Ghostbusters remake is smart and hilarious
Ghosts, science, brass rats, and Boston — what more could you want?
Directed by Paul Feig
Starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Neil Casey, Chris Hemsworth
Ghostbusters is a hilarious action-filled remake of the critically acclaimed 1984 version. This one casts four women to compose a team of sharp Ghostbusting badasses. With Ghostbusters, MIT gains another notable fictional alum, Erin (Kristen Wiig), who sports a gold brass rat throughout the film. Chris Hemsworth plays Kevin, a dumbfoundingly incompetent secretary — an interesting departure from his role as Thor, the ultra-masculine Norse God in Marvel’s Thor. From its casting decisions to its functional-not-sexualized costuming, the movie challenges gender stereotypes without being heavy-handed about it or making it the focus of the film.
Erin and Abby’s science knowledge, Holtzmann’s crack engineering skills, and Patty’s encyclopedic knowledge of New York City make them the perfect squad to work out the science of the paranormal and take down ghosts that are spread out at strategic locations around the city. The group’s chemistry created a lovable, though at times dysfunctional, team.
Whether it was Kevin’s clueless antics or Holtzmann’s quirky dancing (there is a scene where she accidentally sets the lab on fire mid-dance and somehow manages to continue, working the blaze into her impromptu routine), the film kept me awkwardly cracking up in the theater. Even the most minor characters like the takeout delivery guy (Karan Soni) who can’t seem to get the wanton-to-soup ratio right in Abby’s order add to the experience.
My one real qualm with the film is that the villain, Rowan (Neil Casey), seemed underdeveloped. He was angry with the world because he had been bullied his whole life. How clichéd. It would be nice if he’d had a more interesting motivation and a better plan than just simply causing chaos with the ghosts so he could rule the world.
Because of the flimsy villain, the plot is mostly what you’d expect. The Ghostbusters chase down and bust ghosts. But the richness of the characters and their interactions more than make up for the lack of ingenuity in the plot.
Though set in New York City, many of the scenes might remind you of places a bit closer to home as much of the film was shot in Boston and other Massachusetts locations. The haunted house featured at the beginning of the film is the Boston University Castle. Some scenes were shot in Boston’s financial district, at the Wang Center on Tremont Street, and the Kaze Shabu Shabu restaurant in Chinatown served as the Ghostbusters headquarters. If the Ghostbusters’ lab set up looks familiar to you, it might be because the filmmakers consulted with two physicists, Janet Conrad and Lindley Winslow, when making the movie. According to the MIT News Office, MIT labs and offices served as inspiration for the sets in Ghostbusters.