Monday, 1 August 2016

Ghostbusters (1984) Revisited

Ghostbusters Movie PosterParapsychologists Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz and Egon Spengler along with everyday man Winston Zeddemore try to prevent the end of the world by stopping a god, Gozer the Gozerian.

Director Ivan Reitman, with László Kovács' cinematography offer a grounded feel to the wacky characters and supernatural story line thanks to the on location city scenes which are complemented by Dan Aykroyd's and Harold Ramis' witty writing. There's an excellent 80s soundtrack and wide ranging score by Elmer Bernstein. Not only does Ghostbusters work as a piece of entertainment it captures New York during the political and social Reagan-era, a different time.

The ghost wrangling cast are excellent, Bill Murray gives a hilarious deadpan performance as the team come together. Aykroyd, Ramis and Hudson offer great comic turns. The supporting cast are also strong, Sigourney Weaver is on fine form as Dana Barrett, Rick Moranis as Louis Tully and William Atherton as bureaucrat Walter Peck are particularly notably. Annie Potts is humorous as crabby but likable Janine Melnitz. Tully's crush on Barrett is humorously played out. Weaver gets to give a full range of emotion, right down to playing possessed. As well as eggs cooking on worktops and ghouls in fridges there's also a horrific scene where Barrett is gagged and dragged by evil hands across a room on a chair. Many of the effects still hold up and the optical ghosts remain eerie.

There's a perfect a blend of special effects and comedy, too many moments to mention, notable is the scene at the hotel where armed with their proton weapons the team go to capture a greedy ghost and Venkman gets slimed. Packed with quotable lines, Reitman offers paranormal and supernatural hi-jinks including demon dogs, skeletons, spectres as well as chuckles. Together Aykroyd and Ramis along with Reitman and crew not only deliver a great film but they forge some pop-culture equipment, the iconic Ecto-1 that the Ghostbusters use to travel, proton packs, the P.K.E. Meters, containment unit and the like.

From the New York Public Library where they encounter a elegant ghost that transforms into a horrifying spook, to the showdown against Gozer and the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the witty jokes, the chemistry on screen and the effects are magical. A classic to be treasured.

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