With the embargo lifted, the first hotly anticipated batch of Ghostbusters reviews has emerged over the weekend. So, is the movie the complete disaster fans have predicted it would be, or is it a movie masterpiece?
Well, the truth of it is Paul Feig’s reboot of the beloved movie franchise -- boasting a female-led cast in Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the new ghostbusting team, is...not so bad! In fact, the movie is (as of writing this article) sitting at a comfortable 78% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
So, what did the critics have to say? Here’s a few selected excerpts from a variety of reviews. Interestingly, most reviewers seem to single out Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth’s performances in the movie.
Here’s what Clarisse Loughrey from The Independent thought:
Tonally, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters is identically delivered to Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters. The new film’s just as unabashedly goofy as its predecessor, its paranormal aspects still possessing that kind of giddy, carnival ride spookiness. The team’s first encounter, with the ghost of Aldridge Mansion, is treated with a pitch-perfect imitation of the uneasy awe and eerie trepidation of the 1984 team’s own first encounter with a ghost in the New York Public Library.
With Julian Roman from Movie Web saying:
Paul Feig's remake of Ghostbusters isn't a disaster. It's mediocre at best; not remotely on par with the original, but by no means a terrible film. It took the source material and updated it into a gal buddy comedy. No issues there, the all female cast are comedy veterans. They have a modicum of chemistry and fit their niche perfectly. Feig's script is vanilla with a sprinkling of hilarity. The biggest surprise is that Chris Hemsworth steals the film completely. I'm pretty sure the filmmakers weren't going for that, but he's much funnier than the lead actresses. Diehard fans of the classic Ghostbusters will find many faults. If you watch with an open mind and zero expectations, then it's an average film with better than average visual effects.
Kate Stables from Games Radar said:
Unlike the 1984 film, which was arranged deftly around Bill Murray’s shameless science scams and dry, deadpan reactions, this is very much an ensemble piece. The comedy is warm and sharp-eyed, and the laughs are rooted in the relationships and the women’s learning curve, from clueless amateurs to proton-gun-wielding pros. Watching the foursome pat Chris Hemsworth’s dumb-blond receptionist Kevin about like a cat toy makes for stereotype-flipping fun. But the laughs are on the wry and gentle side, rather than a yuck fest, since our heroine is meek Erin, battered by life and looking for pals and professional validation.
With Katherine McLaughlin from The List adding:
Feig delivers a decent mix of scary thrills and giggles, all grounded by the credible camaraderie between the four women. The emphasis on the friendship between Abby and Erin does leave the other characters less shaded in but there’s something quite touching about their outsider backstories, with the moments of bonding bringing to mind Feig’s early work on cult TV show Freaks and Geeks.
Here's what Eric Eisenberg of Cinema Blend had to say:
There will unquestionably be movie-goers whose experience is hampered by simply being entirely unable to mentally let go of the legacy of Ghostbusters, and the truth is that it can only be called the third best Ghostbusters movie. That's its cross to bear. But it also builds with solid pacing, features crafty and entertaining filmmaking style, and has a number of consistently funny performances from actors delivering lines you'll be quoting and chuckling about days later.
With Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair saying:
These are brief highlights in a film that’s largely an uninspired slog, everyone doing their best to get to the end without screwing things up too much. It’s a real bummer that these filmmakers felt they had to be so careful—with beloved I.P., with a female-driven movie. It’s the dumbest of ironies, really, that they do, in the end, seem pretty afraid of a ghost.
Drew McWeeny from HitFix:
Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters is, above all else, a real Ghostbusters movie. If you’re a fan of the 1984 original (as most comedy fans are), one of the things that’s interesting as you watch this one is the way it echoes off of that film. It is no simple remake, but neither is it a radical reinvention of the core idea. It’s simply a different riff on the same idea, with a solid dose of fan service thrown in to help make the transition from the old to the new.
Said Devin Faraci from Birth.Movies.Death.
The characters are so engaging, their world is so fun and the actresses are so incredibly likeable that I’m excitied to see more… in a film that doesn’t feel endlessly beholden to bow in the direction of the 1984 original every five minutes. And perhaps in a film whose script actually works in the third act. But definitely in a film that is as funny and full of energy as this one.
Terry Schwartz from IGN:
The new Ghostbusters is a fresh take on the franchise, with four strong leads and an interesting new entrypoint into the series. The problems with the film come down to the movie itself, as the pacing and editing don't hold up what otherwise could have been a sharp, quick-witted reentry into a world fans hold dear. It doesn't help that this new Ghostbusters tries too hard to pay homage to the previous Ghostbusters movies instead of fully standing on its own. While there is plenty to enjoy about Paul Feig's new comedy, it's not going to be enough to stick it to the haters who spewed vitriol against the all-lady Ghostbusters on premise alone.
Screen Crush:'s Matt Singer said:
The missteps don’t negate the fun of the first two-thirds. Warts and all, the new Ghostbusters is still one of the best tentpoles of the summer (admittedly, that’s not saying much). It doesn’t tarnish the legacy of the original movie, and its own legacy might have been even stronger if it hadn’t worried about paying homage to the old Ghostbusters quite so intensely. The spirit of both Ghostbuster teams is irreverent; the spirit of the new movie is overly reverent in a way that doesn’t quite suit the characters, or the franchise as a whole. The best tribute they could have made to Ivan Reitman’s great film was a great film that stood completely on its own. This one doesn’t — but it isn’t terrible at all.
Robert Abele from The Wrap:
It’s understandable that this franchise relaunch would want to remind you of the original, but there’s no getting around that this new A-team of ghostbusters are fresh and funny enough to have earned space in the summer comedy firmament. And should it come to further installments, improving on “Ghostbusters II” wouldn’t be that hard.
Here’s what my Blastr colleague Don Kaye from Den of Geek had to say:
Ghostbusters fails to make the case less for its quartet of female paranormal investigators, and more for even being made in the first place. It’s kind of fun, you’ll chuckle here and there, and you’ll appreciate the hard work that the ladies do to make it come to life. But as a remake it doesn’t do anything to enhance the original or expand on it, except perhaps to add bigger and better special effects. It does extend the brand – something Sony Pictures has wanted to do for the better part of three decades – but its impact and presence, like a ghost, is fleeting and ephemeral.
Peter Debruge for Variety:
While both funnier and scarier than Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original, this otherwise over-familiar remake from “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig doesn’t do nearly enough to innovate on what has come before, even going so far as to conjure most of the earlier film’s cast (including Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man) in cameos that undercut the new film’s chemistry.
Mike Ryan from Uproxx said:
In a summer of fairly dismal would-be blockbusters, Ghostbusters easily rises to the top as one of my favorite movies of the season so far. Here’s the thing: The original Ghostbusters is funny, but it’s more “action-comedy” than comedy. I hate even trying to define it, I just think of it as “a good movie.”
David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter:
Although the new Ghostbusters follows the template of the original by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the witless script by Feig and his co-writer on The Heat, Katie Dippold, has no juice. Short on both humor and tension, the spook encounters are rote collisions with vaporous CG specters that escalate into an uninvolving supernatural cataclysm unleashed upon New York's Times Square. It's all busy-ness, noise and chaos, with zero thrills and very little sustainable comic buoyancy.
Here's what William Bibiani from Crave Online said:
The new Ghostbusters is a smart and exciting comedy, and a solid new entry into the classic series. Paul Feig’s film changes just enough about the original concept to make his Ghostbusters feel new, but its heart is the same. It is still a film about blue collar heroes, doing great things because that’s just what they do, whether or not they get any respect for it. It’s a film for anybody who has ever been marginalized for pursuing their passions, and been told that they were making a mistake for doing so. And that's pretty wonderful.
Ghostbusters opens on July 15. Did this first batch of reviews sway you into going to see the movie, or will you sit this one out?