Ghostbusters is widely acknowledged as one of the defining movies of the 1980s. Everyone seems to remember it fondly and you still hear “Don’t cross the streams” and “I am the Keymaster” randomly quoted from time to time.
Now I’m not here to burst any bubbles, I have nothing but positive thoughts whenever the movie is mentioned, but watching the 25th Anniversary edition recently I began to second guess its standing.
Immediately after watching the film again the other night I thought that it is not realistic to call Ghostbusters one of the “all time” classics. Sure it is a good movie, charming and at times amusing, but it is not in the same league as other 80s flicks.
Then a funny thing happened, two days passed and I allowed my memory to elevate Ghostbusters back up the pecking order… then I re-read my notes. Therefore I think Ghostbusters is perhaps a better concept than film, and I’m not knocking those that love this film and stand up for it, I just don’t see it in the same light as say “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or even “Stripes”, let alone “Die Hard” or “Aliens”.
Perhaps it was more your circumstances, I’m positive that movies I saw in my teens and early 20s are remembered more favourably simply because they were great times period in my life (not that now is so horrible), and I am now more analytical (unfortunately) and unforgiving when I am watching a film for the first time.
Anyway Ghostbusters. Not a bad film in any respect, just not as good as some think.
The film of course is about three guys who for no known reason start a paranormal investigation company after having their research grant summarily dragged. The three are Peter (Bill Murray), Ray (Dan Ackroyd) and Egon (Harold Ramis), Egon is the nerdy genius, Ray the ideas man and driving force behind the business and Peter just tags along for something to do and to get girls.
As always Bill Murray is also the main reason to watch the film, and he provides most of the laughs throughout, including some that result from seemingly ad-libbed remarks after another character speaks.
Their first mission is successful yet destructive, and luckily they find they have entered into a growth market, as paranormal activity increases in New York dramatically shortly after they commence operations. Due to the escalation in demand they hire a new “Buster” Winston, who doesn’t do much in the film but obviously balanced out the poster.
Their first client is Sigourney Weaver as Dana, who has a demonic possession in her fridge, (don’t we all?), she happens to live in an apartment building that is a conduit for all that is evil in New York, and she wondered why the rent was so cheap?
She is taken and possessed, as is her neighbour Lewis (Rick Moranis), and they begin a hunt for each other referring to themselves as the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster respectively.
As there must be conflict in any movie the Environmental Protection Agency shuts down Ghostbusters operations and in doing so inadvertently release all their captured ghosties, increasing the very need for their existence, which doesn’t help as they are in jail.
This leads to the reason why I think the film is remembered in such a good light, once the boys are in jail and the ghosts cut loose New York cries out for their assistance, so the finale is not simply four guys in overalls running around with weird backpacks, but that plus a crowd of vocally supportive New Yorkers egging them on.
At times it is almost like a sporting contest how the crowd interaction actually seems to elevate the importance of the Ghostbuster’s actions, and it definitely gives the latter scenes a bit more buzz.
Ultimately Ghostbusters is a fun film, though lightweight harmless and largely disposable. I would consider it a good rental every few years so that you might throw it in and shut your brain off for 90 minutes, but I can’t see why people obsess over it.
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. We all know the plot now, and 90% of the laughs of the laughs are from Bill Murray, but that could be said about all his films.