Ghostbusters (2016) Parent Review
Unlike some past performances from Wiig and McCarthy, this movie is surprisingly light on sexual innuendo and suggestive language.
As Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) anxiously awaits the news that she has been granted tenure at the prestigious university where she teaches, she becomes haunted by her past in the form of a book she co-wrote early in her career. Knowing “real scientists” don’t believe in the super natural, Dr. Gilbert seeks out her former friend, paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), in an attempt to keep the book quiet before her career is ruined. Despite their icy reunion, the two past pals, along with engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), agree to check out the sighting of an apparition in the historic Aldridge Mansion in Manhattan. There the three brave investigators see the spirit of the dead woman, who seems peaceful and beautiful. But the poltergeist quickly shows her true colors and spews green, slimy ectoplasm all over Erin. That is all it takes to pull the serious scientist back into the world of paranormal exploration and a new squad of Ghostbusters is born.
The cast is rounded off by Leslie Jones as sassy Patty Tolan, who joins the team, bringing with her all the knowledge she has of New York’s history. Chris Hemsworth is a delight as Kevin, the eye candy/ditsy receptionist. The young man is maddeningly inept, yet because he is so pretty he gets the job. The gang even comes with an updated version of the iconic Ghostbusters’ mode of transportation: a converted funeral hearse called the Ecto-1.
Although the movie has its fair share of supernatural foes, the main antagonist is a human. Disgruntled hotel employee Rowan North (Neil Casey) is ready to exact revenge on the world as payback for years of being bullied. He has devised a way to unleash an army of evil spirits to take down the Big Apple.
Some of the apparitions are cartoonish in appearance, like Slimer and the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man who are recognizable from the original movie. Others border on ghoulish and demonic. Their bony faces and jagged teeth seem to jump out at the audience and will certainly be frightening for young children. Even the specter from the Ghostbusters’ logo comes to “life,” first as a benign character, then as a giant, twisted version of itself that could almost compare to the clown from Stephen King’s It.
The movie touches on the battle for acceptance for who we are, and not what the world says we should be. Even though Rowan goes to extremes when planning his vengeance, he is defeated in the end reminding us that violence isn’t the best way to resolve a conflict. As well, it is refreshing to see the female characters in this film portrayed in a positive light. Instead of constantly using curse words and vulgarity, these women are, for the most part, intelligent and articulate. At least three of them are depicted as having achieved a high level of education and all four are shown as capable and confident. Although Patty was fun to watch and brought a lot humorto the storyline, it would be refreshing to see a black character written as something other than the stereotypical street smart, wisecracking comedic relief.
Unlike some past performances from Wiig and McCarthy, this movie is surprisingly light on sexual innuendo and suggestive language. Very reminiscent of the 1986 Ghostbusters movie, this film is filled with witty rapport and some tipping of the hat to the original plot and characters. Annie Potts, Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver each have cameos so make sure you stay to the very end of the credits so you don’t miss anyone. Best suited for ‘tweens to adults, this remake will likely play well to those old enough to say (and mean), ” I ain’t afraid of no ghosts”.Directed by Paul Feig. Starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones . Running time: 116 minutes. Updated July 14, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Ghostbusters (2016) here.
Ghostbusters (2016) Parents Guide
How can parents approach the subject of bullying in a way that empowers children to confidently stand up for themselves without accidentally encouraging them to also become a bully?
In the movie, there is a stereotypical “dumb blonde” type receptionist. Yes, it is a twist to see the eye candy be a man, but it does beg the question… Are we really still living in a world where the underlying message is that what you look like is the most important thing? If you are considered attractive (male or female), do you think that will get you further ahead than others? How should we talk to children about physical beauty? How might we promote the value of inner beauty, intelligence, self-confidence and self-worth instead of just good looks?