No Fear (Ghostbusters, 2016)
The moment it was announced that instead of Ghostbusters 3, we were getting a rebooted film with an all-female team there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Never mind that much of the original cast would have been less than convincing at their ages…never mind that in the time it would have taken to get made Harold Ramos passed…and the original cast without Egon would feel off. But what really seemed to drive the anger was the notion that this was feminism out of control, trying to take away someone’s toys.
It was never that, mind you. But that did not stop folks from screaming to the hills that this would never be a good film. Throw in the severely low Youtube rating for the trailer (which is suspicious as the trailer fared much better pretty much everywhere else) and you had an overflow that made people skeptical.
What we have received from Director Paul Feig and his cast is a pretty funny film. The team is brought together pretty organically. Erin Gilbert is approached by a man hoping she can help him with a ghost problem. She is a Physics professor at Columbia University and has hoped noone ever discovers a book she wrote with a friend. She finds out, however, the book is available on Amazon. Going to confront Abby for releasing a book she promised to never release. It does not go as expected and soon (along with Abby’s associate Holtzmann) they are chasing ghosts. They end up hiring dumb as a post Kevin and adding subway worker Patty to their ghost hunting team.
The film is a lot of fun, and strong comedic performances. The film devotes a lot of time to them learning to use their equipment, but often to very funny results. Admittedly, Kate McKinnon steals the show as Holtzmann, often able to inspire laughs with ease and a wink. Hemsworth is almost adorable as the handsome but very stupid Kevin.
I was a bit disappointed that Leslie Jones character Patty was not a scientist after the first trailer, but it turned out okay. And Jones never devolves into racial stereotypes that comedies lean on, such as Loud Black Lady. No, her character is a blue collar worker who finds herself facing the super natural. I enjoyed her performance.
Rounding out the cast, McCarthy and Wiig have good chemistry as a pair of estranged friends. Also, the cast is full of seasoned and talented character actors. The cameos from original cast members are fun and the “fan service” is rarely intrusive.
This film has a different type of villain…a young man who feels walked over and is bitter at the human race. But he is not the only problem. As with the original, they face bureaucratic interference as well. Unlike the original, the Mayor is well aware of the ghosts, just trying to keep it all hidden from the public.
I walked out of the film with a smile, and laughed throughout the film (as did the rest of the audience I was with). This film does not ruin anyone’s childhood. It is not quite as good as the original (though it has far more good roles for women…the original had two major female roles)…but it is far better than Ghostbusters 2. Feig and the cast should be pleased with the product, which overall is effective and funny.