32 years ago, “Ghostbusters” arrived in movie theaters. An unlikely band of heroes- three scientists (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis) and “civilian” Winston (Ernie Hudson)- entertained audiences as they caught ghosts. The film’s combination of humor, adventure, and paranormal activity was a hit.
The 2016 reboot of the franchise from director/co-writer Paul Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold just released on DVD and Blu-ray. The plot follows a story arc similar to the original. A ghost sighting draws three scientists- quirky Holtzmann (Kate MacKinnon), determined Abby (Melissa McCarthy), and conflicted Erin (Kristen Wiig)- into adventure. They’re joined in their ghost hunting quest by Patty (Leslie Jones), an MTA worker, and Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), a clueless but good-looking receptionist. A bullied outcast named Rowan (Neil Casey) is the human villain who wants to use angry ghosts to “cleanse the world” and exact revenge.
This fresh take on the ghostbusting theme is a reboot in the very best sense. The film respects the original while introducing a new crew with unique personalities. Director Feig has assembled a talented comedy team. Wiig, Jones, and McKinnon are all “Saturday Night Live” veterans. This is McCarthy’s fourth, and Wiig’s third, film pairing with Feig as their director. Jones shines especially bright as Patty, who joins the team after seeing a ghost in the subway. She combines humor with an outspoken and caring approach.
Peter G. Travers’ visual effects crew has developed fantastic ghosts. Live actors, costume designers, and CG artists combined to produce the incredibly detailed apparitions. Moviegoers will meet new creations including murderous Gertrude, an angry prisoner, and a dragon-like apparition that makes Ozzy Osbourne (in cameo) think he’s having a flashback. In a nod to the New York City setting, 1920s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons take ghostly form. Other touches include updates on the Ecto-1 hearse and the original logo, both nice “winks” to the first film.
This version’s producing team includes two members of the 1984 film- director Ivan Reitman and actor Dan Aykroyd. Kudos to Feig for including the original’s stars in the reboot. Murray, Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Hudson, Annie Potts, and even the late Ramis (to whom the film is dedicated) all have cameos. So do memorable ghost characters including Slimer and the Stay Puft Man. The ever popular “Ghostbusters” song by Ray Parker, Jr. is covered effectively, too.
Fans of the original 1984 film have nothing to fear. The humorous ghostbusting tradition successfully continues.