In 1984, writers Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd and director Ivan Reitman made possibly the best sci-fi comedy of all time. So it was a brave team – led by writer/director Paul Feig and writer Katie Dippold – that would attempt to reboot such a triumph more than three decades later, and a very skilled one that would succeed in making a movie that’s almost as much fun as the original.
Since it is a reboot rather than a sequel, the events of 1984’s movie haven’t happened and it is a new set of scientists that have to convince New York that there are ghouls and ghosts in the city. The new ghostbusters are paranormal expert Abby (McCarthy), tech whiz Holtzmann (McKinnon) and physics professor Erin (Wiig). Three becomes four when subway worker – and amateur city historian – Patty (Jones) joins the team after seeing a ghost herself, and the role of their receptionist is taken by cute but stunningly dim-witted Kevin (Hemsworth).
While this follows a similar path to the 1984 movie – the team comes together, gets their gadgets, finds some ghosts and then everything builds to the special effects bonanza of a finale – the humour is a little broader, and there are some nice twists and turns to distinguish it from its predecessor.
Another difference is, of course, the casting, which sent sci fi fans into a frenzy when it was announced the leads would all be women (and, to all those who complained about that before the film was even completed, go and see it and then call us when you have eaten your words). The four leading actresses are superb and given equal screen time which is a treat, for while you may have seen McCarthy and Wiig in movies like Bridesmaids, it’s actually Saturday Night Live actresses McKinnon and Jones whose characters you’ll come out loving the most. And special plaudits should be given to the boy of the bunch, Chris Hemsworth, who delivers such a funny performance (make sure you stay for the end credits) he should consider ditching Thor’s hammer and taking up comedy full time.
For those who hold the 1984 film close to their hearts, this is a worthy successor that includes lots of smart little references to the original, including cameo appearances from some familiar faces (paranormal and human), and even a souped-up theme song. For those fresh to the world of ectoplasm and class 4 apparitions, this is a really funny, smartly played, science fiction delight. And for every cinemagoer looking for laughs and special effects, this is the first must-see movie of the summer of 2016.
Is Ghostbusters (2016) suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate, and is aimed at older kids and grown-ups. Kids under the age of 9 may find the ghosts scary, especially the first ghost whose face transforms, and the ghost seen in the subway tunnel.