The early reactions are rolling in and most people are giving the Ghostbusters remake positive reviews. Patton Oswalt calls it fun, scary and terrific, while journalist Jennifer Brett, who says she enjoyed the original so much that she’s seen it 75 times, claims it’s even better than the original. Despite the underwhelming reaction to the first lukewarm trailer and the premature hatred hailed at the movie from people who object to women busting ghosts (which, rumor has it, will be openly mocked in the movie), most people are still excited to see Ghostbusters, which opens this weekend.
There are plenty of reasons to look forward to the movie, from the latest technological advances being implemented into the special effects to an all-star cast to 51% of the population stoked about seeing their own gender kicking spectral butt on the big screen. There are dozens of things to choose from, including impossibilities like a better theme song, but here are the top 15 things we want to see in Ghostbusters.
15. Amazing Ghosts and Special Effects
Any fantasy or sci-fi movie released in 2016 should come with a heavy side of mind-blowing special effects. Technology continues to advance each year, paving the way for better monsters, ghosts and proton-blasting brilliance. Most fans agree that the original two films already had incredible ghoulies, ghosties and effects that perfectly balanced terror with humor, so Paul Feig’s film has some huge shoes to fill. In order to live up to what’s already been done, the new Ghostbusters absolutely must include some fresh supernatural elements to wow the crowd.
Trailers have revealed some possible possession, and descriptions of most of the ghosts in the film have been released to the public. There is Rowan the Destroyer, a nostalgic take on Gozer, balloon ghosts that look like they belong next to Five Nights at Freddy’s animatronics and mafia ghosts like John Gotti. Toy releases of Mayhem, a dragon-like demon and glowing subway ghosts have done what most child marketing does: pique the interest of kids and give their parents the tiniest of spoilers. Knowing the identities of these ghosts gives fans even more to speculate about before seeing the film.
14. Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
Two of the most beloved ghosts from the original Ghostbusters film will be returning for the sequel, but as with anything in this modern take on the story, the audience wants to see more from the ghosts. Although the Marshmallow Man was originally an antagonist in the first film, during the Ghostbusters cartoon he developed a friendly camaraderie with the team, as they did with Slimer. Either of these takes could work in the new film, especially with the tall list of ghosts already in it.
Trailers do show the new team reacting with disgust when encountering Slimer eating everything in sight, so there is a good chance that the ghost will have a very similar role to his previous one. That said, Marshmallow Man, who was originally thought to be in one of the trailers, may not be in the film at all. Depictions of a “burned marshmallow man” in the trailers are actually of a new villain called Rowan the Destroyer.
13. Wiig’s Awesome Awkwardness
Comedian Kristen Wiig’s biggest trademark is her hilarious awkwardness. Her most famous part, Annie in the film Bridesmaids, was largely built upon the character’s bungled adulting, which Wiig nailed. Whether she is engaging in some clunky flirting, trying to one-up more sophisticated characters at BFFing or just goofing off with friends, she has the audience rolling in the aisles with laughter. Wiig’s most famous character on Saturday Night Live, the Target Lady, also demonstrates the same level of humor, from the character’s over-the-top excitement about Target to her dorky bowl haircut.
In the Ghostbusters film, Wiig will play scientist Erin Gilbert. Gilbert specializes in particle physics, but Paul Feig calls her character, “Particle physicist, academic firebrand, spectral warrior.” It is implied that Gilbert may be the “awkward one” already in the trailer, where she is seen being slimed by a ghost she attempts to calmly converse with. Given that she is tasked with proving that ghosts do exist before saving the city from over a thousand supernatural spirits, the film is ripe with opportunities for her to shine.
12. New and Old Tech
One of the most iconic aspects of the Ghostbusters franchise has always been its technology. Although the proton packs are plainly visible in the trailer, the audience has yet to see some cool gadgetry reflecting the current century in the trailers for the film. That said, some behind-the-scenes footage has been released, giving viewers a taste of what they will see in theaters next weekend.
Melissa McCarthy says that the proton packs themselves have had “a whole amazing revolution.” The new film also features a ghost chipper, a ghost shotgun, a proton glove, a ghost pistol and even grenades. Each prop is also supposed to be as heavy as it would would be if made to be real, making each scene appear more believable in the movie. From the trailer quotes, audiences already know that an unnamed individual is also using a device that “amplifies paranormal activity,” as well. Less than a week remains to guess at what each item will do exactly as well as how they will work, but cast members claim that they are better and more efficient while still being reminiscent of the original technology. Plenty of other nostalgic nods to the first film are also present, from the team’s uniforms to the Ecto-1.
11. Original Character Cameos
Although cameo appearances from several of the original Ghostbusters in the film have been confirmed, the studio has not released any footage of their roles, providing audiences with a wide open space for speculation. Fans are divided when it comes to what they hope the characters show up as actual Ghostbusters or just odd characters sprinkled throughout the film for grins. Most of the original cast is back for at least a brief moment on film: Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver are all on screen, at least for a moment. There is even a tribute to the late Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler so well. Some spoilers have been released about the nature of each cameo, but viewers still have lots of room to envision what each role will look like on film, particularly in regards to potential irony, witty dialogue and nods to their previous characters in the 1984 movie.
Bill Murray, one of the last actors from the original film to sign on for a cameo, said that he considered the offer for a long time before agreeing to make an appearance. “It kept eating at me, and I really respect those girls. And then I started to feel like if I didn’t do this movie, maybe somebody would write a bad review or something, thinking there was some sort of disapproval [on my part],” he said.
10. Scrappy Heroes
A reluctant public needs the services of a team of weirdos to save all of humanity from a problem it would rather not admit exists: Who you gonna call? Trailer footage already depicts members of the public doing exactly that in the new film, with one person telling them, “It will haunt you every night. Whatever it is, no one should have to encounter that kind of evil. Except you girls. I think you can handle it.”
Among the reasons why fans love Ghostbusters so much is the simple fact that they are scrappy heroes who take on what nobody else wants to even acknowledge, and they often do it with little to no appreciation. In Ghostbusters II, the team even faces a trial for rendering the city powerless during their efforts. To fully realize the heart of the Ghostbusters story, the new film has to have the team battle bureaucracy and public hate while they take on the supernatural – and in a way, it already has.
9. Female Experiences
Paul Feig movies are pretty universal, but they also put a funny spin on female experiences in the same way other movies do with men’s stories. Feig has done much to disprove two common misconceptions largely perpetuated by a small but vocal minority: that women cannot be funny and that stories led by a female cast will not sell. On the contrary, Bridesmaids scored a 90% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, brought in over $288 million on a $32 million budget and had people laughing until they cried. Along with plenty of stand up routines and television shows, other modern films like Easy A and The Heat have further proven both ideas to be false.
Audiences are more than ready to hear women’s stories and see shared experiences through a female’s point of view. Although the new film needs to go beyond the originals and establish itself as a new entity, especially if its makers wish to build an expanded universe, fans still want to see some of the same experiences through a new pair of eyes. Girls in the 1980s who grew up wishing to wear proton packs are now mothers whose daughters can not only see their own likeness on the big screen, but also buy Abby, Patty, Erin and Holtzman action figures to play with. Plenty of fans may argue that young girls could already visualize themselves as Ghostbusters, and while plenty have done that, it is an entirely different perspective to actually see oneself being represented in a story. It is akin to telling little girls they can grow up to be president when 43 examples prove otherwise. To many viewers, seeing these female Ghostbuster experiences is going to be an exciting adventure. For some, it will simply be because it’s an adventurous and fun comedy, but for others, it will also be because of their inclusion in a story they have wanted to be part of for decades.
8. Some Goofy McCarthyism
While Melissa McCarthy is one of the funniest people alive, many of her most funny moments exist within the R-rated realm, making viewers worry that the Ghostbusters’ family-friendly rating will water down her typically raunchy performances. The comedian is well known for her high levels of zany goofiness and energy, both of which will elevate the film exponentially if she is given the opportunity to use her skill set. There is not much to go by from the trailers, giving fans much to hypothesize about, but Feig typically relies on her fun personality to deliver the funniest moments of his films.
In Ghostbusters, McCarthy plays Abby Yates, a lifelong believer in ghosts. There is a fun spot with her getting snarky with a cop who does not believe in such. McCarthy says that people have always made fun of Yates, giving her the spirit of an underdog who will not quit. McKinnon confirms this, saying that it is Yates’ “enthusiasm that moves everyone forward.” Wiig says the character does not care about what people think about her, which epitomizes the spirit of the whole team.
7. Tongue-in-Cheek McKinnon
Kate McKinnon’s style of comedy is quite different from McCarthy’s and Wiig’s, which is fantastic for this movie. She adds a rakish irreverence to the team while still portraying a hardcore scientist. Feig specifically stated that he selected four women with very different comedic talents that mesh well together to create this film. From the trailers, audiences have been treated with some Peter Venkman-style innuendo when McKinnon’s character, Jillian Holtzman, is on screen. The other characters even refer to her by last name, as they did with Venkman.
She seems to be the wise-cracking character, but she does it dryly, without fanfare, so it surprises you when it hits. Her personality could be described as an eccentric genius, and fans are eagerly awaiting what lines she will be delivering with that persona. From her wide-grinned expressions and obvious disdain for authority, Holtzman may be the most interesting character in the film. McKinnon says that this character is more closely related to her own personality than any other hat she’s worn, making it even more exciting to see how Holtzman turns out on screen.
6. Fun Comedic Cameos
The original Ghostbuster cast is not the only pool from which cameo performances are being pulled. Cecily Strong, another SNL member, will have a law enforcement role in the movie. Michael K. Williams and Andy Garcia are also making appearances, but audiences are wondering if, even with all of this star power, there will be additional surprise cameos in the movie.
Reviewers are already saying that Feig paid homage to the original two Ghostbusters films in a multitude of unexpected ways, so there is always the possibility that another GB-related face will be present in the movie. Rick Moranis already confirmed that he will not be in the film, but between the second film’s villains, voices from the cartoons and other super fan essentials, there is still plenty of room for a few Easter eggs.
5. An All-New Hemsworth
When Chris Hemsworth is on screen, he is usually trying to defeat evil in some sort of epic battle. Seeing him in a secretarial role should be a new and fun experience for all of his fans. He also plays a Ghostbuster-wannabe who gets possessed as a result of his shenanigans, which makes him a blend of both roles fulfilled by Annie Potts and Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, but with the addition of his own goofy character’s quirks.
In his Sony character vignette, Hemsworth called his character, Kevin, “a big, dumb puppy dog.” McKinnon called him a “Ken doll with the insides scooped out,” while Jones says that when she watches the movie, she just wants more Kevin. It should also be said that Hemsworth’s character furthers the gender role reversal in the movie, which will be interesting to see. It turns out that Hemsworth is great at improvisation, sending both Wiig and McCarthy into stitches while they made the movie.
4. A Strong Performance From Jones
Leslie Jones is a commanding, unapologetic comedian. Although there has been a controversy over Jones, the only black member of the team, being the only non-scientist Ghostbuster, both Jones and Feig have defended the character Patty Tolan, saying that she is a vital component of the team. A subway worker, Tolan knows the city inside and out, but she’s also an amateur historian, reading about New York history and culture in her spare time. Jones is known to take control of any stage she is on or scene she is in, so fans are expecting her performance to be not only funny, but powerful. Wiig told interviewers that Jones delivers strong comedic talent “with every line.”
Tolan comes to the team after experiencing a supernatural phenomenon in the subway tunnels of the city. She rounds out the team, providing not only the team’s transportation and uniforms but also the grounded New Yorker perspective they need to form a cohesive unit. Jones promises there will be no “clapter” in this film, ensuring that audiences will be delighted with its results.
3. A Creepy Villain
Some critics who expect the movie to be funny are saying that they still worry about it falling flat in terms of its scare factor. Although Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II were comedies, they were also scary films with creeptastic villains who at least made first-time viewers uncomfortable. In order to be a success, viewers want to get big belly laughs as well as tight scares that stick with them long after they leave the theater.
Neil Casey’s character, Rowan the Destroyer, looks more like a burned Stay Puft Marshmallow Man or one of Casper the Friendly Ghost’s gross uncles than the stuff of nightmares, but audiences do hope that he will measure up to the big villain he is rumored to be. In fact, he looks a lot like the Ghostbuster team symbol. Hopefully Rowan will appear much scarier on screen, but there are obviously plenty of other monsters to look forward to as well.
2. Strong Team Camaraderie
Another reason the Ghostbusters are such a hit is that each character complements the next, creating a cohesive unit that entertains audiences while getting the job done. Part of what made Egon, Ray, Peter and Winston so awesome was simply the combination of their personalities. Each brought a layer to the table that meshed well with the next, and the reboot should deliver the same effect.
Paul Feig told us in an interview this week that it is the great characters of a film that make it a success, and that he had to carefully consider each role before making his final calls. McCarthy was originally set to play Jones in his mind, but the first actress he thought of for the film was McKinnon, who had previously stated that she wanted to be a ghostbuster in one of her interviews. He also admits that a challenge he faced while making the movie was living up to fan expectations, saying that if it had been any other person rebooting the franchise, he would have been wary, too. How each of the casting choices interact with one another will make or break the film for most viewers.
1. Huge Box Office Numbers
Despite the “controversies” over the movie, many people are still quite excited to experience it, opting to not judge it until after they’ve seen it. That number seems to be growing now that positive early reviews are pouring in. The Guardian is calling it “a blast,” while the New York Times says it is “that rarest of big-studio offerings – a movie that is a lot of enjoyable, disposable fun.”
Most fans clutch their favorite fandoms tightly to their chests and do not wish to see them undergo a reboot, and that is understandable because they just love what they love that much. But ultimately every retake, remake and reboot of media is simply another way to enjoy that fandom. Between classics from Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austin and Lewis Carroll inspiring new films, books and graphic novels, both Marvel and DC receiving reboots and even the strong differences between modern books and their on-screen adaptations (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games) that fans still seem to appreciate, plenty of alternate takes are still beloved. While there will always be duds among the re-imaginings of any universe, there will also always be new forms that favorites take, delighting old fans and bringing many new ones to the fold.