An Old-School Fan Review of Ghostbusters (2016)

ghostbusters premiere

Over half of the people in this photo (myself included) were haters when this movie was announced.  Well…not anymore.

Last night I attended a press screening of the new Kevin Feig film Ghostbusters.  That’s me, pictured above (just to the right of the movie poster) with the Central Oklahoma Ghostbusters, a GB fan club and costuming group.

First, let me say why I was against the film:  It was not for misogynist reasons, as is the current straw man of the feminist crowd, but because I’m an old school fan.  I attended the first showing of the film in 1984, and then the sequel in 1989.  I own a screen accurate costume complete with proton pack.  I know what a cyclotron is.  The 2016 film was originally touted as a “reboot” which did not take into account any of the other films and basically was going to be a slap in the face to fans of the franchise.

Boy, was I wrong.

The film actually made me feel like I was at those premieres so long ago.  It most importantly felt like a Ghostbusters film.  It was indeed funny, with lines we’ll be quoting for some time, and unlike some other Feig films was truly PG-13 without a single “F” word.  Sure the directing was top notch, the story was an echo of the 1984 film, and there were four ghostbusters, one of them African-American, but it went much further than that.

There were the subtle nuances, each of which payed faithful homage to the films I have loved since the ’80’s.  They were done right, with a message that the old films were what they were building on, tipping their ecto-goggles as it were to the fans of old.

For example, on the back of Holtzman’s (Kate McKinnon) cyclotron the digital numbers read “1984”.  Two characters at the end emerge from a building  with white hair which is an echo of the marshmallow goo all over the characters (not Bill Murray somehow) at the end of the 1984 film.  The answering machine voiced by Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) says “Ghostbusters.  Whadda you want!?”

And then there are the cameos.  All principal actors from the original film are in this movie, save Rick Moranis who has not been in a film since he quit acting to raise his kids.  Even the late Harold Ramis makes an appearance, not as a ghost, but in a lovingly created prop that is brief but beautiful.  The cameos are not forced, and when they happen the crowd of GB fans in our theater applauded and cheered.  Bill Murray even has a considerable speaking role that is truly a sight to behold.

So here’s the rub: Will this film be watched in 30 years like the classic 1984 Ghostbusters?

I think, first, it is an unfair question.  It is one posed to me by GB fans everywhere.  After viewing the film I do not think it is a film to replace the original films at all.  In my opinion the original 1984 film is entirely quotable from the first line to the last, but this film was not trying to do what the film in ’84 was trying to do.  I would say that the film may not be seen in 30 years to be as important as the ’84 film, but it is indeed a fun modern love-letter to the older films.  As an old-school fan, a hard-core fan, I did not feel threatened by it, but was delighted, laughed very hard, and cheered when the cameos and echoes of the older films appeared on screen.

My advice?  Go see it.  It’s a good romp, and worth the money to laugh at the antics of McKinnon and especially the insanely moronic Kevin (Chris Hemsworth).  I’ll probably see it again.

P.S.  Stay for the after-credits scene.

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