Ghostbusters review: Ain’t afraid of no internet trolls

Published 12:42 pm Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hello, haters. Much to your chagrin, I really enjoyed “Ghostbusters.” Yes, even with all of the negative attention you tried to bring to the film (without even seeing it), claiming it was ruining your childhood — I gasp — somehow found a way to have a lot of fun with it. Maybe it was the fact that I had fangirl freakouts about the references to the original films… or maybe it was the incredible cast… or maybe, just maybe it was because “Ghostbusters” was genuinely entertaining, showcasing smart, funny role models for the next generation. Plot twist: the answer is “all of the above.”

I get it, as someone who gets way too emotionally invested in TV shows and movies, I don’t want Hollywood to mess with my most beloved pieces of pop culture. But the issue here is that all of the vitriol surrounding “Ghostbusters” was predominantly started by a nasty part of the internet that didn’t appreciate four women “ruining” a classic film that was traditionally portrayed by four men. Before seeing the movie and making judgments based on the content, they have initiated a smear campaign; just look at the comment section on reviews from major publications. Hopefully, as word gets out that the movie is actually good, the negative publicity will be overshadowed. But until then, take my word for it … your childhood will not be ruined, the 1980s “Ghostbusters” will always be there to watch and enjoy, and the new edition just adds to the fun. With that said, for all of you that didn’t pay attention to the artificial negativity surrounding the film and are excited to see a silly, entertaining blockbuster starring the most talented comediennes around, the rest of this review is for you.

Although there are many hat tips and winks to the original “Ghostbusters,” “Ghostbusters” (2016) is its own film and smartly does not exist in the same world as its predecessors. Physics professor Erin Gillbert (Kristen Wiig) has left her paranormal-obsessed work behind and has instead decided to work on a more traditional curriculum, as well as being tenured at Columbia University. However, when an embarrassing book “Ghosts From Our Past: Both Figuratively and Literally” resurfaces, co-written with her former best friend Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Erin’s position at the university is threatened. In an attempt to save her career, Erin is forced to reconnect with Abby to stop the presses and destroy the book once and for all!

As it turns out, Abby is now even more involved in paranormal research, replacing Erin with her new right hand woman, engineering-extraordinaire Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). When Erin visits Abby’s lab to ask her former friend to stop selling their book, she is inevitably blackmailed into investigating a local haunted house. What the team finds inside proves their theories on ghosts were correct all along and skeptical Erin is turned into a believer once and for all. With the trio’s intellect and skill-set, they use their talents to open a ghost investigation company. As MTA employee, and fellow ghost-believer, Patty (Leslie Jones) and receptionist Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) join the team, it’s only a matter of time before the Ghostbusters face the scariest mission of their lives.

Let’s be real, if you don’t like the movie based on the content, fine. We all have our own tastes (mine, of course being the gold standard). I disagree and may take future movie suggestions from you with a grain of salt, but at least it’s based on the merits of the film and not some overblown gender war. I just found as I watched the movie that many of the silly criticisms I read about the film before seeing it were completely off-based. The shining example for that was the anger around Leslie Jones’ character working for MTA, claiming it was unfair to have the other women be scientists while she was a transit employee. Patty has many of the funniest scenes in the movie, acting as the audience’s voice in some of the more scary scenes; my favorite was her refusal to go into a room because it looked like a total nightmare. Not only is Patty friendly and hilarious, she also is intelligent herself, being THE Ghostbuster to figure out how to stop the bad guy at the end.

In terms of references to the original films, director Paul Feig was stuck in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario; he obviously can’t ignore the beloved franchise, but he also had to try to balance the use of Easter Eggs. “Ghostbusters” fans definitely will notice many homages to the original films, and will probably still be finding more with each re-watch. As much as I love references like these, one of my main complaints about the movie was at times they seemed a little too heavy-handed (e.g. the introduction to the Ghostbusters symbol). Even the cameos (except for one at the end of the movie that I won’t give away, which almost gave me a stroke) could have been dialed back a bit. Hell, I would vote for less referential scenes and more time for Kate McKinnon to kick ghost ass (set to the “Ghostbusters” song) any day of the week. But again, I acknowledge how hard it must be to balance.

“Ghostbusters” is so much more than a bunch of women solving a ghost problem in New York City. However, it is important to note how important this film is for women in Hollywood. If we are lucky, it seems Hollywood green-lights a few female-centered comedies a year. For example, we had “Bridesmaids,” “The Heat,” and “Trainwreck,” all rated R. With “Ghostbusters,” we are given a female-led PG-13 blockbuster film that will give young girls (and boys) characters to look up to. At its heart, the film is a movie about friendship, focusing not on who gets the guy in the end but on smart, STEM-obsessed women who ain’t afraid of no ghosts… and according to its FRESH great score on Rotten Tomatoes (and hopefully the box office), shouldn’t be afraid of no internet trolls either.

Make sure you stay through the entire end credits for an IMPORTANT scene that will lead to a hopeful sequel.

My Review: B+

Lauren Bradshaw is a lover of all movies, even the bad ones. Follow her on twitter @flickchickdc and her blog is