So, fanboys, the “Ghostbusters” remake is here. And you all know it’s as bad as you have been saying, an abomination on the sanctity of the “Ghostbusters” franchise — with GIRLS, no less — and, well, you’re just not going to accept this movie.
Well, you’re right. It is an affront to the original. But also shut up, because it’s pretty damn good, too.
Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, a professor looking to earn her tenure, who is menaced by a ghost of her past. Her old partner, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), re-published their book on the paranormal from years ago, which she co-wrote as a joke.
She confronts Abby, who has since paired with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to create actual ghost-tracking equipment. Later joined by Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), the quartet finds it can, in fact, fight and capture spirits, and there you go.
So yes, there are many, many nods to the original, from cameos from most of the original cast to increasingly awkward beats that parallel the first film. These moments feel forced, deflecting momentum before it builds.
And the half-baked bad guy, Rowan North (Neil Casey), ranges from ridiculous to moronic, planting “bombs” around the city that spark paranormal activity and leading to an overblown climax that does too much. Rowan is frankly a weak bad guy there just to act as an intermediary between the ghosts and the Busters, and some body-hopping moments are also a bit weak.
But hold on just a second, haters. On its own merits, “Ghostbusters” has more than a few great moments, particularly through the four principals. McKinnon owns the film as Holtzmann, and injects her unique brand of comedy as a manic take on Egon Spengler with perhaps just a touch of Louis Tully. She draws the most consistent, hardest laughs throughout.
Another dichotomy is in the person of Chris Hemsworth, who plays himbo secretary Kevin, who can’t do any part of his job right and with whom Erin is smitten. He provides both some of the film’s funniest, and worst, moments in that role.
The ghost-fighting weapons take Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd’s creations to the next level, tweaking the famous proton packs and traps while adding an array of other devices and innovations the original films couldn’t have dreamed of budgeting to create.
It all leads to a finale that, while it nods to the original several times, takes great pains to be different from its predecessor, with dozens of ghosts or different types flying around as the Ghostbusters struggle to take them all down.
Maybe it’s ironic, then, that director Paul Feig and his script are the weak links in this film. He doesn’t show a knack for action sequences, and he frequently stumbles in the comedy as well, which is more an indication of a script in need of tweaking than an indictment of talent involved.
The comedy at times feels neutered compared to the raunch of Feig’s other films (“Bridesmaids,” for one), but it’s hardly a surprise that “Ghostbusters” is aimed at young girls, and rightly so (my daughter, for one, has never laughed so consistently — or so hard — at a movie in her life).
Overall, this reboot of “Ghostbusters” is a success, riding on the strength of its leads, who are the female equivalents of their 1984 counterparts (to the point that the scene of their origins are the same late-night weekend sketch-comedy show).
In short, all of you who refuse to see the movie, or are acting like asses because you can’t stand to see women in positions similar to the giants who preceded them, just shut up. Go watch the movie. You might find yourself enjoying it.