Ghostbusters (1984) (PG)
One of the most celebrated comedies of all time, "Ghostbusters" is a goofy combination of paranormal spooks and supernatural slime.
The movie begins as a librarian in a rather large library is picking books up and taking them to the back room. She wheels the cart around large hallways lined with books and the music starts to get a jazzy/creepy feeling to it.
Right from the start, you can see that "Ghostbusters" had a clear influence on Tim Burton's career—most notably "Batman" which was released five years after this movie.
The corridors that the librarian walks are dimly lit and perfect for a scary apparition. Behind her back, books start to glide in the air and drawers open. When she finally does notice the strange happenings, she does the only thing any other person would do in this situation—scream and cue the main titles.
Cut to Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) who is "conducting an experiment"; i.e. flirting with a college girl. His smooth moves are interrupted by Dr. Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) who tells him that they have a real situation down at the library.
It's clear from the beginning that Dr. Venkman is not a believer in his own field. Later he will tell a man that he has two doctrines in parapsychology and psychology—yet we never really see any of that intelligence. Venkman is disbelieving even when faced with obvious evidence.
At the library, Venkman and Stantz meet the third member of their team: Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) who is probably the most dedicated and the smartest scientist of the lot of them.
When they finally see the ghostly form, Venkman is, naturally, convinced. He hurries back to the university where the team was using money for research only to find that the money has been pulled and their division is shut down. Bummer.
It's here that most comedies have a regaining of manhood, and "Ghostbusters" isn't far off from that. When a character is down in the dumps, they just reason to themselves that they will "win back" whatever was lost by some physical or mental feat.
"Ghostbusters" is a little different—Venkman decides that the team will get money by going into business for themselves, which is precisely what they do. They set up shot in an old building and call themselves "The Ghostbusters".
Business is slow because people don't trust them; but eventually they get a break and have to capture a green, ravenous poltergeist.
Once this job is done, the Ghostbusters have a booming in business and the case of Dana Barrett gets forgotten.
By definition, she was the team's first customer. She found a strange creature in her refrigerator. Dana (Sigourney Weaver) comes to the team and they shrug off the occurrence, though Venkman wants to woo her. He promises her that he will prove his love to her (mind you, this is still on the first day that they met) by solving her case.
The problem I have with the movie was how it developed Venkman as a character. Yes, I realize that this movie is not about characters and whatnot—but do I believe that a scholastic man would be so casual and sometimes naive? No, I do not.
Bill Murray brings good life to Venkman, and is accurately described by Dana as similar to a game-show host.
The script was written by Dan Aykroyd and is full of one-liners and quick jokes.
In the end, it goes crazy. Apocalyptic and messy, "Ghostbusters" holds nothing back and is rises to its climax—one that I found incredibly forced...even for the sub-genre that the film was aiming for.
Ivan Reitman directs this movie, though it's the most famous project the man ever filmed.
This movie would inspire works to follow that include the "Men in Black" franchise.
"Ghostbuster" is not perfect. Though funny in parts, it's also equally as droll in others.
Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones