Film Review: Ghostbusters

by Sam Robinson

Rated PG. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon. Directed by Paul Feig.

When a film’s trailer is the most disliked in YouTube’s history, then it’s inevitably going to face an uphill battle at the box office. That trailer belongs to Ghostbusters, the reboot of the much-loved 1984 flick starring Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, the late Harold Ramis, and a ghastly oversized marshmallow in a cute little hat.

Many believe the dislikes are a result of casting four females as the Ghostbusters, which has been proven in a great deal of misogynistic and nasty comments. Obviously uncalled for, this is a real shame, because the female leads are fantastic talents, and like the original stars, are Saturday Night Live alumni. Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon (who channels Doc Brown from Back to the Future) are standouts, and even Chris Hemsworth shows off stellar comedic chops as ditsy Australian receptionist Kevin (he has a dog named Michael Hat).

But is 2016’s Ghostbusters any good? It is. It’s a lot of fun. The action follows Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Abby Yates (McCarthy), a number of years after co-writing a book about paranormal activity. As ghosts start appearing around Manhattan, they begin hunting them down alongside kooky Jillian (McKinnon) and transit worker Patty (Jones). Alongside their hopeless receptionist Kevin, they work to save New York from a ghoulish takeover.

What this Ghostbusters does so well is that it doesn’t try and replicate its predecessor. Unlike carbon copy reboots we’ve seen in recent years (Karate Kid, The Amazing Spider-Man) the plot is different, and suited to now. The hoo-ha over the female leads is quickly forgotten – in fact, the script is self-aware of the trolls and answers the criticism with flair. Yet, there is plenty of honour shown to the original – and particular cameos show the respect is mutual. Try to catch this in 3D if you can, the animation is effective and the strong use of neon colours, lights and sparks pop.

‘You’re telling me there’s a ghost in that thermos?’

Ghostbusters proves the skeptics wrong – that a reboot can be funny and clever, especially with four women in charge. Ironically, in itself, the film has much to say about skepticism, particularly in regards to paranormal activity. The team film neon blue ghouls vomiting green goop and YouTube commenters deem it doctored. Even as a green dragon ghost swoops punters at a metal concert, many think it’s a crazy light show. We live in a world where seeing is believing, and YouTube stunts are harder to prove. But it’s been this way for a long time.

You might be a skeptic when it comes to Jesus – that he was actually God in the flesh; or even you might have doubts that the Bible is true. It’s good for us to question these things – but even better for us to investigate. It’s easy to write off a YouTube video as fake, an upcoming film as a flop, but until we check it out for ourselves, we won’t uncover the truth.

When Paul writes of Jesus’ resurrection, he claims that more than five hundred people were witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:6) and many of those witnesses were still alive when he wrote those words. These are people who had seen Jesus die, and now could see him walking around, speaking, even eating (Luke 24:42-43). Paul is clear that if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then the Christian faith is useless (1 Cor 15:14). If you’ve written off Jesus as a smooth-talking teacher, then why not take time to investigate who he is? It’s good to be skeptical, but why not consider for yourself the claims of Jesus in the Bible?

The Verdict: Ghostbusters shows up the haters with a fun, humorous and visually bright reboot. Best of all, it didn’t ruin my childhood. 3.5/5

Ghostbusters will release in cinemas worldwide later this week.

For more film reviews from a Christian perspective, connect with Reel Gospel on Facebook and Twitter.

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