Ghostbusters (1984 Original) Reviews
And yet it's still better than the remake.
Watching it again after 5+ years I realized:
-This movie is so funny its painful
-The IP is so unique its no wonder there have been so many false starts in trying to keep it going.
-WINSTON ZEDDMORE is the most underwritten character I can think of and a completely squandered opportunity to give the Ghostbusters the voice of the common man. Every decade that goes by, his tragic lack of development as a character becomes more and more apparent to me.
Thats literally the only flaw I have with the film, though. Had the film treated Winston like he too was a Ghostbuster, this movie would've had no flaws. As it is, its still literally brilliant.
A Slightly Skewed Review of Ivan Reitman's "Ghostbusters"
Paranormal Exterminators, Poltergeist Custodians, Professional Paranormal Investigators, Scientists, Geniuses, Businessmen, Comedic Genius. All of these could be used to describe both the Ghostbusters themselves and the film that bears that name. Without a doubt, Ghostbusters is one of my very favorite movies from the 1980's among the ranks of Back to the Future, The Terminator, etc. and for that matter easily is in my top 20 films of all time. Yup. This review is gonna be a bit gushy, and next time I'll be a bit more objective but for now let's talk about how awesome this movie really is. I'm going to forgo the synopsis as I'm sure that you've already seen this awesome flick.
First to categorize the film, I'd be hard pressed to call it an out right comedy. At least by today's standards of what makes a movie a comedy. There are no slapstick moments of someone getting hurt or pratfalls and tripping and falling, or anything as juvenile as that. Most of the comedic moments come from the very well written and even better delivered lines of dialogue written by stars Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis.
But then there are moments of true terror. For me, it was always the "Terror Dogs" aka The Keymaster and The Gatekeeper. I remember always looking away when watching those parts as a kid. So, maybe a Horror-Comedy? A Sci-Fi-Comedy? How about just what the film's marketing called it: A Supernatural-Comedy.
I love the cast of Ghostbusters. The whole cast. Even the small bit parts such as the mayor. It was truly everyone firing on all cylinders. Bill Murray is my personal favorite as Peter Venkman with a dry, sardonic wit that Murray does so well. Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis as Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler respectively, are the "brains" of the operation and are constantly spouting out techno-babble that is honestly fun to listen to. Ernie Hudson rounds out the cast as Winston Zeddemore who is what's known as the "every man", i.e. someone who is not from the world of the three scientists who gets a job as the fourth 'Buster by answering a help wanted ad in the paper when business starts to pick up. He speaks very plainly and in a way that most people would understand, unlike Ray and Egon who constantly talk about collecting spores, molds, and fungus.
The direction isn't flashy but that isn't Ivan Reitman's style. Everything is framed and shot well and you never miss anything because of the shot composition. My personal favorite is a simple one, the first time Sigourney Weaver's character Dana Barrett comes to the Ghostbusters' office to inquire about a possible haunting in her apartment, she's talking to the receptionist Janine (played by Annie Potts) and upon hearing her speak, Venkman, whose office is right behind the reception area pops up on the far right of the shot and runs toward his potential new client, jumps over a bannister, and stops right in front of her all without the camera moving.
Everything from the acting, to the production design, to the lighting, to the camera work all get solid A's. But of particular note for me is the acting. I think that had we not had that particular cast for this particular movie, no one would remember Ghostbusters with such fond memories and regard it as such a classic. It would just have slipped into obscurity as a product of it's time much like say the Super Mario Bros. movie did in the early 1990's. It was lightning in a bottle and will never be replicated. As evidenced by it's sequel, "Ghostbusters 2" which should have worked better than it did considering it had the same cast AND crew that the original had. Definitive proof that you can't replicate something that was so, for lack of a better word, "perfect" the first time around. I give Ghostbusters my highest rating of 5 out of 5 stars. If you haven't seen it, SEE IT! If you don't own it, OWN IT! It's worth the space on your shelf and the Blu-Ray isn't very expensive. So if there's something strange, in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? I know who I'm calling.....