When I first read the announcement that there would be a Ghostbusters reboot, I was not particularly hopeful. Knowing how reboots go, I was certain that it would end where most reboots do; unliked and eventually forgotten, relegated to five dollar movie bins and late night TV showings. There was a catch, though, and the catch was what kept me interested; it was to be an all-female cast. This seemed too good to be true, and I was excited.
From the first moment I realized just how furious many men were about this, I knew I was in this for the long haul, for better or worse. Many detractors would dress up their words, would find ways to make it seem like they weren't just angry because of the female cast, they were just mad that their beloved franchise was being rebooted, because how dare anyone touch a classic like Ghostbusters?
But let's be honest here. No franchise is safe in Hollywood today, and far more loved films have already been touched by the remake/reboot/continue story machine. Were you aware, before this, that so many people adored Ghostbusters this much, that so many folks held this movie so dearly? I certainly wasn't. What's so different about this movie being remade that it could spark this level of vitriol? Who knows?
I'm kidding. We know. We all know.
So I've been waiting, ever since the first announcement was made, for this movie. Often nervous and vaguely worried that I was defending it for nothing, scared that I would see it and be let down, I kept up hope. When the first wave of reviews came out, largely positive, my hope grew. Was it possible the movie would actually live up to my own expectations? There were bad reviews, of course, and for some reason, every single one of these reviewers felt the need to FIRST specify that it WASN'T because they hate women, though this really shouldn't be something you have to specify first when you're reviewing a movie. Many of the good reviews weren't glowing, but there were still a TON of good reviews.
So again, I held out hope.
The movie was released, and due to circumstances, I couldn't go opening weekend. Friends did, however, and not a single one of them was disappointed. My hope grew. I went shopping for merch, just to see what was out. Target, who many have been pointing to because they discounted their Ghostbusters toys before the film ever came out, had REMOVED the discounts. You could see where they'd pulled the stickers off. That was it, for me. I had to see this movie.
I got together a group of friends to see it with, and we went.
I adored this film.
I was struck almost immediately by how comfortable I felt, how familiar things were. Not in a bad way, but like visiting a loved one you haven't seen in ages. The characters felt like real people, the kind of folks I would know. I don't think I've ever seen female characters who felt so wholly human. There were so many unflattering shots, so many scenes where the women get to be real people, something usually reserved for male characters. The chemistry between all of the actresses was great, and again, they felt like real people with real relationships.
Most importantly, I laughed almost constantly through the film, and so did the near full theater around me. I can think of one joke in the whole film that didn't work for me. The pacing worked, and in the moments where it wasn't quite what it needed to be, the humor made up for it. I can't say the special effects are, well, anything special, but even top notch CGI gets knocked for even existing, and I can't complain, because it worked. The cameos were fun, if unnecessary, though I was extremely happy with Sigourney Weaver's, and waiting to see where they'd pop up was great. The story isn't incredible, but they were playing it safe. The villain is, I think, a character that will make more sense to the women watching than he does to many of the men, and that's the thing about this whole movie, really.
It's just not aimed at men.
It's not made for men to like. It's not made with men in mind at all. None of the women were cast with the intent of bringing in straight male viewers, and the young, hot Ghostbuster isn't straight. The secretary position, something usually reserved as the slot in which to stick eye candy for straight male viewers, is, again, not used in their favor. This is a summer action flick that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was not made with men in mind.
I can't believe this movie was ever made, but it was, and I am thankful. There aren't any fat jokes. There aren't any jokes about the way the women look at all. Erin is never made to feel bad about her superficial interest in Kevin. Abby is never mocked for her (sometimes ruthless) ambition. Patty gets to be loud and funny AND super interested in weird history stuff, and no one ever gives this a second thought. Holtzmann, my personal favorite, is unapologetically strange. All of these characters get to be themselves, and no one is ever allowed to make them feel lesser for it.
Is this a ten star film? No. But it's far from a one star film, and I hope the score I give it can weigh out some of the unnecessarily low ratings its being given.
Go see this movie. Take your friends to see this movie. Take your mom and your sister and your cousin. It's fun. It's not a perfect film, certainly not, but neither was the original, and this is a damn solid entry in the franchise. Bring on the sequels.