Earlier this week director Paul Feig confirmed that the upcoming “Ghostbusters 3” will feature an all-female lead cast. In a bold, yet probably advisable move, the film won’t be strongly tied into the first two installments. The original “Ghostbusters” is a piece of perfection, and even “Ghostbusters 2” was a disappointment compared to its predecessor. Thus the reboot allows us to revisit a beloved franchise while hopefully avoiding juxtaposition with the first “Ghostbusters.” Let’s be honest, as wonderful as “Ghostbusters 3” may be, nothing will ever top the 1984 classic.
Parapsychologists Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) witness a ghost in the New York Public Library while investigating paranormal happenings. Shortly thereafter they’re fired from Columbia University, and start their own business researching and removing paranormal entities. The team dub themselves the “Ghostbusters.” Operating out of a derelict firehouse, their ghost “containment unit” allows them to hold captured spirits, thus earning them fame and recognition city-wide. Their newfound popularity, and the influx of work they receive leads to their addition of another Ghostbuster, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson).
Data Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) hires the team to rid her penthouse of Zuul, who is revealed to be a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, the Sumerian god of destruction. Venkman’s interest in the case isn’t relegated to the paranormal aspects, as he’s romantically intrigued by Barrett, much to the chagrin of Barrett’s neighbor Louis Tully (Rick Moranis). Dana and Louis are possessed, however, Dana by Zuul, dubbed the “Gatekeeper,” and Louis by Vinz Clortho, or the “Keymaster.” The Ghostbusters discover a plot to call upon Gozer and initiate the apocalypse.
“Ghostbusters” is that rare breed of movie that most everyone has seen, but even those unfortunate few who haven’t are still familiar with the material. The theme song is just as famous as the actual film. “Who ya gonna call?” may only be followed by the response “Ghostbusters!” Additionally, there are some truly iconic scenes that have been widely referenced and parodied. Notably, there’s the image of Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddemore crossing the streams of their proton packs. The memorable slimers and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man are scenes almost everyone can at least identify as hailing from “Ghostbusters.”
Of the many strengths of the film, the acting really stands out. With Ivan Reitman directing, and Dan Aykroyd and Harold writing, it’s no surprise why the film has maintained such a legacy. Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd particularly display a remarkable chemistry. At times, the dialogue feels so natural that it seems almost ad libbed. A difficult feat, “Ghostbusters” achieves this while dropping some terrific and highly quotable lines, many sarcastically muttered by Bill Murray. “Yes it’s true. This man has no dick,” he says of EPA lawyer Walter Peck (William Atherton). Another wonderful Murrayism from Venkman is “We came. We saw. We kicked its ass.” Write this one down, it’s a great go-to applicable in many situations.
As a whole, “Ghostbusters” is simply a well-rounded comedy. The cast create likeable and realistic characters, aided no doubt by the script. Dialogue often takes a backseat, especially in comedies, but “Ghostbusters” proves an exception. The intelligent wordplay serves to compliment the detailed special effects, such as the slimers, and of course the enormous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Testament to the film’s legendary status is the limitless replay value, and appeal to all ages. Kids will appreciate the goofy gags, and adults the witty wordplay, and mature humor. There’s actually a subtle scene involving Stantz and a very friendly ghost that likely goes over kids’ heads. Chances are you probably missed this as a kid. Riotously funny, highly quotable, and featuring the always appreciated Bill Murray-Dan Aykroyd tag team, be sure to keep “Ghostbusters” on call each Halloween.