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2/20/12

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) - REVIEW


If there is a prime example of how good the 80's were at making the most out of the coolest concepts then Ghostbusters is it. What if there were New York firemen but instead of stopping fires they caught... ghosts?

It's a neat idea and from the offset you know you're in for a treat.

A clever mix of cheesy horror movies, buddy comedy and creative 80's special effects, Ghostbusters not only introduces us to a new concept but it defines it so well, so completely that by the end you totally accept that ghost-busting could (and should) actually be a real thing. The way that concept is made three-dimensional is masterful: you've got the iconic hearse with the instantly recognisable siren, the proton packs with their unique rules (ghost traps, not crossing streams) not to mention Ray Parker Jr's immortal, catchy-as-hell theme song. Whenever those guys are driving around taking out ghosts and that music is playing, you reach a nostalgic nirvana few films manage to achieve.

Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis must have known they had something special because they give a seemingly silly premise the utmost respect and make sure to detail the job at hand as carefully and as logically as possible whilst keeping a tongue-in-cheek vibe throughout and giving Bill Murray's initially sceptical Peter Venkman all the witty, sarcastic quips any cynical douche would no doubt make in similar situations. In the end, we viewers and Venkman himself have no choice but to give in to the Ghostbusters' charms and enjoy the ride. It's nothing short of impressive that Murray ad-libbed most of his lines since pretty much everything he says is a quotable, genuinely funny gem.

Story-wise, this first instalment involves Sigourney Weaver finding a gateway to some demon realm in her fridge, as you do, as an ancient monster called Gozer plots the end of the world as we know it: dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Oh, and Rick Moranis turns into a dog. Why? Because he's the Keymaster of course. Basically, it becomes up to three out-of-work parapsychology professors, and one new employee, to show the world that ghosts do exist and that they are the only guys who can contain those mischievous protoplasmic ghouls. You've got Egon (Ramis), the geekiest and most deadpan of the lot, Ray (Aykroyd), the second geekiest of the lot, Peter (Murray), the jokey, nonchalant one, and Winston (Ernie Hudson), the cool realist. It's one of the best movie comedy teams of all time and seeing these guys kick the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man's butt is still glorious.

Ghostbusters is, quite simply, a great movie and an unavoidable 80's classic. If you haven't seen it or revisited it since childhood, you won't be disappointed when you do as it still stands up surprisingly well today.

Who you gonna call?

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