The Ghostbusters reboot is great. It’s funny, it embraces the absurdity of the story’s premise, and, despite the prognostications a lot of misogynist weirdos think, it will not bring about the end of the world.
As with any good reboot, the film had to balance out the way it honors the iconography from the movie it was inspired by, but also try to do its own thing. This, essentially, is what separates it from being a simple remake. Director Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters strikes that balance for the most part, giving the fans the winks they love, but also developing a different enough story to justify its existence.
Ghostbusters 2016 manages to forgo being derivative, and instead weaves those little nods from the first movie into its story so well that they might be hard to miss. Others are hilariously obvious. Here’s the 10 best callbacks and references to the original in the new reboot. Beware of spoilers.
10. The Ecto-1 and “Total Protonic Reversal”
The update to the iconic car in which the Ghostbusters tear around New York was among the earliest reveals from Feig’s movie, and it fits right into the new setup. The 1959 Cadillac in the original was simply bought by OG Ghostbuster Ray Stantz for a whopping $4,800. That was quite a sum for a then-30-year-old jalopy, but the new Ectomobile was bequeathed to Leslie Jones’s Patty Jenkins and the rest of the new crew from her uncle (more on that later), and is an appropriately-timed 30-year-old 1980s Cadillac Fleetwood Station Wagon hearse.
There’s an easter egg-within-an-easter egg regarding crossing streams, too, so look out for that.
9. The Ghosts
The initial trailers for Ghostbusters 2016 had fans worried that the new spooks and specters were cartoonish CG embarrassments when compared to the practical effects of the original, but they’re actually pretty damn scary. Each has a tangential relationship to the spirits of the original: 2016’s Gertrude Aldridge, the ghost of the mansion seen in the film’s opening, recalls 1984’s opening library ghost; the electrocuted ex-con subway ghost seen in the reboot brings to mind the Scoleri brothers from Ghostbusters II, and the reboot’s post-credits scene directly references the original’s main baddie: Zuul.
8. The First Ghostly Experience
Ghostbusters gotta start somewhere. In the case of the original, it’s the swanky Sedgewick Hotel, which is haunted by the slovenly green ghost Slimer; the throwback crew bags their first pesky apparition in an empty ballroom that they promptly destroy, much to the chagrin of a foppish hotel manager. The update transplants the beginners idea to a music venue putting on a heavy metal show, and the ghostbusting growing pains are on display for all to see — and again, feature a similarly foppish event manager. And there’s also an important hotel in the reboot; the big finale is focused on events triggered at the fictitious Mercado Hotel in New York City’s Times Square.
7. The Villain
We now have three Ghostbusters movies, and three movies in which the third acts are highlighted by gigantic things stomping through New York City. Much like the evil Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in the original, the reboot’s manic bad guy Rowan (Neil Casey) uses his supernatural powers to embody the very iconography of the Ghostbusters logo, manifesting himself into a gigantic Godzilla-like ghost that sets out to destroy the city.
6. The Logo
In the original, the Ghostbusters just kind of show up at the Sedgewick all suited up and ready to go, proton packs and all; they become folk heroes all because of a strategically placed montage. The reboot makes them earn their admiration, as well as their logo. Here, they decide to adopt the No-Ghost logo from graffiti left on a subway platform where some real ghostly activity goes down. Some might find it a lazy explanation or just plain goofy, but that’s because they’re forgetting that this is a movie about people fighting ghosts with lasers.
5. The “Listen” Joke
Probably the most subtle and best joke Aykroyd’s character has in the original occurs early on. As they investigate the library haunting they hear a rattling. Aykroyd turns and exclaims, “Listen! Do you smell something?” Hats off to the reboot for putting their own spin on the very same sense-based switcheroo. Here, the bumbling reboot secretary Kevin (played by the surprisingly hilarious Chris Hemsworth) covers his eyes after being told not to listen to a conversation between McCarthy and Wiig’s characters.
4. The Cameos
Say what you will about the old cast appearing in the new movie in different roles (we may have jumped the gun on that one) but the reboot runs the gamut between egregious (Aykroyd’s “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts”-spouting cabbie), to the organic (Ernie Hudson as Patty’s Ecto-1-donating uncle), to the downright hilarious (Sigourney Weaver as Holtzmann’s cooky mentor). But for perhaps the biggest cameo, they actually wove it into the story with a nod to the original. The notoriously resistant Murray gets the most screen time out of the classic lineup as Martin Heiss, a paranormal skeptic who is reminiscent of the original’s resident stuffed shirt skeptic, EPA agent Walter Peck.
3. Harold Ramis
Ramis, the comedic heart of the original Ghostbusters, sadly passed away in 2014. The reboot is lovingly dedicated to him, and he also makes an appearance in an unexpected place. Don’t worry, there’s no half-assed CGI version of him, and thankfully he doesn’t show up as a ghost. Instead, eagle-eyed fans can see Ramis as a bronze bust outside Wiig’s character’s office at Columbia University. This isn’t so much an easter egg as it is the best way to honor a fundamental part of the original.
2. The Memorable Lines
The dialogue of the reboot is jam packed with linguistic east eggs that reference the original beyond crossing the streams and Aykroyd jokes. McCarthy gives a tip of the hat to Murray’s 1984 line about dogs and cats, living together and its implications for “mass hysteria!” during a similar conversation with the NYC Mayor, while Wiig gets to pronounce “we’re the Ghostbusters!” after busting the metal show ghost, just as Murray bragged after the Sedgwick Hotel battle in the original. The best, and probably hardest to spot, isn’t even spoken at all. When the new crew teams up to confront the Times Square breeding ground for the new ghosts, a billboard can be seen on the left reading, “That’s a big [Twinkie].” All good ghostheads should remember that as one of Winston Zeddemore’s best lines.
1. The Firehouse
Angry fans sad that the new base of operations for the Ghostbusters is above a Chinatown restaurant instead of the Tribeca firehouse from the original should rest easy: there’s a very, very hilarious reason for that. If you’re not a New Yorker, just remember, Tribeca is way more expensive these days than it was in 1984. But just because the new crew starts out in Chinatown doesn’t mean they can make a real estate upgrade at some point.