With the reboot of Ghostbusters coming up in a couple weeks, I though it would be good to rewatch and review the original from 1984. This film was an unexpected hit and has thrilled fans for over 30 years now. And for good reason.
After losing their university jobs due to producing no real results, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Akroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) start a paranormal investigation and ghost capturing company called Ghostbusters due to the rise in paranormal activity all around New York City. Before long, they have to hire a fourth Ghostbuster (Zedmore, played by Ernie Hudson) to keep up with all of the business. An overzealous EPA investigator shuts them down, causing all the ghosts they caught to be released again.
The dialog in this film is eminently quotable (on par, in many ways, to The Princess Bride), and it has become a part of American culture. Ramis worked with Akroyd to write Ghostbusters, and Murray and Akroyd really played their lines well off each other, having previously worked together on Saturday Night Live. The screenplay was simply wonderful all around, even if it wasn’t very deep. It never tried to be more than what it was, and it was very successful because of that.
The acting was wonderful, too. There were so many excellent actors in this film, and the main three characters were comedy gold together. Hudson did well with the lines he was given, and brought a solid performance as the guy who didn’t really believe at first. Sigourney Weaver pulled off a great dual role as Dana and Zuul. Rick Moranis did his usual stellar job as the crazy health-nut accountant neighbor who becomes possessed by Vinz Clortho.
I also need to note the hilarious roles played by Annie Potts and William Atherton. Potts had the long-suffering and amazing receptionist role, handling far more—and getting paid far less—than she should have. I don’t think I have ever seen Atherton in a non-sniveling role, but he truly excels at that type of character. He was the epitome of the stereotypical self-important bureaucrat.
When Ghostbusters came out in 1984, Ray Parker, Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” smashed its way to the top of the charts. Everyone I knew was humming along to it, and it made the catch phrase, “Who ya gonna call?” part of the American culture. The rest of the soundtrack had a good variety of music and styles, from the instrumentals by Elmer Bernstein to pop and rock hits by Thompson Twins, Air Supply, Laura Branigan, and others.
I still enjoy this film today, even with the now-cheesy special effects (they were amazing at the time, though). It makes me smile big every time I watch it. It’s a solidly good film, and I strongly recommend Ghostbusters to anyone with a sense of humor and a love of the absurd.
Release Date: June 8, 1984 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (cigar smoking, some drinking)
Language: 2 (mostly minor, some deity)
Sexuality: 2 (a lot of innuendo, double entendre)
Violence: 2 (mostly slapstick violence, some peril, destruction)