Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Film review: Ghostbusters reboot is an affectionate nod to the original

In this remake, the story is much the same, the ghosts are much the same – only the humour is slightly different, a little cruder.
From left, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in Ghostbusters. Courtesy Sony Pictures via AP Photo
From left, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in Ghostbusters. Courtesy Sony Pictures via AP Photo

Ghostbusters

Director: Paul Feig

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth

Three stars

When the first trailer for co-writer/director Paul Feig’s all-female reboot of Ghostbusters landed, fanboys freaked and the vitriol spilled from keyboards like projectile slime from a netherworld ghoul.

So is it an abomination? In a word, no. Reuniting with his Bridesmaids stars Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, Feig’s film is an affectionate nod to the 1984 original with added zip, courtesy of the ­special-effects department.

The story is much the same, the ghosts are much the same – only the humour is slightly different, a little cruder.

The story begins with Manhattan physics professor Erin Gilbert (Wiig) reconnecting with Abby Yates (McCarthy), her ­college friend and co-­author of a book on the paranormal.

The publication haunts Erin, so to speak, to the extent that she has given up the ghost of any hopes of securing tenure as an educator. Then some spectral encounters lead her to team up with Abby and her loose-cannon colleague, Holtzmann (Kate ­McKinnon).

The Ghostbusters – although initially they do not call themselves that – are soon moving into a room above a Chinese restaurant, keen to trap a ghost and study it.

They hire useless, but handsome, receptionist Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) and further add to their numbers when they meet subway worker Patty (Leslie Jones), who has her own ghoulish encounter when a demented loner called Rowan (Neil Casey) takes to the tracks to unleash a spectral presence.

Co-produced by Ivan ­Reitman, who produced and directed the original, Feig’s version has the stamp of approval from the surviving members of the original cast, with at least five notable cameos – the most significant being Bill Murray as a ghost debunker (the others are Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts). Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man also make an appearance.

With a final act that is a splurge of special effects, the script feels caught between paying homage to the original and forging its own identity as something new.

This version benefits from the presence of Hemsworth, who is hilarious as the ham-fisted, narcissistic receptionist. McCarthy and Wiig are on relatively restrained form, funny but not Bridesmaids-level funny. However, it is Saturday Night Live star McKinnon who steals the show – her talent is no apparition.

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: July 13, 2016 04:00 AM

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