The new, all-female Ghostbusters is vastly superior to the 1984 Ghostbusters and is the most entertaining film of the summer. Yeah, we said it. Like those involved with the film, we ain’t afraid of no ghosts or misogynistic internet trolls and we fully stand by our unapologetically hyperbolic statement.
We’re not here to ruin anyone’s childhood but as a female looking back at the original film, its depiction and treatment of women was downright cringe-worthy. From the ghostbusting men’s verbally abusive treatment of secretary Janine (Annie Potts) to the sexed up spiritual possession of Sigourney Weaver’s Dana, and who could ever forget the blowjob given to Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) by a very willing female ghost?! And yet the film is a cultural treasure because it taught boys of a certain age that they didn’t have to look like Batman or Superman, but rather, have scientific minds, hang out with their likeminded friends and still be the hero at the end of the day.
Rest assured that Ghostbusters (2016) director/co-writer Paul Feig doesn’t wish to spurt figurative ectoplasm all over the legacy of Ivan Reitman’s film, opting instead to pay loyal tribute to it while also originating a very accessible comedic commentary on gender politics.
The film stars Saturday Night Live players Kristen Wiig (the meek professor), Leslie Jones (the street- smart MTA employee), Kate McKinnon (essentially the Q of their operation) and recent Feig muse Melissa McCarthy (their nerdy leader) as the titular ghostbusters. While the ladies’ intelligence is never questioned, they’re shunted and criticized by every male they encounter (from Wiig’s boss, played by the legendary Charles Dance, to the mayor, played by Andy Garcia). They’re ordered to capture the ghosts of the city but not to expect any public gratitude for the extraneous work. The ladies answer the call of marginalization and then some.
For a summer studio film, it’s refreshing to see the cultural and social daily injustices towards women addressed head on.
Is the film perfect? Not by a long shot. Its final third is a clunky retread of the original film’s climax (filled with blatant continuity and factual errors), the cameos by the original’s ensemble (save for Rick Moranis) are awkwardly handled and, admittedly, the entire film is a tonal roller coaster. Yet Chris Hemsworth’s delightfully comedic turn as the office’s dimwitted eye candy is a standout and the ladies make this film well worth championing.