Three odd-ball scientists get kicked out of their cushy positions at a university in New York City where they studied the occult. They decide to set up shop in an old firehouse and become Ghostbusters, trapping pesky ghosts, spirits, haunts, and poltergeists for money. They wise-crack their way through the city, and stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, one which will release untold evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters are called on to save the Big Apple.
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
. Starring: Bill Murray
, Dan Aykroyd
, Sigourney Weaver
, Harold Ramis
, Rick Moranis
, Annie Potts
, William Atherton
, Ernie Hudson
, David Margulies
, Steven Tash
, Jennifer Runyon
, Slavitza Jovan
, Michael Ensign
. Music by: Elmer Bernstein
Just like "Stayin' Alive" or "Mrs. Robinson", Ray Parker Jr.' "Ghost Busters" is one of these instantly identifiable songs as the first four seconds are enough to make you recall the lyrics that go along. Indeed, who doesn't know whom to call... if in their neighborhood... there's something strange. Ever since 1984, the movie has been a cultural phenomenon and speaking for myself, I learned to draw the iconic logo before I even saw the film.
But let's get back to 1984. There's something very revealing about that year's ten highest- grossing movies, in order: "Ghostbusters", "Beverly Hills Cop", "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", "Gremlins", "The Karate Kid", "Police Academy", "Footloose", "Romancing the Stone", "Star Trek III" and "Splash". Think about it, six comedies, variously overlapping with romance, adventure and horror, but still comedies; only two sequels, and one of them so over-the-top it is funny in it own twisted and politically incorrect way, the rest consists on a musical and a sports underdog film, typical feel-good movies.
Those were the good old days, when the box-office champs weren't made of franchises fillers or heavyset blockbusters, when there was still room for originality, even of uneven quality, when the special effects driven movies didn't take themselves seriously and were more fun to watch than these depressingly square and clinical universes today's directors embark us in. Now that the 80's enter their thirties, we realize how entertaining, imaginative and fun they were. You went to the movies to have a good time.
And if there ever is one film that encapsulates that spirit, it's the story of three outcast parapsychologists with gray uniforms chasing ghosts with a vacuum-like device attached to packers. Of course, it sounds better as "Ghost Busters" and much cooler with the logo that became a defining sign of the 80's, one I'll take before any Batman or Superman shield. Seriously, let these guys fight together, I'd rather have a hot-dog stuffed green monster charging at Bill Murray, and sliming him in the process. Forget the truth, justice and the American way, some psychic nuisances and a trio of misunderstood weirdos will do.
And "Ghostbusters" is a movie made by performers who knew what the 80's was about, what the public wanted and it doesn't come as a surprise that these guys come from TV. It was a project written by SNL alumni Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd with John Belushi in mind, but his untimely passing entailed many changes in the script. And with gentlemanly class, Ramis and Aykroyd let the lion share of one- liners to Bill Murray, giving him the role his comical legacy needed: a wisecracking scientist named Dr. Peter Venkman, such a constant jerk-ass you can't even tell if HE can tell whether he's serious or not.
Ramis plays Egon Spengler, the egghead and Ayrkyod is Raymond Stantz, the good friend and most emotionally involved of the three. You have the trio made of the mind, the heart and the crazy spirit, and their chemistry is the key to the film's success. They're later joined by Ernie Hudson, who plays Winston Zeddmore, the everyman of the group, and to some extent, the needed 'voice of reason'. A lot has been said about the way Hudson was treated by the film's marketing, but I don't think the race card is to be brandished here. And there's something oddly original in the way a significant character pops up halfway through the narrative.
The film also counts on nice supporting performances. There's Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett, a cellist who's the 'first to call', after witnessing some strange phenomena in her kitchen. There's also a familiar face of the 80's, Rick Moranis as Louis Tully, the meek and geeky accountant who's obviously infatuated with his beautiful neighbor. For some reason, she unable to see what he's got to offer, and the eight inches between them don't help. She also doesn't call Venkman's 'romantic' tirades but the ghost storyline finds a smart way to reassemble these two romantic subplots, when Dana is demonically possessed by a spirit.
And Venkman's reactions to her exorcist-like condition proves at least one thing, it takes a lot to shake the guy. And that's the most brilliant aspect about the film, the special effects can satisfy any sucker for horror or Sci-fi movies but the fact that the three players handle it as pure routine is a great example of tongue-in-cheek humor and a subtle satire on New York's inner wackiness. After all, where else can you see a TV ad about ghost busting? I also love how the blasé secretary played by Annie Potts doesn't even question their works, and when she asks Winston whether he believe in these things, he tells her that for money, he'd believe anything (I thought there was a waste here for a funnier line but never mind).
Everyone is so crazy that the closest to come to a sane person is the antagonist, an EPA lawyer who had all the reasons not to trust these guys who use radioactive material for their jobs. But only William Atherton, the soon-to-play Thornbug in "Die Hard" could have made himself more unlikable than jerk-ass Bill Murray, and he's the one who by turning off the power that stocked all the taken slime, liberated them and turned New York into the outlet of the most demonic presences, using Dana's building as a channel. We get then to a climactic showdown, whose special effects might distract from the comedy for a little while, but not too long.
Indeed, the masterstroke comes from the form taken by the evil presence, and this is the stuff iconic movies are made of. "Ghost Busters" isn't without flaws, but they're of such microscopic and negligible nature compared to its iconic magnitude, that the film works as a "Critics Buster" too.
Review by ElMaruecan82 from the Internet Movie Database.