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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Ghostbusters movie review: boo yeah!

Ghostbusters green light

Kate McKinnon’s gleefully reckless physicist is brainy comic mayhem, unlike any female character we’ve seen before. And there are more reasons to cheer.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): love the 1984 movie

I’m “biast” (con): wary of the need to remake it

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

My reaction to the idea of an all-female Ghostbusters reboot? I am desperate for movies about women doing all sorts of things — including silly stuff like engaging in experimental particle physics, playing around with total protonic reversal, and saving New York City — but I would also like women to get their own stories and the opportunity to create their own iconic characters. I knew that even if this remake turned out to be completely amazing, any success would come with an asterisk. There would always been the “real” Ghostbustersthe original 80s movie, not to be confused with the spinoff animated series The Real Ghostbusters, though there’s that too — and the “girl” Ghostbusters. Women deserve better than to be constantly tagged as the lesser, the other, the not-quite-as-good.

I still believe all that. But I am getting to have my feminist cake and eat it too, because holy moly, Saturday Night Live badass Kate McKinnon (The Angry Birds Movie, Sisters) has gone and created an instantly iconic new character in gleefully reckless physicist and tinkerer Jillian Holtzmann. Little girls and grownup women alike are, I guarantee you, going to be merrily cosplaying the shit out of a gal who is simultaneously a snappy dresser, a devil-may-care snarkster, a master of the mysteries of the universe, and a creator of cool crap that goes boom. Holtzmann is clearly the analogue here for Harold Ramis’s Egon Spengler from the 1984 movie — and physically she evokes the blond-pompadoured Egon of Real Ghostbusters — but she is nothing like him. She is nothing like any female character The Movies have ever seen. She is powerful in a way that has nothing to do with her appeal to men, all too frequently the only power women onscreen are allowed to deploy. She is brainy comic mayhem that is a touch of Back to the Future’s Doc Brown and a whole lotta the Doctor (of Doctor Who, that is). She is the authority of science combined with the freedom of no-fucks-given, and she is not the sort of woman we typically see women granted the cultural permission to betweet. Girls and women are going to love her, and want to be her, which is what cosplay is all about: appropriating a character’s ethos.

Little girls and grown women alike are going to be merrily cosplaying the shit outta gleefully reckless physicist and tinkerer Jillian Holtzmann.

Little girls and grown women alike are going to be merrily cosplaying the shit outta gleefully reckless physicist and tinkerer Jillian Holtzmann.tweet

This new Ghostbusters would be worth hailing for Holtzmann alone… but happily, there is much more to cheer. The snappy script, by director Paul Feig (Spy, Bridesmaids) and Katie Dippold (The Heat), zings from the movie’s opening moments with cunning, snappy vervetweet, often out of left field: pay close attention to the commentary offered, in the opening scene, by the tour guide of an historic NYC mansion that soon turns up haunted. (This landmark doesn’t really exist, so it lacks the power of recognition of the lion-statue-guarded public library sequence of the original movie, but that’s made up for later by some other uniquely New York motifs.) The plot follows a similar track to that of the 1984 movie, with Columbia University physics professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig: Zoolander 2, The Martian) and the more paranormally inclined academic Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy: The Boss, Tammy) teaming up, along with Holtzmann and walking NYC history book Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones: Trainwreck, Top Five), to hunt down the ghosts suddenly showing up all over town. Both actors have toned down their sometimes overamped comic personas here — they’re not quite straight women to McKinnon, but they bring a real humanity to what is mostly absurd supernatural wackiness. This also makes it less easy to determine which characters from the original films Gilbert and Yates are shadows of: they’re neither and both Dan Aykroyd’s Ray Stanz and Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman at the same time. As with the authentically fresh Holtzmann, they aren’t attempting to imitate anyone — nor is Leslie Jones anything at all like Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddmore — all of which does actually distinguish this movie from the spate of far more reprocessed reboots, remakes, and do-overs we’ve been subjected to of late.

Unlike with the 1984 movie — in which ghosts started appearing at precisely, by pure coincidence, the same moment when a new business came into existence to deal with them* — there is actually a reason baked into the story about why ghosts are now popping up, prompting the formation of Gilbert’s and Yates’s project, which is not an entrepreneurial effort but a scientific research endeavor to capture and study them. And baked into that reason is the feminism of this new Ghostbusters. (Sorry, boys who are afraid of girls: this is an unabashedly feminist movie. But it’s still superfun, promise!tweet) There are a few not-really-throwaway lines of dialogue about nasty comments the women receive online, as in response to videos of ghosts they post on YouTube; these comments are nearly identical to some of those the mere idea of this movie itself has generated, and I would not be surprised to learn that they were, in fact, plucked from real Internet posts. But far more incisive is the villain of the piece, a literally basement-dwelling creep (Neil Casey) who justifies the very bad things he is doing as his way of striking back at the bullies of his childhood (and beyond). Contrast this with Gilbert’s and Yates’s tales of being shunned, made fun of, and denigrated both as kids and as adults for their oddness (and they are most definitely deliciously, dorkily odd). Guy treated badly wants to end world; gals treated badly turn their pain into something positive, and find themselves in a position to save the world.

(*I hasten to add that the 1984 flick is one of my most favorite movies ever, and this small plot convenience in no way diminishes my enjoyment of it.)

The tantrums that are going to be thrown — again — over this movie will be fun to watch. Male fans upset at seeing women center stage have already pre-freaked out over Chris Hemsworth’s (The Huntsman: Winter’s War, In the Heart of the Sea) Kevin, receptionist at the new GB HQ. He is so absurd a caricature of a “dumb blonde” — and Hemsworth is very, very funny — that he cannot be taken at face value as anything other than an over-the-top response to how women in similar roles have been treated in the past: that is, as office furniture with no purpose to serve but that of eye candy to the opposite sex both onscreen and watching from the audience. Satire: this movie is soaking in it. Some will refuse to acknowledge that.tweet

If it’s any consolation, angry manchildren may want to consider this: this Ghostbusters may well be taking place in an alternate universe. The Times Square in which the final ghost battle occurs is chock full of signage for businesses that no longer exist in the NYC that we know (Mamma Leone’s tourist trap of a restaurant, dime store Woolworth’s, and others). Maybe this is a parallel world in which women as competent, brilliant fictional heroes is a regular thing. It’s a fantastic idea… and, alas, remains almost a total fantasy in our dimension.

green light 4 stars

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Ghostbusters (2016)
US/Can release: Jul 15 2016
UK/Ire release: Jul 11 2016

MPAA: rated PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor
BBFC: rated 12A (moderate threat, infrequent crude references)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Danielm80
  • ctrlU

    No mention of Leslie Jones?

  • Crap, you’re right! An oversight that I will rectify forthwith…

  • Oracle Mun

    Okay, I’m ready to see this, and buy the DVD when it comes out.

  • bronxbee

    very excited! can’t wait to see this.

  • Well, regarding the plot point of ghosts suddenly showing up just as the business started in the 1984 movie… there WAS the library ghost that validated Egon’s numbers. Venkman pushed for the business-startup because of his make-a-buck mentality (rather libertarian of him) when the university shut their paranormal studies dept. down.
    The ghostly activity in New Yawk didn’t explode overnight, it just increased at the ghost-summoning portal in Dana’s apartment grew in power (that and people probably didn’t call until that hotel got desperate and provided the publicity the crew needed).
    There’s a videogame that tied in the library ghost to the first two movies as a plot point.

  • ReneCat

    Well, I can’t help it…this just DOESN’T look funny! Kate McKinnon licking the gun(or whatever it is) is just ICKY not FUNNY! Sorry.

  • svchost

    Clearly a racist

  • gumbythecat

    Why do you hate women?

  • Patrick

    So…there are funny parts in this movie? The trailers led me to believe otherwise.

  • blm

    I don’t think they hate women – just bad acting. Saw the movie yesterday and McKinnon plays the MOST ANNOYING character I’ve ever seen in a movie. Such blatant over-acting…like a precocious 8 year old in a school play.

  • blm

    Thought the other characters were great, though

  • Stacy Livitsanis

    Based on your review and a few other positive comments from friends whose opinions on movies I value, I’m now going to see this, when previously I hadn’t intended to. It’ll be the first new Hollywood movie I’ll have seen at the theatre this year.

    As a white, English-speaking, able-bodied, hetero, cisgender male, I’m really goddamn sick of seeing ‘myself’ represented onscreen. No one who does not fit those descriptors could possibly say the same.

  • Nathan

    It’s fun, but not the best film as far as pacing goes. As far as summer movies go it’s great compared to the usual fair.

  • Hmmm. You’re review gives me a small amount of hope. Still, the trailers(or at least the one that I watched. Only one) made it look very mediocre.
    I really don’t like Melissa McCarthy, or at least the characters I’ve seen her play. Incredibly not funny.
    Leslie Jones’ character just looks seems to be a total stereotype, but it sounds like that is not the case? It would have been awesome if she was in the Kate McKinnon role.
    I’ve never heard of Kate McKinnon before, but her character does sound like the kind that is much needed in movies.
    I won’t bother seeing this until it’s on Netflix or Amazon streaming.

  • Elwood72

    I’ve been torn on this one, because for the most part I’ve avoided remakes, reimaginings, and recyclings of anything from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. I didn’t even go see the Judge Dredd remake, and that one had Lena Headey in it! And I love Lena Headey, but I objected to a Dredd remake on general principle. So I just don’t want a Ghostbusters remake, or sequel, or whatever. But I loved Spy, and I absolutely want another movie teaming up Melissa McCarthy with director Paul Feig, and this is that movie. So, I guess this and other positive reviews have convinced me to give it a try. Even though I’m afraid if it’s a hit, somebody in Hollywood will say, “hey, let’s remake Caddyshack and the Blues Brothers and Stripes!” I guess it’s not my problem anyway, because no review will convince me to watch that.

  • Owen1120

    Kate McKinnon is spectacular on SNL- check out her performances as Hillary Clinton.

  • Nathan

    Dredd was a good one, almost no resemblance to it’s 80s counterpart.

  • barrem01

    Or Justin Bieber

  • Stacy Livitsanis

    Well I just walked out of the theatre and I thoroughly enjoyed it, which is all I was hoping for. I laughed and had a good time and Kate McKinnon was the best thing in it. The mere existence of a mainstream film with this much taken-for-granted female camaraderie is still enough to be exciting, because we STILL hardly ever see this in movies. In movies, for chrissakes! Entertainments that should be a space to explore all possible worlds but mostly settle for being status-quo-reinforcing products. Also, for those who like to take note of these things, this is a rare Reverse Bechdel Fail genre film, as there were no significant conversations between two men. I’m now going to resist reading the unending stream of bilious hate-filled reviews online. I’ll just read Maryann’s again.

    I wonder if any of the outraged who’re upset at how ‘man-hating’ they think this is, even though they’re wrong, will make the connection and grasp in some small way that that’s how women routinely feel at the unending sexism in the media? Probably not, as that would require empathy. Weird how the privileged group thinks that when the marginalised merely request a seat at the table, they take it as an attempt to stage a total inversion, somehow placing them in the oppressed position, like the stupid SF cliché of a society run by women that oppresses men. Are they so insecure about themselves that the merest critique is taken as a threat of total annihilation? If the status quo is really so inviolable then it has nothing to fear from being questioned, as things that are true can withstand scrutiny. It makes me wonder about all the astonishingly hateful misogynist internet trolls out there and how utterly fearful and insecure they must be, because when you feel good and comfortable about yourself, you don’t tend to lash out so savagely at others.

    I wish I could discuss this film without feeling the need to mention any of these things. Maybe one day we’ll be able to do that.

  • Jim Mann

    We saw it last night and really enjoyed it. The pacing could have been tightened up a bit, but overall it was a lot of fun, with some great performances, funny gags, and a plot engaging enough to keep it going.

  • Jim Mann

    I think it depends upon the movie. Ghostbusters works as a remake because the basic concept and story is one that works recast in a new time and with new characters (unlike something like the Blue Brothers, which is firmly tied to the characters created by Belushi and Ackroyd, or, say, Duck Soup, which wouldn’t work without the Marx Brothers).

  • Are they so insecure about themselves that the merest critique is taken as a threat of total annihilation?

    I suspect the answer is Yes.

  • RogerBW

    If what you’re used to is “one sort of person gets all the attention, the other sort is ignored” that may well be the way you assume the world works – and if that sort of person is not your sort but the other sort…

  • Danielm80

    If you try to tell a joke to a kid who’s about six years old, they tend to get really irritated. You can see them thinking: “I just started to figure out how the world works, and now you’re making up this nonsense that clearly isn’t true.”

    You see pretty much the same expression on the faces of white men when you challenge their idea of what’s normal: “I know perfectly well how the world works, and major studio movies are not about a group of women.”

    They get even more panicked if there’s the slightest chance that a woman or a person who isn’t white will take a job that they want.

  • BraveGamgee

    Also: I could watch Chris Hemsworth dance in that credits scene all day

  • Oh, I am SO glad you liked it. I saw it today with my daughter, who really loved it, and I was so, so happy to have a movie to show her with unabashedly smart, nerdy, badass women (the badass nerd is probably my favorite trope of all, followed closely by the found/created family). I loved that the friendship of all of the women, especially Erin and Abby was frontlined; it’s a common difference between women’s stories and men’s, and I like that they didn’t shy away from it to downplay the fact that the characters were women. I loved the cameos, which besides being funny, were a solid middle finger to all those who derided the idea of women Ghostbusters as unworthy of the original. I loved their sheer *joy,* I loved, loved the final fight, and I loved the sheer joy they all took in their work (both the characters and their actors).

  • Tonio Kruger

    Eat your heart out, Ray Parker, Jr. ;-)

  • Tonio Kruger

    As a white, English-speaking, able-bodied, hetero, cisgender male, I’m really goddamn sick of seeing ‘myself’ represented onscreen.

    I guess it’s a good thing I’m half-Hispanic so I don’t have to worry too much about that type of “problem.”

  • Tonio Kruger


    Buffy. Charmed. Medium. True Blood. iZombie. Ghost Whisperer

    Okay. Maybe not Ghost Whisperer.

  • Owen1120

    They do make fun of crappy “ghost hunting” reality shows on TV. I thought it was really great all around and just as good, if not better than, the first one.

  • It’s something I observed in media fandom years ago: men (particularly white, straight, able-bodied, cisgender men) *genuinely* perceive any space/event/group/text that doesn’t cater to them and their interests as oppression. They drove women (particularly slash fans) out of the mainstream fannish spaces decades ago, and when they suddenly stumbled across the spaces we built for ourselves, they started crashing in. And when we didn’t (a) make the effort to invite them in or worse, (b) tailor our discussions to their interests (which was mostly to stop talking about slash and hot men), they genuinely saw this as exclusion, even though we weren’t keeping them out or stopping them from talking about *their* interests.

    I wish things had changed more, but as more and more groups get power and attention, the panic gets worse. It’s just so *tiring* sometimes.

  • Bluejay

    I don’t know who said this first, but I really like the quote “To the privileged, equality feels like oppression.”

    If you Google that quote plus the name Chris Boeskool, you’ll find an article he wrote (it’s HuffPo so I won’t link it here) that I think sums it up nicely.

  • Bluejay

    This was SO much fun to watch. I may have to watch it again, as audience laughter drowned out some lines.

    Be sure to sit through the entire end credits. There’s at least one more awesome cameo, more funny bits, and a hell of a name dropped.

    More now, please!

  • Bluejay

    From what I’ve seen of McCarthy’s other movies, her character here isn’t similar. So you may like her in this even if you don’t like her in other films.

    Leslie Jones’ character isn’t a total stereotype.

    Kate McKinnon is awesome.

    Up to you, but this is a good film to see in a theater with an appreciative audience.

  • Lady Kaede

    What sort of moviegoer actually determines the worth of a movie based on trailers? I’ve seen 10 times as much crap about the trailer for this movie as for any in decades. Excuse much?

  • Lady Kaede

    Somebody is going to remake Caddyshack and the Blues Brothers and Stripes no matter what happens with this movie. Fear is useless in this case (making funny about fear is sort of the fundament for Ghostbusters, no?).

  • RogerBW

    I think trailers are normally designed to appeal to the sort of moviegoer who doesn’t read reviews or like surprises. I’ve been blog-reviewing them for a year now, and the primary message is almost always something simple and reassuring: “this is a rom-com” or “this is a sci-fi actioner” or “this is a serious film about people with Problems”. That’s the very first thing they establish, well before who the stars are or any of the peak moments.
    On the rare occasions someone does actually make a distinctive film, it’s often hard to tell, because the trailer editors do their best to fit it into a generic category. But often that means a trailer that doesn’t quite work.

  • Danielm80

    I want to write fan fiction about Kate McKinnon’s character. She’s clearly the result of a forbidden affair between Doc Brown from Back to the Future and Ally Sheedy’s character in The Breakfast Club. The three of them must have had amazing adventures in time and space while she was growing up. If I ever write it, I want Brian Kesinger to illustrate it. In her movie costume, McKinnon already looks like one of his drawings.

  • Dian Adrian

    Where I can watch this movie?

  • edad dagef

    Where I can watch this movie???

  • Dian Adrian


  • edad dagef

    glad it felt finally I can watch and download this movie with HD quality.
    thanks friend for the info you provide.
    This movie is very nice and easy to download

  • Dian Adrian


  • BraveGamgee

    I would read the heck out of that

  • The way I put it in Fandom and Male Privilege many years ago, was:
    A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.

    if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her
    family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.”
    My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her
    name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality – my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.

  • Bluejay

    That’s fantastically well-written. Sharing the link with friends. :-)

  • Thank you! All these years later, I still get comments on it.

  • Keith Bowes

    Wouldn’t you prefer female leads in original ideas rather than retrofitted into a 32-year-old universe? Men have no problem with female leads, as evidenced through all the successful female-led movies over the years. However, feminist (i.e. male-bashing) movies, especially unoriginal ones, aren’t going to win any fans.

  • Keith Bowes

    You can’t expect these feminist apologists to accurately report on the original. In fact, Sony is doing the best it can to pretend that the original never existed.

  • Keith Bowes

    LOL! It’s hard to believe all the SJW outrage in 2016. Society is really what we need to reboot.

  • RogerBW

    I’d prefer original ideas, at all. But if we’re stuck with remakes, as we are, why not do something interesting with them?
    “feminist (i.e. male-bashing)”

    Oh, sorry, thought you actually wanted a discussion.

  • Bluejay

    Sony is doing the best it can to pretend that the original never existed.

    That must be why they had all those original actors do cameo roles in the new film.

  • Bluejay

    And yet no one complains when another man is cast as James Bond in a reboot, or another man is cast as Batman in a reboot, or another man is cast as Doctor Who in a reboot. But the minute they cast a woman, all your balls fall off. Boo hoo.

  • Bluejay

    Society is really what we need to reboot.

    Oh absolutely. That’s what we SJW’s are trying to do. Glad you’re on board.

  • Miguel Gonzalez

    I’d never seen McKinnon or Leslie Jones, but I hope their careers take off after this. They were both HILARIOUS.
    As a 39-year old, Ghostbusters (both the films and particularly the cartoon) is a huge part of my childhood. I couldn’t have been more pleased with GB2016 – it took inspiration from the first film, and (IMHO) also captured the tone of the animated series, but managed to create its own universe.
    Unfortunately, many will refuse to see it based on the trailers, which were HORRIBLE. Trailers can be hugely misleading (sometimes great films have terrible trailers, and viceversa), but they are powerful and the one for GB2016 doesn’t make the movie any favours.
    That been said, I can’t imagine any GB fan disliking the film, unless they’re misogynistic trolls.

  • Miguel Gonzalez

    I agree. Terrible trailer, and the scene out of context doesn’t work. You need to discover McKinnon’s character first, and that will certainly change your appreciation of that particular scene.

  • Miguel Gonzalez

    >>>What sort of moviegoer actually determines the worth of a movie based on trailers?
    A huge percentage! The kind of people who can unfortunately make or break a film at the box office.
    As much as I loved GB2016, I have to admit I was predisposed to dislike it based on the trailer (not on the gender of the characters, I swear). It just wasn’t very good.

  • Miguel Gonzalez

    And that post-credits scene!? I want a sequel, NOW!

  • Miguel Gonzalez

    Jones has some of the best lines!

  • Patrick

    Most controversial films by decade (from the 1970s on):

    70s: A Clockwork Orange
    80s: The Last Temptation of Christ
    90s: Natural Born Killers
    00s: Fahrenheit 9/11
    10s: Ghostbusters (2016)…fucking seriously

  • BraveGamgee

    Male-bashing? I don’t understand how this movie is male-bashing. I mean, sure, the villain is male, Chris Hemsworth’s character is an idiot (such an absolutely brilliant idiot), and the mayor is a self-serving jerk, but how does this feel like it mocks men in general? I’m a man, and I don’t feel attacked. This movie made me laugh my ass off.

  • Stacy Livitsanis

    How about an all-female remake of Three Amigos – ¡Three Amigas!.

    One of my favourite movies of all time is the 1982 version of The Thing, a remake and an all-male film. Putting aside the nondescript 2011 remake, if another version of The Thing was made with an all-female cast I’d jump at seeing that, because even though it’s another bloody remake, we haven’t seen that film before (if you know of any, please let me know). I’d levitate out of the seat at seeing a film with competent, intelligent scientists, engineers, pilots who happen to all be women. Of course, insane reactions from the same minority of idiots would arise, with logic and reason extending their holiday. A shape-shifting transmogrifying alien organism that can imitate anything it touches…being battled by women? As if! But it needs to happen. Would love to see more films set in that world.

  • See, I don’t think the humor here is about one-off one-liners (which is one reason why, perhaps, the trailers failed to satisfy some people). The humor evolves from a larger context, so it’s hard to say who has “the best lines.”

  • LOL. The original movie is one of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve seen it a hundred times at least, and I stand by my contention that there’s no reason for the sudden rise in paranormal activity.

    feminist apologists

    Your nonsense is not welcome here.

  • *genuinely* perceive any space/event/group/text that doesn’t cater to them and their interests as oppression

    They’re *so* accustomed to being the center of attention all the time that they don’t know how to cope when they aren’t.

  • What sort of moviegoer actually determines the worth of a movie based on trailers?

    Lots of moviegoers. It’s the triumph of marketing.

  • But what?

  • Wouldn’t you prefer female leads in original ideas rather than retrofitted into a 32-year-old universe?

    It’s almost like you didn’t even read my review…

    feminist (i.e. male-bashing)

    This is how we know we don’t need to take anything you say seriously.

    aren’t going to win any male fans.

    Yes, yes: Feminism’s first concern: ensuring that men do not get upset.

  • Bluejay


    It may or may not be the best line, but I nominate “Safety lights are for dudes” as your new tagline.

  • Bluejay

    Kevin is the dumb blonde, and he’s Janine 2.0 (the bored secretary), and he’s Dana 2.0 (the possessed eye-candy). I think Hemsworth’s character is a brilliant parody not just of how women have been used in film in general, but of how women were specifically sidelined in the original Ghostbusters itself.

  • amanohyo

    This movie is to the original as The Force Awakens is to A New Hope (depending on how you liked TFA, this might be a good thing) – it gathers up the major beats from the original series and hits them one by one in a fairly methodical and joyless fashion. Lots of fan service, but its reverence for the source material leaves it feeling stale and unimaginative, showing courage in its progressive casting and timidity everywhere else.

    On a positive note, I’m happy to finally see a mainstream reverse Smurfette flick, it’s far far better than the trailers suggest (the trailers strangely highlight the worst scenes), and as the review points out, Holtzmann is a genuinely new type of female character – sort of a cross between Jamie Hyneman, Howling Mad Murdock, and Carrot Top. She never gelled for me comedically, but there’s definitely potential there. Hemsworth does the best he can with the silly material he’s given. Annie Potts’ brief appearance reminded me how wonderful she is – all the other cameos were forgettable and forced.

    Just as with TFA. it ends up being a serviceable foundation for what should be a genuinely fantastic second installment. The key missing ingredient was a consistent “this world is ridiculous, but we take it seriously” tone that gradually and smoothly turns up the ridiculous knob. There were several moments when the refreshingly serious nature of the characters and story were undercut by a ludicrously dangerous physical stunt or cheap gag based humor. I rarely got the sense that these out of sync comedic scenes were flowing naturally from the characters and their situations. I mean really, Abby Yates bouncing around an alley firing a deadly proton beam while her companions watch calmly is one thing, Slimer procuring a gender signified girfriend within the space of a few minutes is another, but do you honestly expect me to believe that four intelligent women in New York City all voluntarily ordered and enjoyed eating a Papa John’s Pizza? Disbelief officially unsuspended.

  • Miguel Gonzalez

    That final cameo was glorious. I may have cried a little.

  • Slimer procuring a gender signified girfriend

    Yeah, that annoyed me too.

  • amanohyo

    I wish they would have left that joke out and stuck the Hemsworth Thriller homage back in. The biggest laughs for me were the sly satirical asides: the villain’s ridiculously over the top evil plan diary and “irish-proof fence” in particular.

    On a slightly related note, the Inferno trailer that played before my showing is laugh out loud hilarious. Whoever cut it must be poking fun at Religious Conspiracy movies. It is half a hair’s breadth away from belonging at the start of Tropic Thunder – just close your eyes and listen to this delightfully disjointed cheese:


  • Paul W.

    I enjoy what Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live the rare times I still see it, but here she is just phenomenal. She never attacks a line straight on, she always comes at them sideways. I feel like I’m watching a young Bill Murray or Gilda Radner or Lily Tomlin at the beginning of their career. She’s just so uniquely, brilliantly funny. I’m Inordinately excited to see what she does next.

  • Owen1120

    I also think the Eleventh Doctor would have been involved somehow- possibly as a mentor figure.

  • Danielm80

    If I ever write it, Doc Brown definitely has to meet Rube Goldberg. I bet Goldberg could invent a really nifty, multi-functional bow tie for Eleven.

  • Not me. It’s just one aspect. Especially since trailers normally make movies look better than they could ever be. When it’s the reverse, and a trailer makes the movie seem worse than it ends up being, it is naturally concerning.
    My primary decision making comes from reading reviews of people I trust, like MaryAnn.

  • My wife has zero interest, and I only have a modicum of interest. This is one of those movies I’ll watch on Netflix 2-3 years down the line.
    I feel weird for not knowing who Kate McKinnon was until now. I don’t watch SNL at all, minus the occasional bit that goes viral on FB or whatever.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I enjoyed it, but not as much as I wanted to.

    McKinnon and Jones are great, McCarthy is fine (but I’m not a fan). Wiig seems to be struggling with a lack of good direction, uncertainty with who her character is supposed to be, and wondering how she got cast as the straight woman. Hemsworth surprised me with how good his comic timing is (such as during the interview scene, when he rubs his eye).

    The writing is fine, just not really fine tuned to the actors the way the original was (which in fairness to the remake, wasn’t written by the actors, for the actors, the way Aykroyd and Ramis wrote the original).

    The effects are spectacular, but not enough to carry the whole show.

    The big problem with the movie is the editing, which is unbelievably, inexcusably bad. A couple specific examples: the cuts during the “Mike Hat” joke suck almost all the life out of it. The “side arms” scene seems to be in the wrong place. Once the ghost invasion starts, there’s an insert of the lights on the Ecto1 that serves no visual reason, but was needed to match the off screen dialog track. Overall, the incompetence of the editing affects the plot, the humor, the character development, everything.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    McKinnon clearly had zero fks to give about whatever Paul Feig had in mind for Holtzman. She made that character entirely her own.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You really want to laugh at the Langdon stories? Try reading the books.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I dunno, man. Two words: John Harrison.

  • Lady Kaede

    In spite of my handle, I am a man. I took on a (badass passive-aggressive) female internet persona after being chased off of forums by idiotic fanboys. Stupid me – I thought reappearing as a female would change the nature of the response. Not much, but on the whole it made things worse. But I’m keeping it in solidarity with my mother, my wife, and my daughter.

  • I thought reappearing as a female would change the nature of the response.

    Were you previously unaware of how badly women are treated online?

  • Lady Kaede

    That was 12 years ago now, so ‘online’ was kind of new. But yes, I was unaware. The trolls seemed more ‘equal opportunity’ then.

  • One thing I have learned in 20+ years of discussing gender issues is that in any discussion involving gender, whether it’s a movie review or a discussion of rape, the most important thing is making sure that no man gets his feelings hurt.

    Me, bitter?

  • David_Conner

    “The Times Square in which the final ghost battle occurs is chock full of
    signage for businesses that no longer exist in the NYC that we know
    (Mamma Leone’s tourist trap of a restaurant, dime store Woolworth’s, and

    I think this isn’t a sign of an “alternate universe” but of a side effect (whose explanation is either extremely brief or on the cutting-room floor) of all the paranormal activity going on. It seems like Times Square is literally in the past somehow, as shown by the movie marquees. There’s a marquee for the Bruce Lee film “Fists of Fury” (rather poorly executed graphically, so it stood out for me) and at least one other for an early ’70s movie that I’ve forgotten. Or the buildings themselves are “ghosts” of the past now? It looks like there’s some thematic angle they were going for that doesn’t quite work or is insufficiently explained.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I originally meant to write a parody of the classic “But, Ripley” response, but my contrarian instincts –and the number of shows out there with lead or supporting female characters fighting supernatural evil — made it hard for me to write such a response with a straight face.

    Ironically, the biggest problem I had with this movie’s trailer is that it seemed so old hat compared with the shows I mentioned above. Then again, I could say the same thing about the recent Ash vs. the Evil Dead cable series that debuted last year and yet that hasn’t prevented that show from receiving a lot of positive reviews.

    I guess I’ll reserve further judgment till the movie shows up on cable.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Hey, the decade is not over yet.:-)

    And I always thought that Brokeback Mountain and Passion of the Christ provoked far more controversy than Fahrenheit 9/11. Apparently my mileage has varied somewhat…

  • Tonio Kruger

    Leslie Jones’ character isn’t a total stereotype.

    That’s not quite the impression I get from this link:


  • Bluejay

    I didn’t say she wasn’t a stereotype at all, I said she wasn’t a TOTAL stereotype. Her character still indulges in some tropes but manages to avoid others. And she certainly had a better role than Winston did in the original.

    At least that’s the impression I got from seeing the actual movie. ;-)

  • Yes, I have only just recently learned that there was some sort of time-warp element that was cut. Maybe the director’s cut will make it clear.

  • She’s not a total stereotype. Why not see the movie and decide for yourself? :-)

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