Spook encounters of a comedy kind

by Gazette Reporter

THE power of nostalgia and the wrath of the fan-boy mentality have led to a world where 2016’s most controversial new release is not a particularly distasteful horror film, but a reboot of a near-universally beloved classic.
In an industry where modern reworkings of cherished franchises are a dime a dozen, Paul Feig’s version of Ghostbusters has stirred up a perhaps-unprecedented degree of vitriol since its announcement.
In a twist that will surprise and undoubtedly anger the naysayers, Ghostbusters is, for the most part, a successful update that maintains the spirit of the original.
Ghostbusters gets by on the comedic prowess of its charismatic stars and a script that is often very funny – much like 1989’s less than stellar Ghostbusters II.
However, like the aforementioned sequel, its high points are often undermined by a plot that gets ahead of itself and a rapid-fire succession of jokes that miss the mark all-too-often.
Despite its flaws, Ghostbusters works – it exists somewhere in-between reboot and reimagining and therein lays its strength.
Kristen Wiig is Erin Gilbert, a university physicist attempting to cover-up her past in paranormal investigation. After discovering a compromising book she co-wrote for sale online, Erin goes in search of her former partner and ex-best friend, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), who is still carrying out paranormal research with the help of Kate McKinnon’s tech-whiz, Jillian Holtzmann.
A run in with a genuine paranormal entity and the uploading of some embarrassing footage on Youtube leads to Erin getting fired. A blessing in disguise, Erin and Abby set out investigating the paranormal full-time, rebuilding their lost friendship.
After a couple of successful hunts, the newly established Ghostbusters uncover a local madman’s plot to unleash a horde of angry undead on New York.
Ghostbusters gives its characters fresh back-stories, motivations and personalities and rarely plays up their gender.
Ghostbusters never quite works as a ‘ghost-busting’ film and relies almost entirely on the comedic strength of its leads. This works to its detriment in the final act, when the jokes stop in favour of action.
Perhaps most jarring are the frequent nods to the original and some strained cameos (a misplaced “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts” from a familiar face is cringe-inducingly forced).
However, Ghostbusters succeeds when it steers clear of its roots and attempts something fresh. Overall, Feig and his stars have produced a surprisingly original take on a classic that will hopefully lay the groundwork for future reboots and silence the fanatical naysayers.
Verdict: 6/10

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