Review: Ghostbusters is a Thrilling Reminder of the Importance of Representation

Graphic by Mel Egan

By Abby Lass


Rating: 4/5

On July 15th, the all-female Ghostbusters reboot thrilled audiences of all ages despite the plethora of highly negative hype that preceded its release.

The film follows one-time best friends and scientific co-conspirators Erin Gilbert (a somewhat demure and slime covered Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (the hilariously no-nonsense Melissa McCarthy) as they team up with fellow scientist Jilian “Holtz” Holtzmann (an enigmatic and zany Kate McKinnon), subway worker Patty Tolan (an unstoppable Leslie Jones), and beautiful if brainless secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) in order to stop a warped hotel janitor (Neil Casey) from bringing about the apocalypse.

With this many Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids alumni, I probably would have anticipated more laugh-out-loud moments, but the comedy is relatively toned down (with the exception of McKinnon), with only minor quips and a few running gags. Still, the humor is there, delivered in a way that keeps this movie light and fun for the whole family without getting in the way of the plot.

While it’s unclear what the ghosts are actually capable of doing other than causing property damage and sliming people, the sense of danger is real enough and the CGI impressive enough to earn the heightened action sequences and catapult this film into the 21st century.

It was also heartwarming to see the many cameos from the original cast members, including Bill Murray (Dr. Peter Venkman) as a newstime naysayer, Dan Aykroyd (Dr. Raymond Stantz) as a cabbie, Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett) as Holtz’s mentor, and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddmore) as Patty’s Uncle Ed. With the additional appearance of Karan Soni (better known as Dopinder the lovesick cab driver from Deadpool) and the destruction of Boston’s Shubert Theater at the hands of a goat-faced demon, there are easter eggs to spare.

This film was a fun if forgettable summer romp through the supernatural that almost anyone could enjoy, so what was all the fuss about?

Well, some people seemed to consider a female-lead remake of the 1984 classic nothing more than “pandering to feminazis” and were not afraid to complain about how simply the idea of an all-female ghostbusting squad ruined the entire franchise (this was months before the film was even released, let’s not forget).

Do reboots exist almost entirely to pander to the audiences of the original films? Of course they do– that’s why they’re such a good deal for movie makers. I often find myself rolling my eyes when I hear about franchises from my parents’ childhood getting brought back just so that producers can make money off of nostalgia, but the decision to update this storyline and replace the powerful men with powerful women is what sets this remake apart.

What made this movie so amazing for me, and for a lot of other girls as well, was the fact that while this is a movie that involves women, it is not about women.

What this film is about are scientists. It is about people who are fighting the forces of evil every way they know how. It is about people who are ignoring those that think that they are worthless or incapable and using their brains, their friends, and their courage to do what needs to be done. And these strong, independent, funny, quirky, complex, intelligent individuals just happen to be women.

Simple as that.

People have a right to want to protect films and characters that they grew up cherishing, that goes without saying. But when a movie is able to take a storyline and expand it, adapt it, take advantage of the modern technology at hand, and provide young girls with role models that show them that there is nothing wrong with being weird and brilliant and passionate, then there is absolutely no reason that that film should not be celebrated.