My favorite part of the Ghostbusters reboot: Jefferson Sage’s production design during the movie’s climax in which the specters that plague Manhattan are not simply ghosts and goblins but Times Square’s storied and sometimes notorious past. A billboard crawl reports news from the Carter era. A movie theater marquee advertises The Godfather (1972). Bond’s, a men’s clothing store that morphed into a nightclub where The Clash famously played a set of shows in 1981, looks much as it did in postcards dating from the mid-1960s. Woolworth’s lives again. A billboard advertises “Beyond the Fringe,” an English revue starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore that played on Broadway in the early 1960s.
Ghostbusters is far funnier than the dire trailers would lead anyone to believe with some truly outstanding work from Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth, but nothing in it is more inspired than Sage’s recreation of Midtown’s past allure. All those yesterdays merge together into a pretty glorious ghost. —Pam Grady