By Amber Broyles
The paranormal has been an intricate part of my life for as long as I can remember. I guess I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but the study of paranormal phenomena and its sciences have always fascinated me. So, when 9-year-old me discovered Ghostbusters I couldn't have been more thrilled. A cast of seemingly-average people catching ghosts with science? Sign me up. Nothing excited me more than the idea that an average person like me could catch and study ghosts. You may need a PhD to create the technology, however, you don't need one to operate it. That's the real draw of Ghostbusters.
This new film doesn't fail to deliver that same thrill and excitement. I can imagine little girls and boys in their seats in the theater staring up at the screen wide-eyed and hopeful. Unlike other reboots of the past few years, this film gets it. It may not hit the mark every time but at least the filmmakers understand what made the original so great without flat-out copying it. The humor is still dry and sarcastic, for the most part. The bureaucratic jabs are still present, even amped up, I dare say. The comedy comes from the characters themselves.
In name, design, desires, and personality, these characters are nothing like their predecessors. The roles they play in the plot and against each other are inspired by the original. Still, this inspiration is only a vague foundation for the rest of who they are. They don't feel like male characters that were shoehorned into a gender-reversal. They are unique women through and through. However, they don't rely on their gender to flesh out their personalities; they are people that just happen to be of the female variety. As it should be.
Thank god the paranormal elements are interesting. To be honest, that was the component I was most worried about. The ghosts are just cartoony enough to still be fun. They look nothing like the ones in the original but that’s a good thing. I don’t think anyone could pull off that look nowadays. It’s uniquely 80’s and if used now would feel campy. Not to mention, would be accused of copying the original. The main conflict is based on real science that plays into paranormal theories. Without a problem that’s both a mix of science and the supernatural, it just wouldn’t be Ghostbusters.
Ghostbusters (2016) is its own thing, which is the only thing that it logically could be. You cannot and should not remake the Ghostbusters. The original was a one-in-a-million chance that it would work the way it did. You can't recreate that kind of magic. However, if you can understand its magic, you can take that knowledge, throw in a few new fun elements, and make a decent love-letter to a film that's admired by so many. It's not trying to be Ghostbusters-circa-1984. It's trying to be Ghostbusters 2016. It's certainly refreshing to see a reboot try and modernize a classic without completely ignoring the heart of the original.
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