“We've been going about this all wrong, this Mr. Stay Puft's okay, he's a sailor, he's in New York, we get this guy laid we won't have any trouble.”
Here we have what I consider to be one of the best comedies to come out of the 1980’s. With a great cast including Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis, there is non-stop laughs sprinkled with thrills. It may just be the nostalgia factor, but this was one of the defining films of my childhood and I find myself enjoying it even more so today. Before Ghostbusters was released as a motion-picture, there was the hit cartoon show that I remember getting up extra early to watch and the cool action-figures. According to my parents, this was the first film that we owned on VHS and apparently, I would watch it on a regular basis. I clearly remember getting frightened during some of the sequences especially the beginning with the ghost in the library. Even today, this scene still manages to make me jump as the three professors investigate a disturbance in the lower level of the facility. As a kid, I was mainly interested in the action and the ion blasters that the Ghostbusters use to capture the ghosts. Not to mention, the film also scared the hell out of me even though it is more of a comedy. Plenty of the humor, jokes and underlying social themes flew right over my head when I was younger but now I can appreciate it more.
The comedic premise has always interested to me. Three University science professors start up their own business of catching ghosts, ghouls, monsters and other supernatural beings that just happen to be terrorizing New York City. Unfortunately for them, demons from another world have no entered the realm of Earth and are launching an assault on the Big Apple. Who can forget that mischief making green ghost named Slimer, or the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man? The collectible figurine of the latter still rests on my shelf to this day. With New Yorkers in a state of panic, who will they turn to for help? Well, as the catchy theme song goes, “Who, you gonna call? Ghost Busters!”
The special effects seem a bit dated but it is all campy fun. The script is sharp and funny providing lots of memorable dialogue. It takes on a rather sarcastic tone and works perfectly to Bill Murray’s advantage since he specializes in dry humor. For instance, one of the funniest lines in the entire film is delivered by Murray: “It’s official. This man has no dick.” His performance Venkman is also one of the best roles of his career. The film is obviously a collaboration of great actors but it’s really Bill Murray who is the star here. Sigourney Weaver plays his love interest and even though many would disagree with me, I don’t think she has ever looked sexier than in her role here as Dana Barrett, the woman whom the evil forces have an interest in. Special mention also needs to go to Rick Moranis who provides a belly full of laughs as the neurotic little dweeb who is infatuated with Weaver’s character. His encounter with the scary-looking demon dog is hilarious and even though it is a small role, it is probably his best performances. Let’s be realistic here, his career has been rather shaky and he tends to star in mediocre or just downright terrible films (The Flintstones, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, etc). This is one performance he should be remembered for alongside Darth Helmet in Mel Brook’s Spaceballs.
If you are looking for a great comedy, action, or thrills and chills, you can’t go wrong with this film. This is big-blockbuster entertainment at its best. Mixing elements of horror, action and humor with a vast array of comedic talent, Ghost Busters is a blast and a definite 80’s classic.
(This review was written on January 3rd, 2004)