Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

After a lot of thinking, I have come to the conclusion that I may have jumped the gun. I know I said I would not see it, but I believe it is my duty, as a nobody-critic, to let you know the truth. My word does not mean much and I do not expect anyone to listen. It was never my intention to control what people see. I just wanted to express myself and see if others agreed. And if you share my opinions, I hope you take heed as I carefully explain why Ghostbuster (1984) is a perfect movie.

After they are kicked out of Columbia University Peter, Ray, and Egon start a business where they investigate paranormal activity and exterminate ghosts throughout New York City. Things get interesting when their first client Dana calls in a poltergeist that is connected to something much more nefarious.

With a trio like Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd, the comedy of Ghostbusters is top notch. Their master craft shows through in the character’s interactions in a flawless ensemble. Ray is utterly enthusiastic, Egon is the calm smart guy, and Peter is just along with the ride. The conflict of their personalities makes them function in perfect harmony. Peter’s casual sarcasm keeps Ray’s fanaticism in check while Egon’s logic points them in the right direction. Murray is the focus and the funniest, but the film would not work without Ramis and Aykroyd.

The supporting characters add a lot to the comedy of the trio. Ernie Hudson’s straight man Winston, one of the more important characters, is introduced later as an average Joe trying to earn a paycheck. Sigourney Weaver as Dana has great chemistry with Murray as he investigates the strange happenings at her apartment while trying to court her. Rick Moranis was perfect as the bumbling accountant Louis struggling to maintain a consistent air of modesty to his detriment. And William Atherton is great as Walter Peck, a petulant government agent.

It would not be a ghost movie without ghosts and the visual effects are some of the best 1984 can offer. With a combination of puppetry, stop-motion, and conventional animation the various undead ghouls are brought to life. Smiler’s movements are exaggerated and gross, while the Gozer dogs are beautifully detailed, and the streams from the proton packs are vibrant. The Stay Puff Marshmallow Man would not be so iconic without the practical effects that went into his body and face. Today these effects are shining diamonds of cinematic artistry in an age where lazy computer generated detritus has become the norm.

My vocabulary is not enough to describe Ghostbusters (1984). As a comedy with the trappings of an action adventure, it is perfect. I cannot image such a film being made today because the ensemble and jokes were lightning in a bottle. They do not make them like they used to and while that prospect is dire, I take comfort in the fact that I can turn to the past, and remind myself that good movies still exist. For those reasons Ghostbusters (1984) is an essential watch. This is what you get for dancing on the grave of Harold Ramis, Paul Feig, you hack.


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