Ghostbusters (2016) Review

Answer the call.


Dr. Erin Gilbert and Dr. Abby Yates are co-authors of a book which posits the existence of paranormal phenomenon such as ghosts. When the book proves unpopular, Gilbert distances herself and eventually becomes a physics professor at Columbia University, while Yates continues to study the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Dr. Jillian Holtzmann. Years later, Gilbert learns Yates republished the book, threatening her bid for tenure at Columbia. Gilbert reunites with Yates and, in exchange for getting the book out of publication, agrees to assist Yates and Holtzmann on a paranormal investigation.

The group witness and document a malevolent ghost, renewing Gilbert’s belief in the paranormal. However, a video of their investigation is posted online, and Gilbert is denied tenure. She accepts an offer to join Yates and Holtzmann’s project, but when a new institute director learns its nature, he fires them. To continue their research, they open the “Department of the Metaphysical Examination” in an office above a Chinese restaurant, hire dim-witted but handsome Kevin Beckman as a receptionist, and start building equipment to study and capture ghosts.

Meanwhile, MTA worker Patty Tolan witnesses a ghost in a subway line and contacts the Department. The group investigate, documenting the ghost and successfully testing Holtzmann’s proton containment laser, but their proof is again dismissed.

Despite the setbacks, the group continues to develop their ghost containment technology and advertise their services as what pundits are calling “Ghostbusters”. Patty joins the team, providing a historic knowledge of New York City and a redesigned hearse dubbed “Ecto-1”. Unbeknownst to them, the ghosts are being summoned by devices built by Rowan North, an occultist attempting to bring about the Apocalypse. Rowan plants another device at a live music venue. The Ghostbusters are called in, and capture the ghost in front of hundreds of people.

When supernatural debunker Dr. Martin Heiss demands proof of the Ghostbusters’ claims, Gilbert (who resents being labelled as insane or a liar) releases the ghost from containment, and it throws Heiss out a window before escaping. The Ghostbusters are brought to see Mayor Bradley. It turns out that the city and the Department of Homeland Security are well aware of New York’s ghost problem. While privately supporting the team’s work, the mayor’s office and DHS publicly denounce them as fraudsters. The Ghostbusters realize Rowan is planting his devices along ley lines which intersect at the Mercado Hotel in Times Square, a site with a history of paranormal activity, and discover Rowan building a portal to the ghost dimension in the hotel basement.

Rowan electrocutes himself rather than be captured, and Holtzmann deactivates the portal. Gilbert discovers a copy of her and Yates’ book among Rowan’s possessions. It turns out that he planned all along to become a ghost and turn the spirits he releases into an army under his command. Rowan returns as a powerful ghost, first possessing Yates and then Kevin. After possessing the latter, he opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts. The police and DHS attempt to stop Rowan and are quickly subdued, but the Ghostbusters fight through the army of ghosts to reach the portal.

Rowan takes the form of the Ghostbusters’ logo, grows to enormous height and starts destroying the city. The team devise a plan to use Ecto-1’s nuclear reactor to cause a total protonic reversal, close the portal and return the ghosts to their own dimension. The plan succeeds, but Rowan drags Yates into the portal with him. Gilbert leaps into the portal and rescues Abby, and they both return to Manhattan with prematurely white hair. Afterward, the mayor’s office agrees to secretly fund the Ghostbusters’ research while publicly continuing to denounce them as frauds. With new funding, the Ghostbusters are able to move to a better facility–an old fire house. Despite the mayoral smear campaign, New York lights up with thanks and tributes to the Ghostbusters.


Well, I can safely say that this film was absolutely OK. Just OK, the cast were actually pretty funny (Chris Hemsworth being the stand-out), the action scenes were well put together, and the cameos from the original surviving cast were good (save for Bill Murray’s cameo), and while I understand his reasoning, I still would’ve loved to have seen Rick Moranis show up. However, there are some moments that the movie is confused by, like, how they can’t kill ghosts just capture them in one scene, then they can in the next. Another is how Leslie Jones was incorporated into the movie. She only joined because she had the car that would become Ecto-1, and knew her way around New York. Lastly, it like most movies from Sony Pictures, it’s shilling various Sony products, which is fine (sorta), but it’s advertising everything, Pappa Johns, Twinkies, Progressive, etc. Overall, while it doesn’t hold a candle to the original, it’s really not as bad as it was originally made out to be, and if there really is one positive to come out of this movie, it  is this: I finally tried Ecto Cooler. Oh, and stay after the credits, there’s a tease for a sequel, but the movie bombed so it’s kinda meaningless.

RANK: 3 out of 5


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