Last year I talked about “girlcotting” Star Wars — supporting with my money and my attention a movie that gives me a female hero. So along comes Ghostbusters, a whole pack of women kicking spectral ass: of course I went to see it, on opening weekend.
I loved it.
Not in the same way that I love the original film. They’re different decades, different flavors. It took me a little while to let go of the 1984 version, to see this one for itself; there are parallels between them (on a variety of levels), but the 2016 film is coming at those things from a different angle. You can certainly line up this crew against that one (Erin = Peter, Abi = Ray, Holtz = Egon, Patty = Winston), but they aren’t the same people in drag. They go through a different arc and arrive at a different place.
And can we just stop for a moment to talk about Holtz? Jillian Holtzmann, the Ghostbuster played by Kate Mckinnon. This movie is basically the Holtzmann Show Featuring Holtz and Her Toys — and not because everybody else is boring; it’s just that Mckinnon walks away with nearly every scene she’s in. It is also apparently canon that she’s a lesbian: Sony seems to have instructed the director not to say so, but he’s not saying so in a way that makes the message pretty clear. If this isn’t the breakaway favorite for Yuletide 2016, I suspect that will be because it’s already too big for the exchange.
If you watched the original trailer and cringed, rest assured: that trailer was a terrible representation of the movie. The best lines aren’t in there. The characters’ nuances don’t come through. Patty, the character played by Leslie Jones, is not the one-note stereotype the trailer would have you believe: when she says “I know New York,” she isn’t talking about “urban street smarts” or anything like that. She’s talking about the stack of books she’s read that make her a walking encyclopedia of New York history.
(And dear god Chris Hemsworth’s character makes fence posts look like beacons of intelligence. It’s kind of amazing.)
It isn’t flawless. Neither is the original. But I enjoyed it a hell of a lot, and if I don’t go see it again in the theatres, it will only be because I’m still busy moving house.