The Only One's I'll Call - Ghostbusters (2016) | Film

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By Claire


I want to share some things with you:
Number 1. I love this movie with my entire life, and nothing I could write would ever be what this movie deserves. 

Number 2. I have not see the original 1984 Ghostbusters.

And while you gasp in shock, let me tell you that I probably will watch it one day. It has always been on my radar, but I just never got around to it. However, I can't help but also think that I no longer need to watch the original, because now I have this fantastic all-female version.

The most prominent reactions, when I share this point of view, are scepticism, confusion and judgement. I realise the first film is probably great, but you need to let me have this moment.

Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy) and starring some of America’s funniest women, Ghostbusters (2016) is one of my favourite films of the year. 

From left: Leslie Jones as Patty, Melissa McCarthy as Abby, Kristen Wiig as Erin and Kate McKinnon as Holtzmann

First, there is the amazing cast: Melissa McCarthy (who is no stranger to being directed by Feig, with Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy) as paranormal researcher Dr Abby Yates; Kristen Wiig as particle physicist Dr Erin Gilberts; SNL’s Kate McKinnon as nuclear engineer Dr Jillian Holtzmann and Leslie Jones as New York historian and MTA worker Patty Tolan.

These women are hilarious together. Their ability to play off each other and their chemistry is perfect. In press junkets, Kate McKinnon describes the set as summer camp, because of how much fun they had on set. For a comedy film, it is important the cast have fun with each other, because it shows so well on screen.

The new Ghostbusters are extremely smart and kick ass without their gender explicitly being mentioned, or called out in a negative or blatant way – except for the villain, who is never shown to have any redeeming qualities, and in a call out to internet misogynists in a YouTube comment gag.

This film means a lot to young girls, and women, who love STEM. According to director Paul Feig, the film inspires women and children to pursue STEM, which is an issue discussed previously in [THIS] blog post.

It was so refreshing for me to be able to sit back and not feel uncomfortable about the way the women were being represented. I didn't have to fill the role of voyeur and constantly worry the heroine was going to break an ankle wearing heels in action scenes. Their “uniforms” were sturdy and practical: safety over style. Abby and Erin are allowed to have their hair in ponytails, rather than allowing it to whip around their heads in action sequences. How often do you see women allowed to have their hair out of their face in battle?

Busting some ghosts

Favourite moments include Abby’s love of wanton soup, Holtzmann explaining her gadgets to the group, her slow-motion take-down sequence in the battle of Times Square (Holtzmann’s general everything, actually. McKinnon’s deadpan delivery of lines and reaction comedy is bar to none), and Patty versus the possessed mannequins.

Finally, as much as I loved Chris Hemsworth’s character Kevin, as hilarious as he is (my sides were hurting during the scene we first meet him, in his job interview as a receptionist for the Ghostbusters), I do agree, to some extent, how regressive the dumb blonde trope is. It is overworked and was used to an epic scale in the film. To my understanding, the receptionist in the original films was not a dumb blonde, so why make Kevin one in this film?

HOWEVER, I think the use of Kevin as a dumb piece of eye candy is a good device for highlighting the sexist trope and forcing viewers to reflect on the absurdity of it.

Chris Hemsworth as Kevin 

Ghostbusters is not perfect. We need more women of colour in lead roles, playing a variety of characters. This film, though, is an excellent start, and paves the way for more female-led, non-sexualised action and science franchises in the future.

Compare it to the original films all you want, but we must not forget this film’s cultural significance, and how much this film means to women and children everywhere. 


Cause a Cine do not own any of the images in this post.
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