Salutations and welcome back aboard the train. Answer this: Who you gonna call? That’s right, the pizza delivery man. But for real, there’s no doubt that Ghostbusters is a decent mixture of humor, action, and the paranormal wrapped up with a bow. But, why? How is this seemingly silly film starring a gargantuan marshmallow mascot stomping down the many streets of New York have dedicated followers and praising critics? Oh wait – that’s my job to figure out! Let’s get this show on the road…
After losing their jobs at Columbia University, three knowledgeable scientists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) begin a pest control business although rather then hunt cockroaches they rid the supernatural. You know, just an average job. But things escalate to extreme measures when a shape-shifting demigod known as Gozer the Gozerian leads a revolt of spirits on Manhattan. In the madness, only the ragtag band of “Ghostbusters” can defend New York against the ghouls before they convert it into nothing but a pile of rubble.
In general, Ghostbusters is a blast. The writers (Aykroyd and Ramis themselves) and the director Ivan Reitman deserve to triumph since this motion picture is plausibly the best blend of multiple genres of its kind. Everyone has a strong performance here, but Bill Murray as the delightfully pompous Peter Venkman is a genuine scene-stealer with his deadpan deliveries and luminance of cynicism. He also has somewhat of an ark; In the beginning of the flick he is portrayed as a womanizing and selfish wisecracker but when the finale took place, he felt like a lesser version of himself from the rest of the film. He ended up a different person out of the film’s events.
This is a well timed lead into one of the movies few flaws: Ray, Spengler and Winston Zeddemore (a fourth Ghostbuster who appeared at the halfway point) feel like the same people they were from their introduction. However, this isn’t a critical issue as they still have terrific chemistry between each other and a vital role in the story along with a sprinkle of exceptional jokes tossed in for good measure. Even the characters lacking in limelight, consisting of Venkman’s love interest Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), her nerdy neighbour Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) and the Ghostbusters secretary Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), all are engaging in different ways.
But what is this film without ghosts! As it’s nearing this movie’s 36th anniversary, the practical effects and images hold up miraculously well. The head honcho is Gozer, whom despite having quite a cogent voice, is hardly intriguing at all. Everyone remembers Mr. Stay Puft, the Terror Dogs (Zuul and Vinz), I bet even Slimer ended up being more memorable and he had less time in the spotlight then Gozer. On that note, The Marshmallow Giant (as I enjoy calling him) is if the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Michelin Man had a son who became a traveling sailor. To put it simply, iconic.
Ghostbusters is a near flawless fusion of horror, personality, wit, science fiction and charm in this satisfying meld of a motion picture. Furthermore complimented by outstanding visuals aplenty that flood the video set like a tsunami, Ghostbusters is indeed a movie you must see to believe. RATING: 9/10
~originally written by G.H. Nowak on January 7, 2020~