Ghostbusters is a complete classic. Before it became the movie that spawned toys, a great cartoon, videogames and sequels which vary in success and quality, it is easy to forget that this was just a simple, paranormal comedy. The fact that it is fronted by two SNL legends in Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray and is not aimed at kids but rather toes the line of “adult” humour also shows what a unknown quantity Ghostbusters was at the beginning and how pop culture can change and shape perceptions.
So it is no surprise that Ghostbusters is funny. First and foremost it is a comedy and this is why it works so effectively having geeky scientists as our heroes. “Heroes” that run away from ghosts, don’t know what they are doing and muddle through. It makes the film so much more enjoyable and when Dan Aykroyd is the enthusiastic “leader,” bumbling into the situations, it makes it so much more entertaining.
Harold Ramis plays the “straight-man” scientist perfectly and gets some of the best lines and coolest moments. His straight-faced delivery of some of the most absurd lines manages to give them credibility but also raise a smile. Ernie Hudson enters as the “normal” guy and watching his reactions, which would mirror most of the audience, is a success in story-writing.
The real star is of course Bill Murray. Murray steals almost any movie he is in but in Ghostbusters he is on charming, hilarious and razor-sharp form. He gets the best moments, plays Peter Venkman like a traditional Hollywood leading man (even down to getting the glamorous leading lady) and leads the film in most quotable lines. Even better, he throws himself behind all the gunkings, slimings and being covered in all manner of supernatural fluids.
Which is the other success of the movie, it works as a supernatural film too. Ghostbusters needed to make the “ghost” part of the title work as much as the comedy and the story is great. There are some genuine creepy moments, from a freaked out librarian, exploding eggs and possessed Sigourney Weaver. The fact that the “heroes” are out of their depth helps and when they are managing to save the day, in a fantastic finale against a now iconic villain, you are really behind them.
The “ghosts” hold-up still, even after 35 years. The effects work and you never feel like you can see “the cracks.” The practical effects where needed are convincing but even the CGI has such a distinct look that you can still find yourself getting lost in the movie and the spooks, rather than being removed from it all by dated effects.
Overall, Ghostbusters is a classic. It is funny, led by some of comedies most legendary performers, although Bill Murray predictably steals the film. The story itself works and although it an 80s classic, the effects hold their own.
Rating – 5!
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)
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