Who ya gonna call?
Ghostbusters is a 1984 supernatural comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, produced by Columbia-Delphi Productions and Black Rhino, and distributed by Columbia Pictures. It stars Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver. The film was nominated for Best Original Song and Best Visual Effects, but did not win either. This is the third film in the Ghostbusters franchise. It was followed by Ghostbusters II. This film has been selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.
"He slimed me." -Peter Venkman
After being kicked out of a university in New York, three scientists follow up their paranormal studies and become the Ghostbusters. At first, they are interpreted as a joke, but when ghosts begin popping up all over the city, they become household names. However, what they don't realize is that the ghosts may mean something...something that holds the power to destroy humanity itself.
The first thing is Bill Murray. Bill Murray should've at least gotten nominated for Best Actor. I, personally, think he should've won, but obviously I'm not a part of the Academy. Either way, he is absolutely fantastic in this. Every line is so...good. He is so charming and charismatic, and it seems like he improvised every single line. Every line feels memorable and/or funny, making this one of the best performances that I've seen in an 80s movie.
Second is the story. This is a very simple story that has a ton of layers to it, and it really works. It's creative, fun, funny, spooky and just great overall. They make ghosts in New York work, and make it seem somewhat biblical in a funny way. They set up the classic finale throughout the film with the Gatekeeper and Keymaster showing up throughout the film.
The writing is amazing, too. There are tons of classic scenes and lines, whether it's the "Cross the streams scene", "He slimed me", or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man showing up and trying to destroy New York. Some of the best stuff in this film is the writing and it really bounces off of Bill Murray in a good way. He is basically written into the script, and, although that wasn't planned, it makes the movie a whole lot better.
The effects are actually surprisingly good for 1984. If this movie came out tomorrow, the effects would definitely be in the negative column. Otherwise, the effects are fantastic for the time that this film came out. Some of the stuff looks really bad, like when the dogs are moving, but besides that, the ghosts and lightning look okay. The marshmallow man looks great, even for now.
This movie was also surprisingly funnier than I thought. It was mostly Bill Murray, but there were some other things that were said that were pretty hilarious. They made the one-liners subtle but very funny when they worked.
The supporting cast, for the most part, is good. Harold Ramis is good and very nerdy and serious, making him kind of comedic in a way, because he takes everything so seriously. There is a really funny part when the Gatekeeper hands him a pan, and, very seriously, he says "Thank you, Vinz.". It shouldn't really be that funny, but it is. Sigourney Weaver is pretty good. She plays both parts of her character very well, reacting to the utter ridiculousness of Dr. Venkman and the idea of ghosts in New York. Rick Moranis is incredibly annoying and stupid, but does the part in such a comical, over the top fashion that it works. Ernie Hudson isn't in a lot of it, but he delivers the deepest monologue of the movie, and it was some good acting.
The characters all work. Obviously Peter Venkman leads the troops, being the most grounded and realistic of the Ghostbusters. Ray Stanz is the crazy, obsessive scientist that makes all the weird theories and thinks of the Stay Put Marshmallow Man. He acts like a little kid throughout the entire movie, and it works with the setting and people that he is surrounded by. Egon Spangler is the smart, nerdy scientist that is pretty much right about everything. Winston Zeddemore is the outsider that is being introduced into this crazy world. They all fit stereotypes of a crazy group of scientists that are seen as idiots to the outside world.
Dana Barrett is, as I said before, the person that is seeing the ghosts but reacting to how ridiculous the idea of Ghostbusters in New York is. Louis Tully doesn't do much for the story, but he is pretty much the cartoonish idiot that is basically a Looney Toon. He is so comical and dumb, but he has a weirdly good chemistry with Dana.
The final thing is the theme song. This is one of the classic movie themes, and it has some really good uses. It is absolutely perfect and fits the inherit campiness and comedy of the film. It was nominated for an Oscar, and for good reason.
The biggest thing that I have on this movie is Dan Aykroyd. He is not good. There are some absurd things that he says, and he says it in the weirdest way possible, making it fall flat. It feels like his performance was meant to be less cartoony than he made it. He is very distracting and doesn't fit into the film. Whenever he delivers one of his stupid lines, it makes you realize that you are watching Dan Aykroyd, not Ray Stanz. It pulls you straight out of the movie, and this could've movie could've almost been perfect if he had been better.
I know that I'm contradicting myself a little bit, but I said that most of the effects were good for 1984. That doesn't mean all of them. There are some very bad usage of effects, and it is also very distracting.
That's all that I've got.
Despite a bad performance by one actor, the rest of this movie is pretty much perfect.
I will give it a Sweet rating. Age range is 5+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Fun Factor: 8.5/10
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Released on June 8, 1984
Rated PG for sci-fi violence and action, scary images, sexual content, language
1 hour and 45 minutes
Bill Murray as Peter Venkman
Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett
Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stanz
Harold Ramis as Egon Spangler
Rick Moranis as Louis Tully
Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz
Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore
William Atherton as Walter Peck