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Review: Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary

Aug. 29, 2014by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Fired from their cushy University gig, three para-psychologists, Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Ray Stanz (Dan Aykroyd) and Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) start their own business, “Ghostbusters”, dedicated to controlling New York City’s growing problem with ghosts.

REVIEW: I was born in ’81, so you can imagine that growing up GHOSTBUSTERS had a huge effect on me. I honestly can’t remember the first time I saw it. Unlike The James Bond series, which I vividly remember discovering on December 31st, 1989 when ABC played THUNDERBALL, I have no similar memory of discovering GHOSTBUSTERS. Like BACK TO THE FUTURE (which came out a year later) it was always just there, and I don’t really remember a time when it wasn’t one of my favorite movies. I presume I somehow saw it on First Choice (the Canadian equivalent of HBO) sometime in ’85 (when I would have been four) but over the years I’ve watched it so many times that I’d wager the number is somewhere around forty or more.

Most of these viewings probably happened during my high school years, when me and my childhood best friend Danny used to watch it weekly. In fact, Danny was such a big Ghostbusters fan he had replicas of the suits, the proton packs, the PKE metres, and the traps made – all of which must have cost a pretty penny as they looked so authentic. Of course, I also bought the film on VHS, DVD (twice) and Blu-ray, but up until a few short years ago I had never experienced GHOSTBUSTERS on the big screen.

Which brings me to the point of this article (forgive me for burying the lead). This weekend, to mark the 30th anniversary of the first film, GHOSTBUSTERS is getting a nationwide rollout in its 4K restored version. It’s opening pretty much everywhere (including Canada) and regardless of how many times you’ve seen the film, you owe it to yourself to see it on the big-screen. Those of us who grew up with it on video can tell you what a revelation it was just seeing the film on DVD, as we were used to a heavily cropped pan & scan version that spoiled director Ivan Reitman’s 2:35:1 scope visuals, and cannibalized the special FX, which were nominated for an Oscar. If you grew up watching it on DVD or Blu-ray, you’ll likely have a similar experience seeing it on the big screen for the first time, as GHOSTBUSTERS was always a film that was best appreciated on the big-screen, with a ravenous audience of fans laughing along to all the best lines.

As for the film itself, it’s tough to explain just how much of an effect GHOSTBUSTERS had on the modern blockbuster, but suffice to say, something like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY wouldn’t exist without GHOSTBUSTERS. What Reitman’s film did was blend genres in a way that was truly novel and is still tough to pull off. When I read about the series being rebooted, I always wince because I feel like someone will get the recipe wrong. It’ll either be too funny, or too serious. GHOSTBUSTERS is the rare tentpole that’s hilarious throughout, but also has real stakes, with the fate of the world (or at least New York City) being at stake throughout. Even a visual gag like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man becomes kinda scary and legitimately threatening in the big FX-laden climax, which is something that’s hard to pull off. In fact, it’s so tough to pull off I’d argue Reitman and company weren’t able to replicate the formula for GHOSTBUSTERS II (which depending on your age is either worse or much better than you remember).

Watching the film now, it can’t help but feel miraculous just to see how seamlessly all the elements blend together, and how on-point everyone from the actors to the special fx guys, to the set designers, composers, etc., were here. It’s a flawless film, anchored by the amazing chemistry between real-life pals Bill Murray (a last-minute substitute for the late John Belushi), Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis, Aykroyd and Ramis co-wrote the screenplay, and clearly knew exactly how to play to their strengths and Murray’s. This pretty much made Murray the cult icon he is today, with him being the “cool-guy funny man” which is a tough gig to pull off. His chemistry with love interest Sigourney Weaver is top notch, with her clearly relishing the break from her more serious roles and having a ball acting alongside Murray and Rick Moranis (as the bespectacled Louis Tully – aka The Keymaster), especially when she gets to play Dana Barrett as possessed by Zuul.

And let’s not forget Ernie Hudson as Winston, the blue-collar, rational Ghostbuster who takes the gig because he needs work, and more-or-less becomes the “us” character, in that he’s the one who needs Ray and Egon to cut-out the scientific pseudo-babble and makes things real (don’t forget the Twinkie). Composer Elmer Bernstein’s contribution is also too-often overlooked, with him doing a brilliant job scoring the film as if it’s a hardcore horror film, so that no matter how goofy anyone acts, the music stays serious and gives the film gravitas. Bernstein’s absence is really felt in the second film. The same can be said of the pop-songs sprinkled throughout. Sure, some of them are dated, but that adds to the eighties charm – although no one can argue Ray Parker Jr’s “Ghostbusters” owes a whole lot to Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug” (so much so that it resulted in a messy court case). Truly, all the elements work.

Telling everyone who reads the site to go see GHOSTBUSTERS on the big screen is probably like preaching to the choir, as I assume most of you won’t be able to pass up the opportunity. But, if you’re on the fence and wondering how it could possibly be better than watching the Blu-ray, you really should experience the film with an audience as there’s something really special about the experience. I’ll be the first to admit that not all films need to be experienced on the big screen, but this is one that absolutely does.

Source: JoBlo.com

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3:13AM on 09/01/2014
I was born in 73 so not only can I remember seeing this many times at the cinema I remember the tv ads for it well in advance and the posters with just the logo on and a tagline 'Coming to save the world this summer'. That was all I needed to get interested in this film. In a day before Internet trailers and spoilers and rumour this was a genuine surprise and a joy to watch. A packed cinema all buzzing I can honestly say UK audiences don't get that fired up and to hear them all joining in with
I was born in 73 so not only can I remember seeing this many times at the cinema I remember the tv ads for it well in advance and the posters with just the logo on and a tagline 'Coming to save the world this summer'. That was all I needed to get interested in this film. In a day before Internet trailers and spoilers and rumour this was a genuine surprise and a joy to watch. A packed cinema all buzzing I can honestly say UK audiences don't get that fired up and to hear them all joining in with the Ghostbuster's theme was truly remarkable.
Don't think we will see that sort of phenomenon again due to the Internet but I can say I was there and aware when Ghostbusters hit.
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10:01PM on 08/30/2014

NO WAY IM MISSING THIS

I was born in '84. Same year the movie was birthed. I started watching it in '88. My childhood was practically defined by the Ghostbusters. I ate the cereal, watched the cartoons, owned ALL the toys, the underoos, the pajamas, t-shirts, lunchboxes, Hi-C ECTO COOLER (which they need to bring back NOW). I will always love those four paranormal ass kickers. I've never seen it on the big screen. Even though I've seen it easily over 60 times in my life, I'm going Monday
I was born in '84. Same year the movie was birthed. I started watching it in '88. My childhood was practically defined by the Ghostbusters. I ate the cereal, watched the cartoons, owned ALL the toys, the underoos, the pajamas, t-shirts, lunchboxes, Hi-C ECTO COOLER (which they need to bring back NOW). I will always love those four paranormal ass kickers. I've never seen it on the big screen. Even though I've seen it easily over 60 times in my life, I'm going Monday
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7:58PM on 08/30/2014
Saw this Thursday night, 9:45 showing. Me, the old lady and about four other people were all that was in the theater. Great movie, even on the 20th or so viewing. Stay Puft has never looked so funny as when I saw him on the big screen. When he got the angry face I nearly pissed myself. Good times!
Saw this Thursday night, 9:45 showing. Me, the old lady and about four other people were all that was in the theater. Great movie, even on the 20th or so viewing. Stay Puft has never looked so funny as when I saw him on the big screen. When he got the angry face I nearly pissed myself. Good times!
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11:22PM on 08/29/2014

To Chris Brumbay

"I presume I somehow saw it on First Choice (the Canadian equivalent of HBO)"

lol the moment you mentioned First Choice. LMAO OMG memoriesssssssssss
"I presume I somehow saw it on First Choice (the Canadian equivalent of HBO)"

lol the moment you mentioned First Choice. LMAO OMG memoriesssssssssss
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9:17AM on 08/30/2014
Haha - I was hoping someone could relate! Such a great time for First Choice. Gremlins, BTTF, Ghostbusters, the Moore Bonds, etc. A staple of my childhood.
Haha - I was hoping someone could relate! Such a great time for First Choice. Gremlins, BTTF, Ghostbusters, the Moore Bonds, etc. A staple of my childhood.
2:21PM on 08/29/2014
I remember seeing it at the drive in as a kid. Aleays loved both movies, yea, BOTH.
I also collect the mattycollector figures and replica props. The Ghost Trap and Proton Wand are freakin awesome. Pke and Goggles are cool too, but here's hoping they still make the Proton Pack to complete the set
I remember seeing it at the drive in as a kid. Aleays loved both movies, yea, BOTH.
I also collect the mattycollector figures and replica props. The Ghost Trap and Proton Wand are freakin awesome. Pke and Goggles are cool too, but here's hoping they still make the Proton Pack to complete the set
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12:57PM on 08/29/2014
I remember seeing it at the drive in as a kid. Aleays loved both movies, yea, BOTH.
I also collect the mattycollector figures and replica props. The Ghost Trap and Proton Wand are freakin awesome. Pke and Goggles are cool too, but here's hoping they still make the Proton Pack to complete the set
I remember seeing it at the drive in as a kid. Aleays loved both movies, yea, BOTH.
I also collect the mattycollector figures and replica props. The Ghost Trap and Proton Wand are freakin awesome. Pke and Goggles are cool too, but here's hoping they still make the Proton Pack to complete the set
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+4
12:33PM on 08/29/2014
One of my favorite moments in the film is when Murray is talking about their bill and it cracks me up so hard how Egon subtlety in a shy way quotes the price with the four fingers and lets Venkman be the asshole here because that's his area of expertise
One of my favorite moments in the film is when Murray is talking about their bill and it cracks me up so hard how Egon subtlety in a shy way quotes the price with the four fingers and lets Venkman be the asshole here because that's his area of expertise
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11:41AM on 08/29/2014
I was born in 84, and talking to my parents you'd think all I did was watch Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Growing up, everything was Ghostbusters for me, I think I went as Peter Venkman three years in a row for Halloween. It`s been a long while since I saw this, think I`ll have to check it out this weekend.
I was born in 84, and talking to my parents you'd think all I did was watch Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Growing up, everything was Ghostbusters for me, I think I went as Peter Venkman three years in a row for Halloween. It`s been a long while since I saw this, think I`ll have to check it out this weekend.
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11:36AM on 08/29/2014
So happy it's back on the big screen. Best movie of all time. Funny that you used a pic from GB2, which I love just as much as the first!
So happy it's back on the big screen. Best movie of all time. Funny that you used a pic from GB2, which I love just as much as the first!
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11:38AM on 08/29/2014
Haha, you're totally right. I overlooked it. Ghostbusters 2 may not be as fun or witty as the first movie but still fun and entertaining.
Haha, you're totally right. I overlooked it. Ghostbusters 2 may not be as fun or witty as the first movie but still fun and entertaining.
11:39AM on 08/29/2014
What pic is from GB2? The first pic is after they've defeated Zuul and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Pic 2 is when they're blasting at Zuul, and pic 3 is when Weaver and Moranis were possessed, prior to turning into those monster dogs.
What pic is from GB2? The first pic is after they've defeated Zuul and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Pic 2 is when they're blasting at Zuul, and pic 3 is when Weaver and Moranis were possessed, prior to turning into those monster dogs.
11:54AM on 08/29/2014
It's Pic 2 where Ray and Winston looks at each other. It's from Ghostbusters 2 where the Ghostbusters are in front of the Art Gallery and try to blast their way through Vigo's jelly like slime that encapsulate the entire building.
It's Pic 2 where Ray and Winston looks at each other. It's from Ghostbusters 2 where the Ghostbusters are in front of the Art Gallery and try to blast their way through Vigo's jelly like slime that encapsulate the entire building.
3:28PM on 08/29/2014
Spot on, Netforce. You can even see the "2" patch on their arms. Loved that scene because they realize their packs aren't gonna get them out of this one so easy.
Spot on, Netforce. You can even see the "2" patch on their arms. Loved that scene because they realize their packs aren't gonna get them out of this one so easy.
7:43PM on 08/29/2014
Thanks, man. I think, as a kid, I jumped out of my seat at the next scene when the torch of the Statue of Liberty exploded and she started to walk. It was Epic!
Thanks, man. I think, as a kid, I jumped out of my seat at the next scene when the torch of the Statue of Liberty exploded and she started to walk. It was Epic!
11:28AM on 08/29/2014
Ghostbusters is one of a few films that I'd give 10/10 as well. I was born in 1983 so my whole childhood was primarily playing Ghostbusters with my friends and watching the cartoon. Ghostbusters is the only film that I have probably double dipped numerous times (used Laserdisc, VHS, DVD, and Blu Ray). I wish it had been released in normal 2D IMAX. That would be epic. I wish I could see it on the big screen as well. No job is too big - No Fee is too big!!
Ghostbusters is one of a few films that I'd give 10/10 as well. I was born in 1983 so my whole childhood was primarily playing Ghostbusters with my friends and watching the cartoon. Ghostbusters is the only film that I have probably double dipped numerous times (used Laserdisc, VHS, DVD, and Blu Ray). I wish it had been released in normal 2D IMAX. That would be epic. I wish I could see it on the big screen as well. No job is too big - No Fee is too big!!
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