We finally saw Ghostbusters last night.
Here is what I knew (or, at any rate, had been told) about the reboot going into the theater:
It is an all girls team.
Kate McKinnon supposedly stole the show.
There were (I am currently at an impasse re verb tenses here. Fuck a verb) no fat jokes or eating shenanigans.
It was a reboot to showcase female heroes. It was not done to upgrade the plot, change the plot, enhance or add nuance to various characters, or to fundamentally change what the original Ghostbusters movie was all about.
Many white straight men loudly think this movie is not worth it.
I, of course, walked in there with a nausea-inducing sort of tension built on an uncomfortable blend of excitement and worry. This sort of set up usually goes one of two ways for me: I wind up psychotically loving it, or I utterly don’t and am rage incarnate that anyone thought highly of anything even tangentially related to something as chunkily vomit-addled as whatever it was they hyped up past the point of perfection. I was prepared, in this case, to love it just based on it being a women revamp and nothing else. I mean, right? No one wants to hate a female empowerment reboot of a much beloved movie.
I spent the entire movie thoroughly enjoying myself. I did not think Kate McKinnon stole the show; I loved all those ladies the entire way through it, and if I’m being super specific, anything Leslie Jones said was fucking hysterical and Kirsten Wiig’s shenanigans around Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) made me guffaw consistently. I loved that Melissa McCarthy’s character had -7 interest in Kevin’s appearance. I thought each of their characters were necessary and clearly delineated and excellently carried by each of them. I loved that the reboot didn’t try to make them flawless or perfect: they made mistakes just as their male counterparts did in the original, and it detracted absolutely nothing from their badassery. I loved that they emphasized relationships/prior history and communication in nearly every exchange. I loved that they flipped the tropes; typically female roles were given to men (Kevin, screaming theater manager — Michael McDonald, tour guide — Zach Woods, I think). I loved that the references to sexism and misogyny were specifically chosen to include not getting taken seriously, but not any of the bullshit reasons men like to give for it, most notably weight. There was zero body shaming anywhere in that movie. Zero. Four female main characters. No body shaming. Let that sit for a bit. It’s rare. It wasn’t in any of the jokes. Or regular conversation. Or anywhere. Even the bad guy (a white male who whines to four women about not being taken seriously!!! AAAAHHHHH the BEST!!!! omfg epic/have died) doesn’t body shame when he flings sexist insults at them towards the end.
I loved the cameos and the diligence regarding tribute to the original. I may or may not have yelped at last cameo, because DERP didn’t see it coming somehow. I was a little sad that nothing clever happened with the ‘don’t cross the streams’ bit (maybe it did and I just somehow missed it? OH WELL guess I have to see it again oh noes), and I felt the lead up to the big battle was rushed in terms of plot development, possibly because it was lengthy in terms of character exposure (and of course they took their time with character exposure. Of fucking course they did; don’t for a second think that a missed minute of their screen time wouldn’t have further fueled the side eye this movie generated). I in no way felt my two ultra-micro-not-even-real issues detracted from my sum total. It’s Ghostbusters. It did exactly what it was supposed to do, and then set itself up for doing whatever the hell it wants to do exactly the way the Star Trek reboots did; the movie closed with that team landing full funding and state backing. It can, if it chooses, continue to shatter social constraints and expectations in every direction. I’m ecstatic.
* Pablo, here’s the update! 🙂