With my buttered popcorn and a Diet Coke I settled into the cushioned theater seat, snuggling into my favorite cotton sweater and eagerly awaited the opening of the Ghostbusters reboot. Summer movies are always filled with promise. Action packed or comedy, their promos promise an exciting diversion from the summer heat. Summer reboots often bring an extra special anticipation. Like a summer festival or family reunion. There is the promise of seeing old friends or distant, sometimes eccentric relatives. And like any family reunion, it sounds like a good idea, but in reality it can go either way.
I took in the Ghostbusters reboot with high expectations. After seeing the original no less than fifty times (I spent 1988 babysitting a four year old) I was anxious to see how the new heroines would fair against those slimy spirits. In the original, it was Bill Murray’s dry deliveries that got me through repeated viewings. If I had to do it over again with the reboot, it would likely by Kate McKinnon in her role as the mostly silent, but always moving, quirky and mad tech savvy scientist, Jillian Holzmann, who would get me through endless rewinds.
All in all, the cast delivered. Melissa McCarthy, an established powerhouse, didn’t disappoint, despite the lack of story line for her character, Abby Yates. Overall, the storyline lacked depth. The writers spent much of the screen time explaining the gizmos created by McKinnon’s Holtzmann, instead of working them into a story. This had the effect of dragging down the action and momentum. The less than stellar script was somewhat compensated by a solid cast. Kristin Wiig looked every bit the super hero flying through the vortex to save her friend and colleague Abby. And Leslie Jones turned in a solid performance in her first major film role as the positive believer turned Ghostbuster, Patty Tolan.
The fun of a reboot, is always the cameo appearances by original cast members. The performances by Murray, Potts, Aykroyd and Hudson didn’t disappoint. In particular, the drive-by showing of Aykroyd, “I ain’t afraid a no ghost.” In fact, I was left wanting to see more of the original team. The post-closing cameos are also worth sticking around to see.
Personally, I always enjoy a little subtle humor in my movies and while this script lacked much of that, the beginning tour guide does get it in a few jabs, including, “This is where P.T. Barnum came up with the idea to enslave elephants.” For the most part, the Ghostbusters reboot is a fun summer diversion.