I don’t watch many ghost movies where there are actual ghosts and not just some faker trying to scare everyone. I had never seen the originals, and so unlike many Ghostbusters fans from the past, I was able to see this movie unbiased.
(see the official trailer for Ghostbusters)
I’ll be honest, this is not the film you go to see if you want a tight story, easily followed character progression, and any sense of realism. It’s a far-fetched tale with ghosts, slime, and ridiculously dumb receptionists. One of the most realistic elements of the film was Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) back and forth battle with the Chinese restaurant over the number of wantons in her soup.
Still, I rather expected this going in. I mean, it’s a movie about ghosts where four women are wearing coveralls and zapping paranormal beings with bright shafts of light. You don’t walk into that kind of film expecting realism or a deep message. So, instead I set my expectations accordingly and I ended up enjoying the movie for what it was.
The characters of this movie were actually pretty engaging and funny. Kevin-the-receptionist played by Chris Hemsworth was incredibly delightful. I have only ever seen Chris in more serious roles where he plays a fierce warrior, but I have heard that he is naturally funny. I loved getting to see this goofy and cutesy side of him. He was perfectly adorable and added a nice sparkle to the film. I only wish they had used him more.
The ladies, Erin (Kristen Wiig), Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Patty (Leslie Jones) were each unique and funny in their own way. Their witty banter was cute and engaging. I was annoyed with the amount of cussing and crass language thrown into the dialogue. It was unnatural in how it was fit in, and it felt like a cheap way to be edgier. The characters were funnier when they were just talking about normal things using words safe for all ages.
*I’ll cover this in the language section of my review, but be warned, both Imdb and Common Sense Media failed to cover that subject correctly. We went to the movie after looking at the reviews anticipating far less language than was actually in the film. I have no idea why they did such a poor job covering it as they are usually pretty thorough, but be forewarned especially if you are considering bringing your children.
I know a lot of fans of the original Ghostbusters films were incredibly disappointed with this remake. I can see how they could be disappointed, but like I said before, I have never seen the old ones and was able to enjoy this film unbiased.
Now, here’s the info you’ll need in order to make a decision about whether or not this film is beneficial for you or your family.
Sex/Nudity- There are a few designs that the receptionist has drawn up to be potential logos for the Ghostbuster ladies. He’s drawn a few designs of ghosts with big boobs. The ladies are somewhat embarrassed and explain that is not the image they want to project.
One of the ladies finds Kevin to be very attractive and makes a few, slightly suggestive comments that will probably go over younger viewers’ heads.
Some dancing, either to loosen up before a big speech, or in celebration of a victory. It doesn’t feel overly sensual, it’s mostly goofy, but there will be pelvic movement.
A female mannequin with nothing on is possessed by a ghost and featured prominently for a minute. It’s not a detailed mannequin, but it is clearly female given the chest shapes.
Violence/Gore- The women blast ghosts with bright rays of light and destroy them.
A ghost posses a main character for a time and she attempts to throw another woman out of the window. She is relieved of the ghost after being slapped very hard by her friend.
A man is thrown out of a window by a ghost. It’s obviously implied that he was killed, but nothing is ever shown.
A gruesome story is told at the beginning of the movie about a woman-now-ghost who murdered her servants.
A man commits suicide by electrocuting himself. This is a part of his plan to become a ghost himself.
A woman walks up to a ghost and attempts to communicate with it. The ghost hovers for a time and appears calm, but in a split second turns very violent and spews slime all over the woman. This is a startling scene.
Lots of slime. Lots of screaming.
Language/Profanity- As I said above, this subject was woefully undersold in other parental reviews. Here is a complete list of the amount of profanity in this film, I apologize that I could not get an exact word count, but I can at least every word that you can expect to hear.
Many g*d, oh my g*d
At least one use of J*s*s
I think there was at least one use of s***
One very unnecessary sequence where a man uses a middle finger, on both hands, and flies his hands around like birds in the women’s faces. He is never intended to be a gentleman by any stretch of the imagination, but this scene was so unnecessary and stupid.
Other words would include crap, butt, stick-up-your-butt.
Very unnecessarily crass, to the point that some of the language felt out of character.
Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking- Wine or champagne, one bar scene at the end of the movie where the ladies are having a beer together. This section really isn’t an issue.
Frightening Scenes- It’s a ghost movie, expect this to be frightening for younger viewers. I would have been terrified of this film as a child, especially of the larger ghosts that took the form of giant and evil parade balloons.
*Please, on behalf of your children, don’t assume that they can just handle something or if they are young enough they won’t remember it. My mom was 3 years old when she saw King Kong and she was tormented by that movie for years, it still effects her today. Children pick up on and remember a lot more than many will give them credit for. Keep this in mind when deciding if this film is for your children or not.
Heroes/Role Models- All of the main characters were decent people. They are persevering and brave. The primary motivation for the villain was that he had been bullied and poorly treated his entire life, and now he wanted the world to suffer when he unleashed the murderous paranormal on them. Our main cast of characters have also been poorly treated, but they represented a contrast to the villain in that they fought to protect the world and people, even those who called them fools.
Talking Points- This movie isn’t really message-centric, so there aren’t a ton of talking points presented. Still, here are a few things you could go over with your family.
- Are ghosts real?
- Can we blame “society” for the difficulties in our life, or do we take responsibility for our own attitudes.
- Are you willing to keep doing what you know is right, even if everyone is calling you crazy.
- Would you protect someone who had been mean to you before?
- Is revenge the way to solve being hurt? What other options are there?
- Will you still do the right thing, even if no one will ever know that you did it?
This movie was somewhat outside of my comfort zone in what I typically watch. I enjoyed it for what it was, even through its faults. I hope that this review will enable you to make the best possible decision for you and your family.