The original Ghostbusters (1984) has a very special place in our hearts. We have frequently been called “Ghostbusters” over the years. While far from accurately describing what we do, this reference is a source of pride in the offbeat and entertaining experiences we provide.
More than one Haunted Walk karaoke night has ended with a stage full of tour guides providing a spirited (heavily spirited in some cases) version of the iconic theme song. Seeing a group of people who lead the public into haunted buildings, screaming at the top of their lungs, “WE AIN’T AFRAID OF NO GHOSTS!”, is quite charming. Despite brave appearances, many of us are very much afraid.
Adjusted for inflation, the original Ghostbusters is the 34th highest grossing film of all-time and has been enjoyed by tens of millions of people. Legendary performances by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis set a very high bar for all that followed. Even Ghostbusters 2 (1989) never reached the same financial or critical success of the original.
The film’s co-writer and co-star, Dan Aykroyd was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, the home of our head office. He spent his childhood summers at the family cottage on Loughborough Lake near Kingston, Ontario, the birthplace of The Haunted Walk. All of this to say, Ghostbusters and The Haunted Walk share a unique connection.
From the first announcement that Ghostbusters was getting a reboot with an all-female cast, it was under fire. Purists declared it sacrilege, believing the studio was tarnishing the beloved franchise with an unnecessary and moneygrubbing reboot. Others, flirting with sexism, found the all-female cast to be troubling and unpalatable.
Before the film was widely-released this past weekend, it was already being hammered on IMDb, scoring a 4.4 as of Friday night. For comparison, other classic films in that range include: Fantastic Four (4.3), Grown Ups 2 (5.4), After Earth (4.9), and Battleship (5.0). Once the general public saw the movie over the weekend, the score has trended upwards to a 5.2.
We believe this score is still far too low.
While it likely will never become the cultural touchstone the original was, the new Ghostbusters delivers an entertaining and fun experience. Regardless of gender, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon are four of the most comically gifted actors working today. The laughs are frequent and hearty, even if at times somewhat childish. The chemistry between the players is undeniable. Chris Hemsworth, as the dim-witted receptionist, is hilarious and transgressive.
The film sticks fairly close to the original Ghostbusters plot and character-types, which make the proceedings fairly predictable. Perhaps it would have been better as a continuation of the original Ghostbusters storyline or was a spin-off of the Ghostbusters’ world. (Something similar to what 10 Cloverfield Lane did so well earlier this year.)
There are several excellent cameos and nods to the original film that will delight fans. We won’t spoil those for you here – but keep an eye out while watching it!
Overall, the film is an amusing and light-hearted romp with the paranormal. While perhaps not as scary and funny as the original, it still does quite well. Sony already has plans for a sequel.