The Coincidental Critic

Exploring the art of storytelling.

Ghostbusters: It May Not Be the Best Film You See This Summer, But It Will Be the Most Important


When I saw the first trailer for Ghostbusters, I became very excited.  It looked hilarious and was staring some of my favorite comedians.  I’m not a huge fan of the original Ghostbusters, but I knew this reboot was something special.  Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the film as much as I had hoped, but it was so refreshing to see some real women kicking butt on the big screen.

The Film

The special effects in Ghostbusters were awesome.  The ghosts were diverse and detailed.  They reminded me of the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion ride at Walt Disney World.  In particular, I loved the eerie images of the apparitions trying to break through the mirrors in Rowan’s lair.  Another stunning visual was the ghostly Macy’s parade.  Those balloons were beautifully frightening–creepy, yet mesmerizing.  I loved all the different colors in the film, especially during the final battle scene.  The glowing blues, reds, and greens illuminated New York City in an aesthetic way.

I appreciated that the writers attempted to explain the science in Ghostbusters.  The characters were constantly talking about ions and protons.  The scientific jargon went way over my head, but it made the story more believable.  Also, I liked that the women used different gadgets rather than just the proton packs, making the battle scenes more interesting to watch.

The two standouts in Ghostbusters were Leslie Jones (Patty) and Kate McKinnon (Holtzmann).  They were by far the funniest characters and the most interesting.  They were my favorites in every scene.

Ghostbusters was funny, but it wasn’t funny enough.  Many of the jokes fell flat and their delivery was slow and awkward.  I wanted to laugh more than I actually did.

One of my pet peeves is when trailers show lines and scenes that aren’t in the final cut of the film.  This was the case for Ghostbusters.  In fact, the trailers were funnier than the actual movie because they included better jokes that unfortunately never made it into the film.

I wanted more Kevin.  He was hilarious in the trailers, but all of his best moments were shown in the trailers.  The jokes weren’t as funny the second time around.  There was nothing new and exciting to look forward to in regards to his character, making him a bit of a disappointment.

Easter Eggs

Ghostbusters was filled with Easter eggs nodding to the original film.  There were cameos from the original cast members: Bill Murray as a ghost debunker, Dan Aykroyd as a NYC taxi driver, Sigourney Weaver as a fellow scientist and mentor to Holtzmann, Ernie Hudson as Patty’s uncle, Annie Potts as the snarky hotel receptionist, and Harold Ramis honored with a bust and for whom the film was dedicated to.  There was also an appearance by the hotdog eating ghost and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

When the women looked for a place to rent, they stopped at the building from the original Ghostbusters.  Knowing the fact that this was a reboot, I assumed that the women were going to get the place, but then, Erin found out the cost of rent (which of course was way too much for the unemployed women to afford) and they had to go with something cheaper.  It was a humorous twist that poked fun at the outrageous cost of living in New York City.

Another Easter egg in Ghostbusters was the scene when Erin interrupted the mayor at his dinner to inform him about Rowan’s master plan.  The mayor was at an upscale restaurant.  Erin banged on the glass outside the restaurant, trying to get his attention, but none of the guests could be bothered and she was completely ignored.  This scene mirrored the scene in the original Ghostbusters when Rick Moranis’ character, Louis, had a similar encounter at a restaurant in Central Park.

After the credits, the writers included one final Easter egg: Patty heard the name Zule on a recording… Does this mean a sequel is on the horizon?

Welcome to 2016

I liked the reboot of Ghostbusters better than the original.  I related to the characters more easily.  It helped that they were intelligent woman and not sleazy men.

My biggest complaint about the original Ghostbusters film was Sigourney Weaver’s role.  Dana was the sensual damsel in distress and romantic interest who lacked any character development.  Throughout the film, Dr. Peter Venkman attempted to seduce her, and they ended up together at the end after he rescued her.  Dana somehow fell for him.  It was a male fantasy: a guy with an unattractive personality pines after a one-dimensional girl who is way out of his league, yet he ends up with the girl after he saves her life.  In the Ghostbusters reboot, one of the only male characters, Kevin, was possessed by the villain, but he didn’t end up becoming a romantic interest.  There were no damsels in distress.  It was refreshing to see women defend themselves.

It was awesome to see a group of women in lead roles that weren’t stereotypical.  They were just a group of people saving the world; their gender was irrelevant.   These four female ghostbusters are great role models that represent real, diverse women.

There weren’t any films like Ghostbusters (the reboot) when I was growing up, but I wish there were.  This film teaches girls that they can be themselves and do whatever they dream of.  They can be goofy and weird.  They can make mistakes.  They can be ambitious.  They can study science.  They can start their own business.  They can even save the whole city with a group of their friends.  And they don’t need a romantic interest to be happy.  Real women are powerful, complex, unique, and inspiring.

As progressive as this film was, it wasn’t enough.  I’m not a fan of the concept of reboots.  Whether the film stars men or women, a reboot still just reuses old material.  Since they did create a reboot however, I am glad that they changed the main characters to women, proving that a ghostbuster can be of any gender.  But we can’t just recreate old films by replacing male roles with females.  Women’s voices need to be heard in cinema.  Women need lead roles in new and original films that explore the female experience.  And in general, we need more original films.  Sequels and reboots are starting to get old and redundant.

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