Primed at the ready for a whole new generation, Ghostbusters introduces Abby Yates (McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Wiig) as scientist and authors of a book on paranormal phenomenons such as ghosts. When they speak for the first time in years, a reporting comes in and alongside Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon), they investigate. When further sightings are reported by Patty Tolan (Jones), who later joins their team, the 'ghostbusters' are the ones to answer the call, as many others try to hide the conspiracy, and they must attempt to save New York when the ghosts from across time are released into the streets. As well as cameos from a number of the original cast, Chris Hemsworth is the other prominent member of the reimagined group as dimwitted receptionist Kevin Beckman.
2016s revival is a concession of a number of genres that keeps the film continually exciting and engaging throughout; comedy, (supernatural) horror and elements of action are all present in the film which means the film has something for everyone, no matter age, gender or outlook on the prospect of the remake. The key piece of the entire film, however, is the cast and I am thrilled to report that they are absolutely stellar choices; the four leads carry an incredible dynamic throughout, built over the course of the film and they willingly carry the torch as a tight, cohesive unit where each have their own role to play in the team. One of the most excellent things about it is that no one really outshines the others; whilst I am paticularly fond of McCarthy, no one steals the limelight from anyone else and each have their own figurative moment to shine, especially during the climatic final act. Aside from the four leads, Hemsworth is also genuinely amusing as Kevin and takes some of the films biggest laugh-out-loud moments.
Visually, the film is also an absolute treat. Drenched in colour and with some impressively slick special effects, colour seeps through the screen with abundance and the 3D conversion is particularly strong in bringing to life the climatic scene in New York with the ghosts coming out from left, right and centre. Director Feig's gifted filmmaking ability ensures that the film is bright and loud and everything that a summer blockbuster should be, with 'Ghostbusters' standing out from a relatively weak bunch (particularly this uninspiring mid-summer stretch); yes, the special effects can be too-animated on occasions and perhaps lack some sophistication, but that's more than likely due to the actual design of the ghosts and the four-quadrant targeted appeal of the release. When sparks fly, the film really excels and the visuals help inject the film with colour, exuberance and the essence of a fun summer blockbuster.
It has been well-documented that the film has run into difficulty regarding the reception from the general public and that sense of carrying the weight of the franchise on its shoulder prevents the film from truly capturing its own identity. This, being a remake, isn't so much of a problem but the storyline occasionally feels a little uninspired and the middle act spends too long setting up what is going to happen that it loses a little momentum heading for the final act, which really recaptures the energy and excitement of earlier scenes. In terms of the comedy, considering the talent involved, it deserved to be more consistent, but juggling so many genres and the limited PG-13 (12A) certification, compared to McCarthy and Feig's usual R (15) rating, its understandable that the comedy may have needed to tone down and take a step back to appeal to everyone, especially when the $144 million production budget is taken into account (which may be the film's Achilles heel)*.
Ghostbusters succeeds mainly because it is so much fun, all of which is captured by the incredible cast, who bring so much excitement and life to it. It's as feel-good as comedies come now a day, interrupted by a few genuine scares every now and then. (*) Daringly progressive and revamped in a way that could pave the way for more female-led blockbusters over the coming years, the film has a lot at stake and I am truly championing it to succeed, critically and commercially. I urge people to go and check it out on the biggest screen possible as the gratifying effects really need to be experienced in the biggest way possible to truly capture the films supernatural magic and bundles of fun it has to offer. Don't let the naysayers put you off pure entertainment and breezy enjoyment this summer.
In a rather underwhelming summer blockbuster season, Ghostbusters stands out because it is so much fun, and sometimes, that is all you need in a film.
(ORIGINAL - 8/10)
Update: I watched the film for a second time and I have to say that - it was even better! I was so concerned about not liking the film the first time that it stopped me truly enjoying the experience. Being able to let that go and just enjoy the film increased my love for the film. As such, I've increased my rating for it too.