Man, there was a lot of online smack talk going around about this Ghostbusters remake long before it was released. From the nerve of filmmakers to (gasp!) cast women in the lead roles, to the placement of minor player/token male Chris Hemsworth at the center of publicity photos, to the sort of goofy but -- gimme a break -- harmlessly fun Fall Out Boy/Missy Elliott theme song, I felt like I needed to cut it some slack and go in with very low expectations.
Turns out, that was unnecessary.
In this installment, much like the original, a trio of scientists (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon) teams up to investigate a spate of frightening paranormal activity in New York City. A subway worker (Leslie Jones) with historical knowledge of the city -- and information that helps lead to the source of problem -- soon joins the team, as does a really attractive, but dimwitted male bimbo (Hemsworth), who is inexplicably hired as the worst receptionist of all time. When everything escalates and thousands of mischievous ghosts descend on Times Square, they load up the proton packs, fire up the hearse, and go kick some serious phantom fanny.
I honestly can’t figure out why critics have been so hard on this movie. The cast is fantastic (they mesh together seamlessly as an ensemble, and as many called it, Kate McKinnon is a total scene-stealer), the special effects are super cool (we saw it in IMAX-3D, totally worth it!), the writing is funny, and the plot remains just faithful enough to the original (with some fun cameos peppered in) to maintain familiarity, while allowing plenty of room for the new characters and storyline to fully develop. Best of all, they let the women be strong, smart, cool, and witty -- how’s that not a recipe for a good movie?!
As you may have noticed, it earned a PG-13 rating. The first ghost encounter might be a little scary for younger kids, and there’s a handful of bad language (just your basic curse words, nothing overly hardcore) and rude humor (gestures and references) scattered about. It’s not excessive, but it’s certainly present. Every parent sets their own specific limits for their kids, but I felt completely comfortable letting my 10-year-old watch it. Partly because I have a strict “emulate what you see or hear in the movies, and you’ll be demoted back to baby rated-G movies pronto” policy, but also because, thankfully, the most cringe-worthy reference went way over his head.
Ghostbusters, which opens this Friday, July 15, is probably the most fun I’ve had in the movie theater all summer. And we’ll definitely see it again as a rental!