Review: The New ‘Ghostbusters’ and Ecto-1
This weekend, the new Ghostbusters reboot finally made it into theaters. Before the film even hit the screen, it was ridiculed by fans upset that a studio would think such a classic would need to be remade. When it was announced that the new team of ghoul fighters would be all women, the uproar grew even louder thanks to the ugly, misogynistic part of the internet that proclaimed that ladies could never fill the big comedic boots left behind by the male team. Now that the film is here for all to see (and judge), is it really as horrible as the internet would have you believe? Check out my review below, and make the decision for yourself by heading into the theater.
Be aware, this review contains minor spoilers, but I won’t discuss anything that was not revealed in trailers or promo spots.
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The New Ecto-1
Since this is a car news site, I’m going to start with the Ghostbusters’ new ride. In the classic movie, the Ecto-1 was a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, which was then outfitted with sirens and equipment that the team would need to capture and remove ghosts from a premises. The original car could serve as an ambulance or a hearse in “normal” life, but about 30 years after it rolled off the assembly line it was snapped up by the paranormal researchers and given a new life. Some would argue that the original Ecto-1 was one of the most iconic things from the previous films, and I would be inclined to agree.
The new Ecto-1, like its predecessor, is built on a Cadillac shell, but this is a 1984 Cadillac DeVille hearse. Its 1984 model year is important, as that was the year that the original Ghostbusters film was released. Some fans were upset that the original Ecto-1 was not used in the new movie, but they need to remember that in our time, a 1950s-era classic car that is in running order is very expensive. Just as this new team cannot afford the sky-high rent for the classic Ghostbusters firehouse in NYC’s trendy Tribeca neighborhood, they would not have been able to afford such a prized classic car. The new Ecto-1’s original body was built 30 years before the movie begins, keeping the idea of the famous vehicle being built from a car that is outdated (but not yet classic) alive and well. Besides, the Ecto-1’s new look as a car that is clearly a hearse, instead of the more ambiguous previous model, is very fitting with the ghost theme.
Don’t assume that the Ecto-1 was just included in the movie to pay homage to the original film, either. We discover in the movie that the equipment on top of it is actually nuclear, so the car is ready to fight with the Ghostbusters and not just take them where they need to go. I won’t say much more, because of spoilers, but I’ll just say that this vehicle is a hero car in every sense of the word. While it’s not the original, which will always make Ghostbusters purists mad, I think this new Ecto-1 is more than capable of standing its ground against, or perhaps rolling over, its critics.
The New Ecto-1 | The Film
When I entered the Thursday preview showing of Ghostbusters, I was on edge. This film had a lot riding on it, thanks to the vitriol of commentators who damned it before it was even screened by anyone outside of the production team. If it was terrible, it could be seen as confirmation of all the hate online and would tell the world that women can’t be funny or carry a franchise with as much gravitas as Ghostbusters. If it was awesome, it would vindicate those who suffered online to fight back against people who are determined to list everything that women can’t do.
I thought that the new Ghostbusters was a really funny summer flick that managed to pay homage to the original franchise without trying to completely copy it. The two people with me and I laughed through the whole thing, and so did many other people in the theater. It was everything I could have wished for from a reboot movie, and I would definitely see it again.
The film was certainly funny, but I will say that sometimes a joke went a bit too long. For example, Kevin, played by the always-gorgeous Chris Hemsworth, is very stupid, and that lead to a lot of laughs. As the movie wore on, I was wincing at a few of his jokes, though. I get it; he’s dumb, let’s move on. When he was possessed by a ghost, I was ecstatic, because then the jokes changed and worked harder to move the plot forward instead of pausing it. I appreciated how the film also managed to work in some references to the hate it received for simply choosing to cast women in a way that was funny instead of bitter.
To me, the story itself was pretty great. Whereas the original Ghostbusters showed the team capturing a ghost and then becoming instant celebrities, the new team operates in our present, where the government likes to keep problems under wraps for as long as possible, and where the internet questions the validity of everything put in front of it. While this team certainly saved the day, it was very clear that they were not motivated by fame and fortune, but rather a desire to study ghosts and help protect the city that they love. Patty, played by Leslie Jones, is afraid of ghosts but she loves everything about New York City’s past and present. While she is funny, at her core she is courageous and ready to fight to protect what she cares about, which is a great role model for any age or gender.
THIS IS WHY FEMALE LED FILMS ARE IMPORTANT pic.twitter.com/DsCj0NlHvg
— trudie (@gyIlenhaaIs) July 10, 2016
It’s a shame that so much was riding on this film, because while it was enjoyable, it is at its core a reboot. There are some things that the classic movie did better, and then of course there are several things that this version did better. Ghostbusters is a fun movie that is perfect for the summer, and I encourage everyone to see it. Will it win any major awards? Probably not, unless they are for technical aspects of the film. Most of the film’s detractors (who have actually seen it) admit that the women are funny, and that any fault in the movie does not derive from the fact that the stars are female. While Ghostbusters probably won’t be written down as a milestone in feminist history, it certainly deserves credit for showing that women can carry a film. Hopefully the studios will recognize this and produce more big-budget films lead by female casts, but perhaps with their own, original stories.
The New Ecto-1 | The Film
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- Rebecca BernardEditor
A Dayton native, Rebecca got her start blogging at the curiously named Harlac's Tongue while studying abroad in the UK. She loves tooling around town with her Ford Focus named Jerome to the song they're playing on the radio. On any given weekend, you can find her with her camera at area festivals, concerts, and car shows, shopping at flea markets, or taking an adventure on the open road. See more articles by Rebecca.