First, let's address the elephant in the room. Where the original two movies had four male characters as the Ghostbusters, this version replaces them with a female team. While the new characters have fairly obvious analogues to the original films, each of the new Ghostbusters seem to be able to hold their own and aren't simply female versions of Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston.
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids, The Martian) is a particle physicist teaching at Columbia University. Close to achieving her tenure, she finds out that an old friend and colleague, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids, Mike & Molly) has published a book on ghost hunting that the two buried many years before. Hoping to keep her embarrassing secret hidden from her boss, Harold Filmore (Charles Dance, Game of Thrones), she confronts Abby.
Erin quickly learns that Abby has never lost her passion for the subject. She has even roped in an electrical engineering wizard, Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live), and the two are ready to do whatever it takes to prove that ghosts are real. Abby agrees to take the book down if Erin will join her and Holtzmann in an investigation of a recent haunting. What the trio finds is not only proof in the existence of ghosts, but video documentation of the event - surely no one can deny their discovery, right? Well, in this modern world of skeptics on the Internet, their video proof soon has the trio branded as hoaxes and when Erin's boss learns of the incident, Erin finds herself looking for a new job.
The three ghost hunters put their heads together and decide to make researching ghosts a serious business - something that can be scrutinized by the scientific community and show once and for all that they are right. The fourth member of the newly created Ghostbusters is Patty (Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live). As a metro worker for New York City, Patty follows a strange man, Rowan (Neil Casey, also of Saturday Night Live note), into the subway tunnels where she is confronted by a ghost and asks Erin, Abby and Holtzmann to investigate. After their encounter, Patty insists that her knowledge of the city's history will be a vital tool to the team and becomes the fourth Ghostbuster.
Rounding out the group is Kevin (Chris Hemsworth, Thor, The Avengers), the group's bumbling and rather stupid receptionist. While Kevin has trouble with the simplest aspects of his job, like answering the phone or letting the girls know when a guest has arrived, he has a heart of gold that really adds to the group dynamic.
As the team investigate the uptick in ghostly encounters, they start to put the pieces together that not only point them to the strange man that Patty followed, but also to a specific building in the city. Will the group have their experimental tech and knowledge of all things ghostly ready in order to stop whatever threat Rowan has planned?
While the quintet of Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, Jones and Hemsworth makes this an enjoyable film, some of the support characters also add a lot of additional humor. These include Karan Soni as Bennie, the Chinese food delivery man who never gets Abby's order right, as well as Andy Garcia (The Godfather: Part III, The Untouchables) and Cecily Strong (another SNL-er, The Meddler) as the Mayor and his assistant, respectively.
The film also had a nice selection of cameos from the original film. These include Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver. There is also a nod to Harold Ramis that sharp-eyed viewers should be able to catch.
While the additional minutes for the Extended Edition include quite a few all new scenes, there are also a few subtle swap-outs where the editors chose completely different takes. One of the most notable additions, though, is towards the end of the film when the police and military forces try to bear down on the threat to New York City and end up being possessed and forced to dance out some classic disco moves. Where the Theatrical Version skipped the dancing part and left viewers wondering why the militants were posed in such an odd way, the Extended Edition doesn't hold back the boogie-fever. This is definitely one case where the added footage helped the film, where some of the others helped to develop the characters more, but weren't as vital to the overall movie.
The Extended Edition of Ghostbusters not only includes the original Theatrical Version of the film, but there is also an impressive amount of special features. For one, there are two gag reels (though I'm really not sure why it is broken up), as well as a photo gallery, deleted scenes that didn't even make it into the Extended Edition and two sets of commentaries. To round out the non-featurettes, there is also a series of line-o-rama style extras focusing on various main cast members as they try out different jokes.
As for the featurettes themselves, these touch on everything from putting the cast together, coming up with the different types of ghosts, and even developing just the right slime used in the movie. There is also a lengthy featurette about the visual effects from the movie and how far VFX have come since 1984. Rounding out the special features is a segment on Hemsworth's role as Kevin and how he had never really got to experience the ad-lib style of comedy that was used heavily in the filming. According to his co-stars, he apparently has a real knack for it. Maybe we will see the actor in more comedic roles in the future.
When I walked out of the theaters after seeing the newest Ghostbusters, I remember feeling that while I enjoyed the movie, I didn't like it as much as the original film. While the Extended Edition adds a lot of great and funny content, and brings it closer to the original's quality, I still feel like the 1984 version is better. That being said, this newest movie is a lot of fun and worth watching, and if you can catch the Extended Edition, then so much the better.