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Ghostbusters (2016)

 

Oh! Did I love Ghostbusters growing up! I used to run around the playground in grade school, imitating the siren of Ecto 1 and spouting off Peter Venkman’s lines. I never bothered including the scary parts in my pretending though cause horror isn’t for me.

When Ghostbusters 2 came out I was pumped. I was also nervous cause I expected to be frightened again. I remember trying to psych myself up into wanting to see something scary (just not too scary) before going in to the theatre. As things played out Ghostbusters 2 was a let down on the scare front but I don’t think that’s the movie’s fault. I’d grown up between the movies and I wasn’t as susceptible to being frightened by movie magic.

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Like many of my generation over the years since, I’ve carried a love for the original Ghostbusters movies. When I found out that the franchise was being rebooted with an all female cast, unlike some corners of the Internet, I thought it was a fantastic idea. Showing on the silver screen that bustin’ feels good no matter if you’re a man or a woman, sign me up! Happily too after seeing this year’s movie I can say with confidence I would have been spouting Jillian Holtzmann’s (Kate McKinnon) lines on the playground had I seen this one while growing up.

I hope time proves 2016’s Ghostbusters isn’t disposable cause its depiction of an enthusiastic, friendly, collaborative group of women doing science is overdue and valuable. While the film would have been even more inspiring if it weren’t standing in the shadow of the original idea, it’s still a solid delivery. There’s laughs to be had and at some points I found myself thinking, “If I were 8 again, that would’ve scared me.” I’d say overall the emphasis is more on the comedy than the horror element, but that’s no reason to fault the film.

Our new characters are not just a female Peter Venkman or a female Ray Stantz. They’re new strong and capable characters unto themselves. I do think our villain could have been developed more if the film had put more emphasis on drama and the screwball comedy aspect was toned down. I also think that would have made the film stronger and helped its audience invest in the situation more while giving us fewer forced jokes to sit through.

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At the climax of the film when all four women are bustin’, I was sitting in my chair grinning with unbridled glee at the screen. At this point I did catch myself thinking, “Hey, where are the traps?” Given that the film does go to lengths to illustrate that the tools our new Ghostbusters are using are not exactly the ones from the previous films, I opted to not fret over my question and instead enjoy the show. Which I did, with ease.

Now as for the Her Story Arc Scale of Inclusivity:

+1 for not being offensive to women. All of the women get along and they each bring their own strengths to task. I remember there being some uproar when the character of Patty Tolan, played by Leslie Jones, was the only non-scientist on the team and the only African American. As much as I want to see women participate more in STEM because we’re underrepresented, roles outside of STEM are also valuable and deserve respect too.

+2 We’ve got four leading women.

+3 Passes the Bechdel test and it does so quickly and continues to do so for about two great hours.

+4 I enjoyed myself to the point I really wanted my own Positron Thrower again.

+5 For going above and beyond: Four leading women. Women participating in STEM as well as not, and contributing to the win in either case.

It is with great pleasure that I award a perfect score to Ghostbusters 2016.

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