Review: Female-centered ‘Ghostbusters’ a comic success


Claire Gilliland, Editor-in-Chief


When women replace men as smart, funny, and successful protagonists in movies, it seems that chaos ensues. This was the result when the popular movie “Ghostbusters” was remade with female leads.
The original “Ghostbusters” movie, released in 1984, was a huge comedic favorite among viewers, especially sci-fi fans. It featured famous actors like Bill Murray as the protagonists, men who worked to keep ghosts out of their city.
When a reboot of the popular classic, featuring female leads rather than male, was announced, the idea received mixed reviews. Many fans of the original movie said that they would not even watch the new film, stating that they did not want to see a movie that they thought would ruin the franchise. While reading reviews arguing this point, however, I discovered that many are plagued with obvious anti-feminism, even going so far as to shame the stars for their age and weight.
Others said that the idea of an all-female cast seemed a lot less progressive than it was advertised as, saying that the idea of an all-female cast is reverse-sexism, or otherwise claiming to be feminism when it isn’t.
I disagree with the negative reviews. Unlike many, once I heard about the idea for “Ghostbusters” with an all-female cast — comedians Melissa McCarthy as Abby Yates, Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann, Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan, and Kristen Wiig as Erin Gilbert — I was excited. The reboot was simultaneously major and minor in my mind.
I think that women in STEM are finally getting recognition in this film. There aren’t many movies in which the smart doctors and scientists are female, and especially not ones in which those women are main characters. “Ghostbusters” was a chance to change that and introduce younger viewers to the idea of important women in the STEM program.
For example, young YouTube interviewer Lindalee Rose revealed the impact that the film could have on young girls when she interviewed “Ghostbusters” star McKinnon.
“It was the best [to work with the gadgets],” McKinnon said. “When I was your age, I … loved seeing the circuit boards. … It was so cool being around all that stuff I loved as a kid.”
At the same time, the movie idea didn’t surprise me much. It isn’t a radical concept anymore that women can be scientists and engineers and doctors. Though it may be nice for young kids, especially girls, to see women as the Ghostbusters, females are gradually receiving more acknowledgement for holding STEM jobs, so the idea that not all scientists are men isn’t a huge, controversial plan like it is to some adults —mostly men — who grew up watching the original “Ghostbusters.”
As someone who has not seen the original “Ghostbusters,” when I watched the movie, I realized that all of my hopes for it had been realized. Yes, there are women leading the film. Yes, the women are strong and funny and smart. Yes, they are independent and co-own a business, albeit an initially struggling one.
Highlights are the performances by leading actresses McKinnon and Jones, comedians who appear on “Saturday Night Live” along with co-star McCarthy. For example, McKinnon’s character snacks on Pringles while there is a ghost in front of the Ghostbusters, claiming that she can’t resist the “salty parabolas.”
Additionally, actor Chris Hemsworth plays a supporting role in what is essentially the “Ghostbusters” team’s blond secretary. Hemsworth’s part is funny as well due to his character’s stupidity, which is a refreshing change to the dumb blonde stereotype that is usually placed on women.
Despite the negative reviews that “Ghostbusters” received, some even coming before the film’s release, the movie was truly a success. It made me laugh and feel empowered, and I hope it has the same impact on young girls and kids everywhere.