The Halloween reviews are starting to pile up. Who
ya gonna call?

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman

Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Ray Stanz

Harold Ramis as Dr. Egon Spengler

Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore

Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett

Rick Moranis as Louis Tully

Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz

Willian Atherton as Walter Peck

Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

Three guys figure out how to catch ghosts just in
time to save the
world.

High Point

It’s hard to pick. We’ve got the moment Dr. Venkman
gets slimed.
We’ve got the wonderful character introductions that
let you see the
core of the character within one minute of their
first screen
appearance. We’ve got the shot when the doors slowly
open to reveal
the “ECTO 1” plates on the first call. We’ve got the
first look at
Gozer’s chosen form coming in to tear up the city.
It’s hard to
choose.

In the end, I think I’ll have to pick their encounter
in the library.
It sets the tone for the entire film, and lays out
the roles of each
character in the dynamic with crystal clarity.

Low Point

The effects in the terror dog attack at Louis’ party.

Additional Words

I should preface this review by mentioning how much
I’ve always loved
this movie. I first saw it just as I was going into
grade two, and
loved it. I wore out my first Betamax copy of it,
and my second copy
lasted until I wore out my Betamax player. My VHS
copy was in rough
shape when the fifteenth anniversary edition hit DVD
in 1999, which
was enough to convince me to buy a DVD player. The
DVD is fantastic;
good extras, good transfer (probably the first time
in widescreen
since theaters), and a commentary that’s about as
funny as the movie
itself. Highly recommended.

The Scores

Only in the 1980s would this premise have been made
as a comedy. I
can’t think of anything like it in this format.
(There was an old
Disney cartoon, “Lonesome Ghosts,” that shared some
elements, but was
pretty different.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are often great (frying eggs,
everything in the
library) but sometimes really lousy (the terror dog
attack, the
cartoony lights post-explosion). I give it 4 out of
6.

The story is very well written. I’ve
already mentioned the
remarkably efficient character introductions. I
haven’t mentioned the
natural growth from campus clowns to world saving
heroes. It’s also
one of the most quotable movies I’ve ever seen. As
Spike said in the
final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
“Who you gonna
call?” is forever tied to this movie. There’s also
“he slimed me,”
“we’re ready to believe you,” “they go up,” “dropping
off or picking
up,” and a number of others. The comedy here just
plain works, even
after many, many viewings. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is subtle, and quite good in many
places. Bill
Murray did some great stuff, particularly when
examing Dana Barrett’s
apartment, when reacting to his first look at the
Ecto-1, and when he
first encounters a form of Zuul. These guys have
body language and
timing down pat. Rick Moranis deserves more credit
than he often gets.
He was cast after John Candy gave up the part because
he couldn’t
figure out how to make it work. Rick Moranis not
only made it work,
but did it extremely well. Remember the scene with
the party in his
apartment, which begins with him making
introductions, advising on
good purchases, and detailing people’s tax
situations? Take a close
look at it. It’s all one continuous shot. Moreover,
like much of the
movie, it was ad libbed. Moranis is a very talented
guy, who deserves
more work than he’s been getting. I give it 5 out of
6.

The fact that this still generates any emotional
response

after so many viewings is remarkable. It really
shouldn’t work,
either. Think about it; it’s a movie where ghosts
appear all over the
place, where the giant mascot of a marshmallow
company is summoned to
destroy mankind, and where three guys who have had
their work scoffed
at make it onto all sorts of talk shows and into
magazines. Nothing
about this should be plausible, but the execution
makes it happen.
Loads of disbelief have to be suspended, but the
scaffolding is all
there. We can sit, watch, and laugh. I give it 6
out of 6.

The production is also well done. The
camera motions and
set-ups are pretty standard stock set-ups, but that’s
because of
Reitman’s habit of encouraging ad libs. In that
situation, you have
to be basic so you can be adaptable. The music, both
integrated pop
and Elmer Bernstein’s score, are wonderfully fit to
the film. I give
it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this is my favourite comedy of all
time, and one of
my favourite movies. It’s one of the few movies from
my childhood
that still stands up today. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Ghostbusters receives 35 out of
42.

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