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Ghostbusters (1984)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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7.9
 / 10
24 votes
Movie Connections:
Ghostbusters
> Ghostbusters (1984)
> Ghostbusters II (1989)
> Freddy vs. Ghostbusters (2004)
Genres:
Comedy, Fantasy, Fantasy Comedy, Sci-Fi Comedy
Director:
Ivan Reitman Ivan Reitman
Starring:
Bill Murray Bill Murray
Dan Aykroyd Dan Aykroyd
Sigourney Weaver Sigourney Weaver
Harold Ramis Harold Ramis
Rick Moranis Rick Moranis
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Review by 385
Added: May 22, 2008
Nowadays, the movie industry is no less than 90% remakes and adaptations, but in the '80s things were different. There were actually original ideas behind these movies, and the level of quality would lead this films to cartoons and action figures; hell, they became legendary classics. Dan Aykroyd's Ghostbusters was no exception. It's spawned two different animated series, the video games are still coming, and it consistently finds itself on just about every "Best Comedy" list made.

The film centers around three parapsychologists who specialize in the field of ghosts. It seems that they've reached the jackpot when Doctors Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler are called to investigate the paranormal phenomenon going on at the New York Public Library and witness the spirit of an old librarian with their own eyes. Even though the spook scares them clear out of the library at top speed, they were able to get samples of the ectoplasmic slime it left behind, which will catapult their research into an entirely new realm. Unfortunately for the trio, the college that was funding their studies has pulled the plug on their wing, and they find themselves up the proverbial creek, although with one hell of a paddle. The samples from the library have given Egon the keys to trapping and confining ghosts, and the three scientists go into the extermination business as The Ghostbusters. In the beginning, business is slow; their only customer is a woman, Dana Barrett, complaining about some kind of demon living in her fridge. Even though Dr. Venkman has taken an interest in the woman, he has to put her on hold, because after finally busting their first ghost in an upscale hotel, business has exploded. In fact, they're so busy that they're forced hire a fourth partner, blue collar Winston Zeddemore. This sudden spike in ghostly activity has Egon especially worried, and the Ghostbusters begin to realize they're on the edge of something catastrophic, something that's centered in Dana's apartment.

When Dan Aykroyd originally thought of the concept, it was radically different from the final product. Besides the fact that he had a completely different cast in mind while writing, the initial idea was for the Ghostbusters to travel through space and time battling enormous demons. Director Ivan Reitman immediately saw the budgetary problems inherent in this concept, and the two men sat down and banged out the new and improved script, which was considerably more down to earth. I have to say, that was one of the best things that could have happened to this movie. The resulting script is nothing short of superb; instead of launching into the paranormal stuff, the film eases into it. The early scenes in the library are extremely minimal and the story slowly builds until it reaches it's climatic rooftop battle. This approach helped establish it's credibility better than anything else, as it's a lot easier to suspend your disbelief gradually instead of in one lump sum. And helping that suspension along is the effects that were used. I'm not entirely sure which techniques were used for the ghosts and proton streams, but I can't help but smile that a movie from 1984 looks better than most of the effects used today.

Backing up this script is a phenomenal cast. While Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were both outstanding as Ray and Egon respectively, it was Bill Murray who really stole the show. Aykroyd originally wanted John Belushi to play Dr. Venkman, but Murray was cast after Belushi's death, and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The deadpan cockiness that Murray brought to the table is an amazing thing to behold, and while it's well known that he ad libbed quite a bit on set, his delivery makes it completely impossible to tell just how much of it is actually improvised. Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver were also up to par in their supporting roles; and while Weaver seemed a bit stiff at times, I think that had more to do with her sharing ninety percent of her screen time with Murray. And last but not least, Ernie Hudson was criminally underused as Winston Zeddemore. Also a recast, Winston was originally written with Eddie Murphy in mind, but he turned the role down since he was filming Beverly Hills Cop. A dodged bullet in my opinion, because even though I think Eddie Murphy is hysterical, I don't think he would have lined up with the subtle nature of the film. Anyway, while Murphy was still believed to be in, the character was added much earlier in the script, but after Hudson was hired, they decided to add him later, to emphasize just how much their business has picked up. Fair enough I suppose, but it leaves kind of a disjointed feeling, since he ends up being thrown in right before the climax without much time to get to know the character.

If I have to make one complaint, it's the shortage of actual ghostbusting shown on camera. While we get to watch the first gig, which is my favorite scene in the movie, after that they show a montage showing their rise to fame and overloaded work schedule. Now, the movie is already just shy of two hours, and plotwise these scenes would have been pretty superfluous and redundant after a while, but getting to watch at least one or two more gigs wouldn't have hurt anything. With that said, not having these scenes didn't do much damage either, and this is one film that's well deserved of it's 'classic' status. 10/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 05/22/2008, 02:15 PM
10/10. Is there anything else to say about this film?
Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added 05/22/2008, 02:43 PM
Amazing film. Definitely should be in anyones collection. 10/10 for me as well.
thrasher #3: thrasher - added 05/22/2008, 10:20 PM
I don't know anyone who DOESN'T love this movie. 10/10
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 06/09/2008, 08:44 PM
Just watched this for the first time since I was about 5 years old. Loved it. 10/10
Rest Easy Soul #5: Rest Easy Soul - added 12/26/2009, 10:06 AM
One of my all time favorite movies. This movie is the gold standard for comedy and one of the best movies to come from the 80s. Stay {uft is so awesome.
Lucid Dreams #6: Lucid Dreams - added 05/12/2010, 01:33 PM
I have probably watched this movie over 100 times...I'm fucking serious 10/10
Rest Easy Soul #7: Rest Easy Soul - added 07/25/2010, 10:59 AM
Just got it on Blu-Ray.. OMG.. So much better than that crappy 2005 HD transfer.
385 #8: 385 - added 02/24/2014, 06:02 PM
Rest in Peace Egon. May your ghost never be busted.
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