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Who you gonna call?

I will say upfront that the new Ghostbusters movie was review-proof for me. Long ago, I decided that I was going to see this movie on opening weekend no matter what anyone thought of it, to vote with my dollars in favor of movies with female leads, and against the whiny dudebros who feel entitled to demand that no such movies exist. To paraphrase something my friend D said on Facebook, I ain't afraid of no ghosts, but patriarchy is another story. Plus, I do have a certain nostalgia for the original, even if it hasn't held up very well in some respects (in particular its casual and not-so-casual sexism). And last, I have a mixed record with Melissa McCarthy/Paul Feige movies -- I liked Bridesmaids well enough, but its gross-out humor aspects were not for me; I enjoyed Spy but didn't fall completely in love with it; and I did not care for The Heat. All of this to say that I didn't have particularly high expectations (despite good early word of mouth from friends), but I was determined to see it anyway.

Fortunately, my expectations were not only met but exceeded. This movie is great, certainly much better than the trailers would suggest. Fun and funny, all four leads are delightful -- especially Kate MacKinnon as the irrepressible Holtzmann; a lot of the early buzz has circled around her performance, and the praise is highly deserved -- and Chris Hemsworth is a hoot as a perfect gender-flip of the sexy dim-bulb secretary stereotype. It works as a homage to the original film, and it equally stands alone as its own story. Perhaps more than anything, I love that all of the most important relationships in this film are among women. There's no overt romance at all; instead, the movie's emotional core is Abby and Erin's rekindled friendship. Although not perfect by any means (there are plenty of issues I could point to, if I were so inclined), what Hollywood tent-pole film is? When I have that much fun at a movie, I'm not inclined to spent a lot of time going after its flaws. That's what rewatches are for, and I definitely want to see it again; if nothing else, the audience was laughing so hard, and in some places cheering and clapping, that I'm sure I missed a number of the jokes.

I don't think it's an accident that the villain of the piece is a basement-dwelling (literally! -- he lives and works in the basement of a hotel) man-child who wants revenge for the slights that he believes the world has inflicted upon him. Certainly this aspect of the film had to have been planned long before the Internet hate campaign against the movie, but it remains appropriate nonetheless. (There's at least one line that's a clear reference to the haters, added in after the trailer was released, and it got a huge laugh from the audience.) The commentary is sly, and excellently done. In some respects, he reminds me of another whiny entitled bro-villain, Kylo Ren of The Force Awakens, and I wonder if we're seeing a new trend in film antagonists. If so, I welcome it and am curious to see how the trope is examined in other movies.

I also have to mention the cameos from the original cast. All perfect, including the sweet tribute to the late Harold Ramis, and especially the ultimate fate of Bill Murray's character. It pleases me that they were all involved -- Dan Ackroyd and Ivan Reitman, the director of both original films, were both executive producers -- and it worked well as a passing of the torch to a new generation.

In sum, I definitely recommend this movie. See it in theaters, soon if you can, not just to support entertaining female-led action comedies, but because it's a blast, and being in a theater filled with other fans enhances the experience. (Stay through all the credits!)

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/749533.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.

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owlmoose
Jul. 18th, 2016 07:20 pm (UTC)
You should definitely give it a shot! The following question might be overly blunt, but I feel compelled to ask it: what's the gender breakdown of friends who've liked it as compared to those who didn't like it or gave mixed reviews? Obviously this isn't true in every case, but I've seen a number of folks run numbers on this, and on average women are more likely to have liked it than men (even discounting the whiny dudebros phenomenon as mentioned above). I saw it with three other women and two men, and all of the women loved it but one of the men was lukewarm (the second guy did like it though).
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