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In light of PAUL FEIG's crappy looking (sorry but the trailer looks awful) GHOSTBUSTERS reboot looming above us (it will be unleashed on July 15, 2016) I decided to go back in time and take on the first two films once again. Both were written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and directed by Ivan Reitman hence I decided to address them both into one entry. Yes, the pinnacle of my cleverness. So how did the 1984 and 1989 efforts fare today in 2016? Slap on your proton packs and BLAST AWAY!
GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) - WATCH IT HERE: It had been a while since I had seen GHOSTBUSTERS. I’ve always enjoyed it and tapping it today was no exception. I may have esteemed it even more now than then, because lets face it 1984 was a different time than 2016 and it got my nostalgia G-spot going. I was refreshingly taken aback by the un-pc amount of cigarette smoking there was here (not something you see in movies today), the sexiness quota (Weaver was smoking hot and that ghost blow job joke was out of line today, so imagine then) and the ample bad language ("I want you inside me") for a PG flick. The frightening imagery and varied monsters were the cherry on top (created by Oscar-winner Richard Edlund of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Poltergeist fame no less)! I LOVED them hellhounds and of course good old Slimer!
But what truly made this sucka work as a whole was the cast, their clever one-liners and endearing chemistry together. Everybody owned it but I had a soft spot for Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver. They lit up the screen when together and I simply couldn’t get enough of them. Any peeves? Clocking it today, I realized just how underused the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was. He popped in, I wowed and then he was gone all too quickly. Moreover, the classic Ghostbusters theme (by Ray Parker Jr.) aside, the songs here were mucho dated (much like some of the Atari-ish visual effects). No harm done though - part of the charm! Yup! GHOSTBUSTERS still held up as a fun, bold, semi raunchy and totally “out there” horror/comedy that’s aimed at kids, yet, not. Rating: 9/10.
In 1986 The Real Ghostbusters cartoon surfaced and became a huge hit! Yeah, I watched it at the time. Now I won’t go into details about it (other than to say it was pretty damn good) but I mention it because it definitely had an influence on the cinematic GB sequel. Yes I speak of the much maligned…
GHOSTBUSTERS II (1989) - WATCH IT HERE: When I initially saw this follow up on the big screen upon its initial release, I can’t say that I cared for it much. But it went down differently today. There’s been a pattern in my life now of late: when I re-watch average movies from the 80’s and 90’s, they come off as much better than they were back then. Why? Not sure to be honest. I guess I dig the old school pacing and ways of filmmaking more than today's ADD friendly affinities. And I'm sure nostalgia has something to do with it too. Hence, although GHOSTBUSTERS II pretty much sported the same beats as the original film (it was kind of ridiculous), had one hell of an annoying character (played by Peter MacNicol) and pushed the suspension of disbelief button a little too hard; it kind of won me over on this watch. The cast once again delivered the groovy chemistry and the funny dialogue while the "ghost" set pieces (loved that Titanic gag) and the chain of events were engaging the whole way through . Compared to the first film, this one cleaned up its act, obviously inspired by the hit cartoon The Real Ghostbusters that preceded it.
I didn’t remember any smoking, the sexiness was toned down big time (we did get Annie Potts coming on to Moranis and a WTF joke about Egon sleeping with slime) and even the ghosts were made to look less scary and more cartoonish. For me, the biggest flaw was Norbert Grupe's silly/weird performance as Vigo (he came off like a drugged up and washed up Metal singer - he was WAYYYYYY more threatening as a still painting) and the conclusion was clunky and reeked of lack of coverage. And don’t get started on that whole "happy slime" walking Statue of Liberty business, not sure I bought it, even in a movie of this ilk. So when all was said and then done, although not near the genius that was the original, the Ghostbusters 2 still had value and I got some easy kicks out of it. Rating: 6/10
PS: Slimer (who is a pet of the boys in the cartoon) made two “friendly appearances here”
PPS: Was I alone in getting turned on by Annie Potts here? The sexy aggressive demeanour and the new hair-doo (that echoed the one her character wore in the cartoons) so did it for me.
So there ya have it! My re-visit of the first two GHOSTBUSTERS films was a success! The original still held up like a champ today and the second one wound being better than I remembered! Can’t go wrong with that! WHO YOU GONNA CALL?!