It’s been five years since Ghostbusters (2016) came out. It’s been a year since Ghostbusters: Afterlife was supposed to be released (it’s now been pushed to November 2021), since then, the vitriol around an all-female lead cast has dispersed, and perhaps the film can be judged anew.
I thought it was okay when it first came out, and delighted in the fact that a beloved franchise had expanded to embrace female scientists as well. I think the only people who had real problems with it, have some deeper issues that speak to their mental state – most of the real fans, those who I’ve encountered at conventions, and are members of The Ontario Ghostbusters (much like the 501st), embraced it, and support all iterations of the story.
My real issue, originally, was in some of the casting. I love Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig. I had no opinion on Leslie Jones, but was never a real fan of Melissa McCarthy. That being said, on the rewatch, I really liked the way these four women gelled together, letting each have their moments, and their specialties.
In fact, there were a number of things that I didn’t notice the first time through the film, I was so busy trying to avoid judging it like so many others had.
The film, while sharing some beats with the original film, follows the formation of the core Ghostbusters unit in New York, as someone seems to be leaving devices along ley lines running through the city to tear down the barrier between this world, and the ethereal one. In other words, there are a lot of ghosts showing up, which could lead to an apocalypse.
All of this is done by a creepy character by the name of Rowan (Neil Casey). So Abby (McCarthy), Erin (Wiig), Holtzmann (McKinnon) and Patty (Jones) are going to have to bring him down, even if their dumb as a post secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) gets in the way.
There is a level of detail in the film (and the way it plays with the frame), especially the climax that I never noticed before. There’s a temporal shift in the background of the city that I completely missed. And of course, there’s all the nods to the original films, as familiar faces pop up throughout the movie.
Sure, some fragile male egos were butthurt by the film, and sure, it’s not going to appeal to everyone. That doesn’t make it a bad film, it just means it didn’t work for some. And honestly, the first time through, I thought it was okay. Now, watching it five years later, I actually found I laughed a lot more and really enjoyed it. And honestly, I think McKinnon is awesome.
And while it was fun to see members of the original cast pop up throughout the story, it was entertaining enough to stand on its own. With their involvement, it feels like a bit of a blessing, and perhaps people should remember, it’s just a movie, and meant to be fun.
I think the film should have been a continuation of the original series, embracing what had happened before, instead of rebooting it, but it was still fun.
So, who ya gonna call?