel too overblown (*cough*jurassicworld*cough* — talk about ruining childhood memories), and everyone seemed to be having fun. Especially Leslie Jones, because darned if she wasn’t genuinely laughing during some of those scenes. It sucks that some of the undoubtedly self-aware jokes in the movie (the angry YouTube comment about female Ghostbusters, and the “I don’t know if this was a race thing or a lady thing…” when the onscreen audience literally rushes out of the way to avoid supporting Jones’ character) rang all too true in the real world, because there are some days I like to try to delude myself into thinking we’re slightly better than ridiculous ineffectual comic demi-villains….
But enough with the bumming-out. Watch the movie, enjoy the movie, taste the — wait no, that’s Skittles. Anyhow, form whatever personal opinion of it you want, just be cool soda pop.