In fact, I'd go so far as to say I *hated* the fact that the new Ghostbusters was going to be a reboot. I wanted a continuation, a legacy, a sequel to the original's brilliance, not some modern replacement.
I held out hope, though, because an all-female 'bustin team made me happy to be alive. Good or bad, I told the perpetual naysayers, this movie will show little girls they, too, can be ghostbusters - so that's already a win.
But I was still scared. Please, I thought, Paul Feig, don't prove the patronizing fanboy jerkfaces right.
The first trailer did little to assuage my fears. I was still hopeful, and I put on a brave face, but inside I have to admit a small part of me was squeaking "ohhhh noooooooo." Gross body humor? Literal gun licking? A possessed 'buster? "Nooooooooo!"
The second trailer was better, though, and I started to actually look forward to opening day. I kinda liked the new theme song, even when it seemed the entire internet haaaaaated it. At conventions I found proton-packing purists - women AND men - who were so excited they were already making the new props and costumes. They helped remind me how FUN this is - how it's supposed to be fun! - and that the haters did not speak for all hardcore fans.
So now... let's talk about the movie.
Given that I sat down expecting the quality of that first trailer, I will tell you I was BLOWN AWAY by the first 30-40 minutes. As in, I spent that entire time with my jaw either hanging open or in the biggest, goofiest grin. It was just SO GOOD, you guys. The opening sequence is genuinely scary, beautifully shot, and could not be a more perfect prologue.
The character intros are equally pitch-perfect, as we get just the right amount of back story before being thrown back into the ghostly action.
But best of all, it feels completely new. This is not a re-hashing of the original, regurgitated scene-for-scene like I dreaded. This is not an attempt at a replacement. This is a new direction, with a different approach. Almost nothing feels familiar, and that's a good thing. It lets you get lost in the story, and when the rare homage pops up - like the original logo, or a snippet of piano - it's actually a bit startling!
I don't think it will surprise you that, of the four leads, Kate McKinnon is the standout. Quirky, brilliant, and with a "let-it-all-burn" gleam in her eye that keeps you guessing, her Holtzman is definitely going to be the fan favorite.
Prepare to love this woman.
What may surprise you is that Kristin Wiig and Leslie Jones absolutely kill it, too, with Leslie edging out Kate with some phenomenal one-liners I wish I could share, but won't, because spoilers.
I consider myself a Melissa McCarthy fan, so it pains me to say my namesake character, Abby Yates, was kinda "meh." I found myself wishing Holtzman had more screen time/lines, and Yates, less. McCarthy's lines just weren't as funny, and since she seems to be scolding or complaining much of the time, she comes off less likeable than the other three.
Which reminds me: all those things most of us didn't like in the first trailer? Leslie's histrionics, Kristin's slime jokes, Kate's gun-licking? Those things go by in the blink of an eye in the actual film, and in context, totally work. They're also one-offs, and are not at all what the whole movie is like. It's weird to me that those were the moments the studio chose to highlight, when there are so many better ones! (Oh, and the hated theme song? Plays for about 10 seconds during a "rah rah go get 'em" kind of scene. Which rocks.)
Getting back to the film's flow, I've heard a lot of raving about the Ghostbuster's "third act," but it does take a while after the draggy midsections to recapture the film's spirit - pun totally intended. That said, there's at least one dramatic slo-mo action sequence in there that had me this close to standing up and cheering, so it definitely comes back around.
The Big Bad at the end doesn't compare to Staypuft for me, but to be fair, I'm not sure anything could. I will say the effects are great; just the right mix of silly and scary, and again, they didn't even try to mirror the original's finale, which I appreciate. (We saw it in 3D, btw, which was cool for the finale especially, but overall I don't think it's necessary.)
- The explanation for WHY ghosts are suddenly popping up all over NYC is better than the original film. That's right, BETTER. (And if memory serves, even ties in a little from the video game.)
- The original cast cameos are mercifully brief and lovingly done. (Stay 'til the very, VERY end of the credits.) In fact, keep your eyes peeled during the first 10 minutes for a sweet Harold Ramis tribute.
- A little side-tracky, but Holtzman's necklace -which I couldn't stop staring at the whole movie, but didn't "get" until an hour later in the car ride home - was a definite highlight for me. Let's see if you can tell what it is from this photo:
(OK, because John's insisting - probably because this made him laugh really, really hard - here's the actual dialogue the moment I "got" her necklace:
"Yeah, I loved it, but I still don't understand the U. At first I thought it was a science thing, like for Uranium? 'Cuz her name doesn't have a U in it. Plus there was a screw behind it, which seems really...OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH SCREW YOU IT MEANS 'SCREW YOU' I'M AN IDIOT.")
As for negatives: Ghostbusters feels a little too long, some (though not as much as you'd expect) of the humor falls flat, and the finale, while good, doesn't have that epic, toe-tapping, feel-good vibe of the original. You could chalk that up to waiting through 10 minutes of credits for all the extra scenes, though. (Which you should still do.)
So, TL; DR?
It's less a reboot and more a completely new story with a few original GB homages thrown in. It won't ruin your childhood, I promise.
GO SEE IT.