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Ghostbusters review: a feminist, ballsy and absolutely hilarious reboot

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:48 IST

The original Ghostbusters was THE hit movie of 1984 - an unexpected hit at that.

So while I was excited to see the reboot, there was definitely a level of nervousness because I didn't want the new one to mar my memory of the original.

And luckily, it did not disappoint. The movie is funny, light, well-paced, well-plotted and just a solid rollercoaster of fun - a worthy adversary.

If I really wanted to, I could probably find the odd flaw and have a go at a few jokes that fell flat; but honestly, those flawed moments didn't matter because of how enjoyable the big picture was.

That's primarily because the characters came across as real people (in a fantasy New York with ghosts and all, sure) and not as stereotypes.

In a way it's a feminist dream - centering around the heroism and friendship of four strong women who are not only courageous, but intelligent as well: three out of the four of them are scientists.

This movie, with its all female cast, also comes at a juncture where Hillary Clinton has just become the first woman nominated to run for President of the United States.

It also passes the Bechdel test with flying colours - in fact, there is no real romantic storyline. Sure, Kristen Wiig's character has a thing for Chris Hemsworth - an idiotic-yet-undeniably-handsome receptionist - but that never really heads anywhere. His character, in fact, smartly subverts the stereotype of the (typically female) blonde bimbo receptionist.

The movie also silences the sexist haters who were up in arms about the casting with one subtly brilliant line. When the characters upload a video of themselves ghost hunting to YouTube, they read one of the comments aloud: "ain't no bitches gonna catch no ghosts." It's a brilliant jab at the comments about the film's casting.

Directed by Paul Fieg (Bridesmaids, Spy and The Heat), the movie's plot isn't way different from the original and many of the monsters, like the Stay Puft man and the green blob are the same.

Kristen Wiig plays the modest Erin, who has left her passion for the supernatural behind as she seeks tenure. While Erin desperately wants to be taken seriously, her childhood friend, Abby (Melissa McCarthy), has continued to fervently research the paranormal with the zany Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon).

On the cusp of earning tenure, Erin is forced to confront her forgotten passion and meet with Abby. Inevitably, their reunion thrusts the three women into the profession of paranormal investigations, where they are joined by Patty (Leslie Jones), a subway employee with an extreme interest in New York's history.

With Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) joining as the secretary, the team is in business.

And with increasing reports of paranormal activity happening around the city, the team takes on the task of finding out what is going on and putting a stop to it before things get out of control.

They're also driven to prove that they aren't con artists and that ghosts are real - especially in the face of snarky comments from YouTube commenters, the mayor of New York (Andy Garcia) and the whole city.

An ongoing subplot between McCarthy and a Chinese delivery boy over some wanton soup just adds to the fun.

The acting is fabulous all around, all four women have an easy chemistry - from both doing movies together and working on SNL. But no one in this film, however, rivals the performance from Kate McKinnon. To say that she steals the show would be an understatement as McKinnon's wacky and witty Holtzmann is consistently hysterical. Her impeccable delivery makes each joke a hit.

The special effects aren't anything to complain about, especially if you just saw 1984's film once again like I just did. It's a mix of retro and new, making it a vibrant visual offering.

The verdict

There are flaws that may bother people, but to whoever is hating on the film because of the 1984 and 1989 movies, just a reminder - the original movies still exist. Your childhood isn't being ruined. Your childhood is over.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

First published: 29 July 2016, 6:28 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.