Ghostbusters (1984)

Rating PG

Length 1Hr 45

Release 7.12.1984

About After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a university in New York City, they decide to become “ghostbusters” to wage a high-tech battle with the supernatural for money. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, a doorway that will release evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters must now save New York from complete destruction.


First Thoughts

I wanted to be a Ghostbuster. I loved this movie as a kid and I have a very distinct memory of putting it on one Saturday afternoon after a shopping trip in which I bought foam shrimp. I also remember begging for Ghostbusters crisps and them not being in the bags when we got home and being very upset.

Harold Ramis’ Egon was my guy. He kept a level voice and didn’t shout like the other two.

Treat

  • Bill Murray is the star of this film. Yes, it’s an ensemble but he steals every scene he’s in. Everything about the character screams you should hate him, but he’s rather charming and adds an odd sense of dry and sardonic normalcy to the childlike eccentricity of Ray and Egon. He’s set up as a bit of a Shatner (Womaniser), but having him deny Zuul/Dana shows his true persona.
  • It’s a celebration of the geek, without having to put anyone else down. It’s not at the expense of others and it’s science doesn’t alienate the audience. I feel almost as if this is what TV’s Big Bang Theory wanted to be, but couldn’t get past the cheap jokes that put people down.
  • The effects are relatively good for a retrospective viewing. Certainly everything from the opening sequence works, including the ghost itself. It’s tone is still still that of unsettling fear and that’s largely to do with the physical effects and the supporting music.
  • Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett is fucking awesome: she’s a thirty-something living alone in New York, without a complex. She’s a brilliant career, a nice apartment and no time for Venkman’s bullshit. Weaver seems to have fun breaking away from her genderless Alien persona to give us a more feminine and light hearted character.
  • It’s an interesting narrative that is built up in layers and doesn’t give us too many showcase scenes. By the final act you realise it’s all interconnected and brings you to a showdown with Gozer; a casual name drop from the first act.

Trick

  • I fucking hate Louis. There’s annoying and then there’s this cretin who stole his wardrobe from Jimmy Saville. I normally love any role played by Rick Moranis, but this takes his whine up to 11 and I just wish he’d died when the Terror Dogs go all American Werewolf in his ass.
  • Behind the scenes I find it a bit shitty that Winston’s screen time was reduced because Eddie Murphy reportedly turned down the part. Ernie Hudson’s Winston provides a balance, much in the same way Venkman does and I’d have been thankful for that appearing sooner. The added bonus being that he would be given time to develop the character.
  • The only effects that present a problem are the Terror Dogs. It’s not so much that they look bad, it’s that there’s a very clear distinction between the animatronic and the animated versions. Some have suggested this is to do with a change in the lighting on later releases that brings our attention to it and I’d say that’s a fair assumption. That said, I’ll put up with those minor blips for the eerie capture of Dana in her apartment.

Final Thoughts

I still want to be a Ghostbuster and Egon is still my guy; perhaps it’s the quasi-autistic persona he displays alongside his brilliant mind and I’m so glad there’s going to be a new movie next year.

2 thoughts on “Ghostbusters (1984)”

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