Reviewed by: Andrea Mullaney

Paul Feig's all-female Ghostbusters remake
"This is a blockbuster which puts the emphasis firmly on entertainment by showing its heroes enjoying their roles, not suffering through angst." | Photo: Columbia Pictures

The reinvention of averagely-amusing, mostly-memorable-for-the-theme-tune Eighties flick Ghostbusters as one of the great classic comedies of cinema has been strange; the peculiar online vitriol sustained over the year covering the rebooted version’s journey to the screen has been even stranger.

But never mind those whiny internet fanboys who threw a tantrum over icky gurls being allowed to put their yucky lady-hands all over the beloved proton-packs of the original!

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What most more normal cinemagoers must wonder is whether replacing the four ghostbusting chaps with women actually adds anything to the film, or whether this is just another remake crammed with knowing cameos, in-jokes and convoluted attempts to combine all the bits people remember with a modernised story. The truth is, it’s both. Paul Feig’s film is so determined to be liked that it dutifully ticks off and plays with the audience’s expectations as different aspects – the logo, the song, the equipment, the main ghosts – are introduced and familiar faces pop up in unfamiliar guises.

But in taking a new slant on the basic story of maverick scientists who want to convince everyone that the paranormal is real (and then save the city from the results), the female cast isn’t just a novelty twist. It’s genuinely refreshing to see these gals revel in the adventure and put their brains and brawn to work in a proxy for everyone who’s ever had to prove themselves in the face of scorn.

This is a blockbuster which puts the emphasis firmly on entertainment by showing its heroes enjoying their roles, not suffering through angst - all too few big mainstream films do this (the last one that comes to mind is 2014’s Guardians Of The Galaxy) and it’s an infectious, engaging feeling after a clutch of dour superhero sulk-fests.

Led by Melissa McCarthy’s no-nonsense Abby, with Kirsten Wiig as her old schoolfriend and fellow ghost-believer (returned to the paranormal fold after an attempt to suppress her true beliefs to appease the sceptical academic world), along with demented gadget nut Holtzmann (new star Kate McKinnon in the closest analogue to Bill Murray’s dry mania) and Leslie Jones’ plucky non-scientist who throws herself into the mix, the quartet are just absolutely delighted every time they find more evidence of ghosts. They’re certainly not afraid of them or of getting their hands, bodies and everything else dirty with gooey ectoplasm. They want to save the city, sure, but mainly they just love ‘busting ghosts.

Chris Hemsworth has a fun turn as their imbecilic receptionist, but it’s the women’s show and they carry it easily, with a nice rapport and great comic timing. Intriguingly, Abby and Holtzmann appear to be a couple – cue Reddit hissyfit meltdown – but nothing much is made of it, while the villain of the piece’s resemblance to an internet troll must be a prescient coincidence. Like its begetter, this new Ghostbusters is destined to spawn a thousand toys. It doesn’t reinvent cinema or attempt to do anything more challenging than give an audience a good time, but at that it succeeds admirably.

Reviewed on: 14 Jul 2016
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A team take on a ghost invasion of Manhattan.
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Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig, based on the 1984 film by Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Karan Soni, Bess Rous, Steve Higgins, Leslie Jones, Neil Casey, Dave Allen, Katie Dippold, Zach Woods, Ed Begley Jr., Charles Dance, John Milhiser, Ben Harris,

Year: 2016

Runtime: 116 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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