10 Things Parents Should Know About ‘Ghostbusters’ (2016)

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Ghostbusters 2016
The all-new Ghostbusters make their mark. No spoilers below the image. (Image: Columbia Pictures)

1. What’s it about?

Similar to the original Ghostbusters, this movie follows a group of scientists as they seek to prove the existence of the supernatural. Through as series of missteps and ingenuity, the female quartet turns their research into a business hunting ghosts. When the barrier to “the other side” is broken, it’s up to the team of Ghostbusters to protect Manhattan from the ghostly uprising.

2. Will I enjoy it?

It depends. If you’re not open to a new interpretation of an established classic and can only envision the previous cast in the title roles, then it is admittedly an uphill climb. That said, if you’re able to allow this film to stand on its own legs, then yes. The movie certainly has several moments that made me cringe because it felt too forced and unnecessary (Slimer’s companion). Fortunately, there were enough laugh-out-loud moments and several scenes of sheer perfection (Kate McKinnon kicking butt, you’ll know the one) to outweigh any bad. Let me be clear: this is first and foremost a comedy, and not every gag is targeting my demographic, but there are a lot more jokes that land rather than fall flat. One of the few disappointments I have with this movie is that I felt they gave away too much in the trailers, and I rarely felt surprised. Despite that, I came away pretty happy.

I saw Ghostbusters during an advanced screening in Atlanta and the audience had numerous fans dressed in movie-accurate (classic) jumpsuits, and even they were laughing, clapping, and cheering at different points throughout the movie. Also, the majority of the comments overheard leaving the theater were positive, and considering the how highly regarded this group obviously held the original 1984 movie, that certainly speaks volumes. Don’t believe the pre-release social media disdain for “ruining” this iconic movie property. It may not be a masterpiece, but it is certainly a fun ride!

3. Will my kids enjoy it?

Older kids will most definitely enjoy Ghostbusters. I attended the screening with my friend and his 12-year-old son who said it was the best movie he’s ever seen. Now, I don’t know how wide his exposure to other movies has been (he only saw the second Ghostbusters movie—I know, I know), but that’s pretty high praise. Younger kids will probably enjoy most of the movie as well, but there are certainly some legitimately frightening parts that will scare the small ones. Kids will love the comedy in the movie, and Chris Hemsworth’s role as an inept receptionist will probably be a highlight. I plan on taking my 11-year-old daughter to see the movie soon after the wide release, but will leave my 7-year-old at home.

4. What’s it rated? Why?

It’s rated PG-13. According to IMDB, it received that rating “for supernatural action and some crude humor.” Specifically, there are a few references to boobs, bodily functions, and I know they said the “S-word” at least once. Mostly, I think the PG-13 rating is due to some of the frightening ghost scenes. The first scene in this one is just as scary, if not scarier, than the opening library ghost scene in the original. Also, you do see someone die in this version. Just like the original, this one isn’t squeaky clean, but rather, “clean enough” in my book. If this had been rated in the ‘80s, then it would have certainly gotten a PG rating, but the PG-13 rating for this one is a good idea since it will help parents keep the really young kids away, lest they want sleepless nights comforting frightened children.

The 2016 Ghostbusters crew. Image: Columbia Pictures
The 2016 Ghostbusters crew. Image: Columbia Pictures

5. Do I need to have seen the previous Ghostbusters movies to enjoy it?

No. This movie can stand entirely on its own. All the characters are introduced, and the movie takes place in a world where no other Ghostbusters exist. However, if you’ve already seen the original movies, then you may have a greater appreciation (or disdain) for several key elements. Similar to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ reverence to the original Star Wars, there seems to be some familiar plot points to the first Ghostbusters along with overt nods to certain Ghostbusters touchstones.

6. How is the new cast?

Great. No complaints in my book. Kristen Wiig is as wonderful as always, Melissa McCarthy isn’t her typical “Melissa McCarthy” character as much as she is in other movies, and Leslie Jones isn’t the one-dimensional character I feared she would be from the trailer. Kate McKinnon, however, steals the show. From the trailers, I was worried her character’s personality would seem forced as the “quirky one,” but either due to her skill as a performer, the writing, or both, she adds just the right amount of weird fun to any scene she’s in.

7. Will I see any familiar faces?

Yes. There are cameos galore from a number of stars. I won’t list their names here, but if you want to be spoiled, you can go look at the full cast list on IMDB. That said, director Paul Feig obviously made great effort to appease fans.

8. When’s a good time to go to the bathroom?

There’s a scene about midway through the movie (just after a character gets pulled out of a window) where the ladies are testing out new weapons that doesn’t do much to advance the plot. The scene isn’t very long, maybe just two to three minutes, so be quick! The entire movie clocks in at 116 minutes, which at just under two hours is on the shorter side of things these days.

9. Is it worth seeing in 3D?

Let me say, I am not a fan of 3D. If I have to choose between a standard screening and a 3D screening, I will always choose the non-3D version. That said, the screening I attended was in IMAX 3D and was amazing. It was the best use of 3D I had ever seen. Proton streams burst off-screen, ghosts plowed through the audience, and none of it seemed like an obvious 3D scene. Instead of taking the viewer out of the story as a gimmick, it all seemed to just fit in naturally with the rest of the story as an enhanced piece of the experience. Needless to say, special effects have come a long way in the 30+ years since the first one. When I go back to take my daughter to see Ghostbusters, I’ll make a point to attend a 3D screening.

10. Is there anything during or after the credits?

Yep. There is some funny stuff starting almost immediately into the credits followed by some absolutely atrocious dancing scenes that seem to have been (thankfully) cut out of the feature presentation. If the dance montage hasn’t stricken you blind, then be sure to stick around for the post-credit scene.

Disclaimer: I saw a free screening of the new Ghostbusters movie and my childhood is still intact. Give it a shot!

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