Ghostbusters (2016 film)
Booyah! Emphasis on the boo.—Jillian Holtzmann
2016 Gender Flipped Continuity Reboot of the classic 1984 film Ghostbusters, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Chris Hemsworth. It avoids the pitfalls of being a simple Remake with a plot that draws inspiration from both Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II while still being entirely new. It also differs from its predecessors by slightly changing the ratio of supernatural horror to comedy a bit more to the horror side, without sacrificing the humor.
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- All Part of the Show: When the Ghostbusters take on a demonic creature during a rock concert, the audience thinks it's all part of the show. And when it becomes clear that it's not... they still enjoy the spectacle.
- Anachronism Stew: While the skyline, cars, fashions and other elements point to a contemporary (2010s) setting for the film, there are other details, such as the presence of a Woolworth's, Loft's Candies, and Regal Shoes in Times Square, movie posters, a sign celebrating the end of the Vietnam War, plus a Times Square news ticker referencing the Carter presidency, all of which suggest the action is taking place in the 1970s.
- Another Dimension/Eldritch Location: What lies beyond Rowan's gate. Abby gets sucked into it during the climax, and Erin dives in after her.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Rowan's vaguely Steampunk-looking psychotronic devices. And of course the Ghostbusters' equipment.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Numerous. An entire parade of malevolent giant balloon creatures, including the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. And Rowan's One-Winged Angel form at the end.
- Awesome Backpack: The proton packs, even more so than in the original films, given the accessories and extras they have -- like Holtzmann's handgun projectors.
- The Bechdel Test: Passes with flying colors.
- Big Bad: Rowan after he dies.
- Boston Doubling: The majority of the film's exteriors were filmed in Boston, not New York.
- Chekhov's Swiss Army Knife
- Cloudcuckoolander: Kevin, in addition to being a Dumb Blonde:
Kevin: Would it be okay if I bring my cat to work sometimes? He has major anxiety problems.
Abby: You know what? I would love to let your cat live here with you, but I have a pretty severe cat allergy.
Kevin: Oh, I don't have a cat. He's a dog. His name's My Cat.
Abby: Your dog's name is My Cat?
Kevin: (carefully) Mike Hat.
Erin: Your dog's name is Mike, last name Hat?
Kevin: Well, his full name is Michael Hat.
Abby: I can't say that I'm allergic to dogs... so.
Kevin: You know, it's all right. He lives with my mum.
- Connect the Deaths: The ghosts that the team encounters all manifest along a pair of Ley Lines that intersect at a hotel on Times Square.
- Continuity Reboot
- Cut the Juice: Anticlimactic example, when Jillian quickly and easily shuts down Rowan's "ghost machine".
- Demonic Possession: Well, ghostly possession -- of Abby, by Rowan after his electrocution. Complete with shout-outs to The Exorcist.
Patty: (slapping Abby) The power of PAIN compels you!
- Also Rowan's possession of Kevin in the last quarter or so of the movie.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Rowan.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Erin, by Kevin, most of the time.
Erin: Kevin? That's a manly name! My name's Erin. With an E... for Every... thing you want.
- Dumb Blonde/The Ditz/Brainless Beauty: Kevin is a rare male example of the Dumb Blonde; he's so dumb that he shouldn't be allowed out without a minder.
- E=MC Hammer: Averted: the production team brought in real particle physicists to create all the equations seen in the movie, and to redesign the proton packs with 21st century science and technology.
- Eldritch Abomination: What Rowan becomes after his death.
- Elephant in the Living Room: A meta example appears in the film: When Erin and Abby post their first ghost footage on YouTube, they make the mistake of reading the comments. The first thing Erin's eye falls on is "Ain't no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts." This was a deliberate acknowledgement (and a clever defusing) of the incredibly vitriolic outrage a small sexist segment of the Net raised over the gender-flipped casting.
- The End of the World as We Know It: What Rowan intends to bring about.
- Energy Weapons: Just about everything Holtzmann builds in the movie, from the proton packs to grenades to a power glove for punching ghosts.
- Evil Is Bigger: Rowan's One-Winged Angel form.
- Exclusively Evil: All ghosts. Period.
- Fantastic Science: The original purpose of the "Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination". Unlike the originals they're not hunting ghosts to make money but to capture specimens they can analyze.
- Fog Feet: The ghost of Gertrude Aldridge, who plays much the same role as the Library Ghost in the original.
- For Science!: As the counterpart in many ways to Egon Spengler, this is a big part of Holtzmann's personality.
- In general, this is the motive for the entire group, rather than profit (and fame) as in the original. They catch ghosts in order to study them, instead of being supernatural exterminators. Hence why the film has no extended Montage of successful missions and why the climax is a battle -- they've never been about catching ghosts for the sake of catching ghosts.
- Gender Flip
- Ghostly Goals: Virtually every ghost in the movie is type B: forces of pure, motiveless evil.
- Ghoul Gate: Rowan opens one at the climax of the film.
- Government Conspiracy: While the city government of New York (especially the mayor) is very aware of the supernatural problems plaguing the city and lets the Ghostbusters handle them, they simultaneously paint the Ghostbusters as crackpots and troublemakers to keep the people from panicking.
- Guns Akimbo: Holtzmann takes out a mob of ghosts with a pair of handgun-styled proton projectors near the climax of the film.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Patty's "exorcism" of Abby. Amusingly, they never even try to reach dumb-as-a-rock Kevin to get him to fight off Rowan.
- It Is Beyond Saving: Rowan's opinion of the world in general.
- It Won't Turn Off: Averted with Rowan's "ghost machine". Holtzmann is easily able to shut it down after Rowan's electrocution. Unfortunately, Rowan-in-Kevin's-body is just as easily able to turn it back on.
- Jacob Marley Apparel: Implied of some of the ghosts.
- Ley Line: A pair of ley lines intersecting in Times Square is key to the plot.
- Licking the Blade: Jillian Holtzmann licks her proton-pack-handguns after kicking ghost butts near the climax of the film.
- Locked Into Strangeness: Abby and Erin's hair (but not their eyebrows!) turns white during their brief sojourn on the other side of Rowan's gate. Either they dye it or it goes back to normal by the time the end credits roll.
- Mad Scientist: Holtzmann gives off this vibe oh so strongly.
- Mad Scientist Laboratory: Rowan's basement rooms at the hotel. Oddly, although Holtzmann seems more Mad Scientist than he does, her workspace looks more like a conventional laboratory.
- Mirror Monster: There are numerous mirrors with ghosts behind them in Rowan's basement lair. When he activates his machine, they shatter, releasing the ghosts and more.
- Miss Exposition: Patty's hobby is NYC trivia, and she always seems to have a relevant bit of information to share.
- Mythology Gag: Many many.
- When looking for a building, they are initially presented with the firehouse from the original film, but have to pass on it because it's too expensive.
- The Stay-Puft Marshmallow man appears as a haunted Macy's parade balloon.
- The Ghostbusters logo is created by a graffiti artist who first paints a ghost on a subway wall, and then puts an international "No" circle with bar over it when told he can't paint there. Holtzmann snaps a shot of it with her smartphone.
- They don't initially call themselves the Ghostbusters, but eventually give in and use that name when no one ever uses the name they initially give themselves, "Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination".
- When they first enter Times Square, a billboard advertising Twinkies with the slogan "That's a big Twinkie!" is briefly visible in the lower left of the screen.
- A reference to Zuul slips in during The Stinger.
- Night of the Living Mooks: The ghosts manifested at the climax of the film are at least semi-corporeal, making for a disturbingly physical opposition for the Ghostbusters.
- Old Shame: In-universe, the book that Erin and Abby authored together, for Erin.
- One-Winged Angel: Rowan's giant monster form, based on the ghost in the Ghostbusters logo.
- Paranormal Investigation: The original purpose of "Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination". They stumble into being hunters and heroes.
- Place Worse Than Death: During one of the credits scenes, Holtzmann announces the successful creation of holding facilities for the ghosts they catch. Then she admits she doesn't know where the ghosts go when they are captured but thinks it might be Michigan.
- Positive Discrimination: Giving the female Ghostbusters a supposedly more altruistic motive than the original Ghostbusters had can be seen as an attempt at this.
- Power Fist: One of the pieces of anti-ghost ordnance Holtzmann builds is what amounts to a power glove for punching ghosts.
- The Power of X Compels You!: Patty bellowing "The power of PAIN compels you!"
- Reverse Polarity: The Ghostbusters send Ecto-1 and its nuclear reactors into Rowan's gate; it explodes and changes the gate from spewing out ghosts into a giant ghost trap that sucks back in all the entities at loose in the city -- including Rowan himself.
- Sassy Black Woman: Patty.
- Sinister Subway: The station where Patty works is under the former location of a jail where executions took place. Not surprisingly, the ghost of an electrocuted prisoner manifests there.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Tries to sit a bit more on the horror side than the original, tried not to sacrifice the comedy. How well it succeeded is a matter of individual opinion.
- Spontaneous Choreography: In a cut scene, Rowan (while possessing Kevin) forces this on a battalion of police and firefighters.
- The Stinger: Easily a half-dozen separate little vignettes appear during and after the credits.
- Token Minority: Patty, as Winston's counterpart.
- Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: Kevin. What can you say about someone who has no idea how to answer an office phone?
- Whip It Good: The proton packs (and especially Holtzmann's proton handguns) act like energy whips at times.
- Whispering Ghosts: Referenced several times with various team members listening to tape recordings for electronic voice phenomena.
- Who You Gonna Call?: While they're in the ghost business For Science!, not money, they'll still come running to help.