Wednesday, February 01, 2017
Ghostbusters (2016 film)
Based on the 1984 film written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and directed by Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters is the story of two scientists, a gadgets inventor, and a MTA worker who discover strange paranormal events around New York City as they stop them from wreaking havoc all over the city. Directed by Paul Feig and screenplay by Feig and Katie Dippold, the film is a remake of sorts of the 1984 film where it’s women taking charge in trying to stop ghosts from being unleashed in New York City. Starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Andy Garcia, Cecily Strong, Neil Casey, Michael K. Williams, Charles Dance, Ed Begley Jr., Matt Walsh, and Chris Hemsworth as Kevin. Ghostbusters is a dazzling and adventurous film from Paul Feig.
The film is a simple story about the formation of a group of women who come together after some encounters with ghosts where they decide to stop them. That is pretty much the plot as it follows the same idea of the 1984 film but the film’s screenplay by Paul Feig and Katie Dippold focuses a lot more on the bond of four women trying to reveal what could be true despite the fact that they live in a world that is a bit more cynical as well as not wanting to believe that there is such things as ghosts. For the four women who would form their own team called Ghostbusters, they have to overcome many obstacles but also themselves as two of the women in physicists Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) both wrote a book about the existence of ghosts where they were seen as jokes leading to a falling out between the two as the latter would disown the book as she feels it would threaten her tenure bid at Columbia University.
Yet, Gilbert’s past over the book would return due to these recent events as she reluctantly reunites with Yates and Yates’ colleague in inventor/engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) where they would make a major discovery that led to Gilbert teaming with the two to create something to study and stop ghosts. When a MTA worker named Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) reaches out to the three about her sighting of a ghost as well as seeing a mysterious man named Rowan (Neil Casey) doing something odd at the subway station. Patty, whose knowledge of the city, would round out the team as they would also be joined by handsome but dim-witted secretary named Kevin. Still, the Ghostbusters have to keep their work under wraps for the mayor (Andy Garcia) who doesn’t want these stories about ghosts publicized feeling it would threaten his image.
Feig’s direction is definitely stylish in terms of the vastness of the film as it is shot in not just New York City but also parts of areas in and around Boston. While there are some wide shots of the locations, Feig would keep things simple with the compositions as well as create something that is quite loose in its approach to humor. Still, it is about the story and the women needing to prove that there ghosts lurking around in New York City as Feig doesn’t allow the visual effects or some of the offbeat humor to detract from that. Another thing about the film that succeeds is Feig taking his time for the characters to develop as well as developing their gadgets while having the time to goof off and have fun. Even as Feig makes no qualms in putting in references relating to the original 1984 for fun as it would also include a few famous characters from that film. The moments involving the ghosts and capturing them are definitely spectacular in a visual sense where it does have this nice mix of humor and horror that would culminate in this enthralling climax that features large ghosts and Times Square be re-envisioned as it was back in the 1970s/1980s. Overall, Feig creates an exhilarating and fun film about a group of ladies kicking some major ass on some evil ghosts.
Cinematographer Robert Yeomen does excellent work with the film‘s colorful cinematography from the look of the daytime exteriors and some of its interiors to the scenes at night including the rock club and for the film‘s climax at Times Square. Editors Melissa Bretherton and Brent White do terrific work with the editing as it is quite straightforward with some rhythmic cuts to play into the action without deviating too much into conventional speed-cuts that is often prominent of action films. Production designer Jefferson Sage, with supervising art director Bret Frutiger and set decorators Dennis Colvin and Leslie A. Pope, does fantastic work with the look of the home base that the team live in above a Chinese restaurant as well as the look of the hotel where the character Rowan works at. Costume designer Jeffrey Kurland does nice work with the costumes from the design of the jumpsuits the women wear as well as the casual clothes that represent their personalities.
Visual effects supervisors Anthony Dunifer and Peter G. Travers do amazing work with the design of the ghosts as well as some of moments in the ghost battles as well as the film‘s lavish climax. Sound designer Tom Lamberti, along with sound editors Andrew DeCristofaro and Becky Sullivan, does superb work with the sound to play into the sound effects of the noises the ghosts make as well as the sounds of the gadgets and other moments in the film. Music composer Theodore Shapiro does wonderful work with the score with its mixture of orchestral music and electronics that include variations of the original theme song while music supervisor Erica Weis provides a fun soundtrack that features some old-school music from DeBarge and DMX and more contemporary music from Elle King, Mark Ronson with Passion Pit and A$AP Ferg, Zayn Malik, 5 Seconds of Summer, and a bad remake of the original song by Fall Out Boy with Missy Elliott.
The casting by Allison Jones is great as it feature some notable small roles from co-writer Katie Dippold as a rental agent, Zach Woods as a tour guide who would first see a ghost in the film’s opening scene, Steve Higgins as a technical college dean Yates and Holtzmann work for, Ed Begley Jr. as a man who comes to Gilbert about a ghost in his tour house, Charles Dance as Gilbert’s boss at Columbia, Matt Walsh and Michael K. Williams as Homeland Security agents, Cecily Strong as the mayor’s assistant who tries to clean up all of the things publicly, and Andy Garcia as Mayor Bradley as New York City’s mayor who tries to not get the public be aware of the ghosts that are haunting New York City. Neil Casey is superb as Rowan as a mysterious man who has been releasing devices to unleash ghosts all over the city to express his disdain for humanity. Chris Hemsworth is excellent as Kevin as this dim-witted yet hunky secretary that isn’t very good at his job but Gilbert likes him a lot as he is just fun to watch in every scene he’s in while not being afraid of being the object of affection.
Leslie Jones is amazing as Patty Tolan as a MTA worker who joins the group in capturing ghosts as her knowledge on New York City makes her a joy to watch as well as some of the funny comments she brings. Kate McKinnon is brilliant as Jillian Holtzmann as the team’s gadgets inventor who has a very funny sense of humor as well as be very lively and odd in a fun way. Melissa McCarthy is fantastic as Abby Yates as a physicist who has never stopped believing in ghosts where she brings a nice approach to the physical comedy and in her mannerisms. Finally, there’s Kristen Wiig in a marvelous performance as Erin Gilbert as a college professor who reluctantly returns to the world of the paranormal as she is the straight person of the film that tries to deal with what she is seeing as she also brings in the laughs.
Ghostbusters is a remarkable film from Paul Feig. Featuring a great cast, incredible visual effects, and an accessible story that is just to fun to invest to. It’s a film that isn’t just a fun homage to the 1984 film but also a film that manages to be its own. In the end, Ghostbusters is a sensational film from Paul Feig.
Paul Feig Films: (I Am David) - (Unaccompanied Minors) - (Bridesmaids) - (The Heat) - Spy (2015 film)
Related: (Ghostbusters) - (Ghostbusters II)
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