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Death is But a Door. Time is But a Window. I’ll Be Back.
Because I cannot watch Ghostbusters without finishing the series, I watched Ghostbusters II today. This is a movie that has taken a bit of a beating, which is even more noticeable as it follows it’s amazing predecessor. But was this a bad movie, or just a movie that suffers from being in the shadow of Ghostbusters? Let’s find out! Ghostbusters II was again written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, again directed by Ivan Reitman, and mostly again starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Henry and William Deutschendorf, Wilhelm von Homburg, Peter MacNicol, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Harris Yulin, Kurt Fuller, David Margulies, Cheech Marin, Walter Flanagan, Ben Stein, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Bobby Brown.
The Ghostbusters are back, and better than ever! Oh wait, no they’re not. They’ve actually fallen on hard times in the 5 years since the first movie. Turns out, the mayor (David Margulies) stiffed them on that little job that saved the city/world in the first movie and they’ve mostly lost the respect of the people of New York, all of whom seem to have forgotten how they’re alive because of the Ghostbusters. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) make ends meet by performing at kid’s birthday parties, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) hosts a TV show about the paranormal, and Egon Spengler does tests involving making kids sad. One day, Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) stops by to visit Egon because the stroller of her baby, Oscar (Henry and William Deutschendorf), went crazy, weaved through traffic, and stopped abruptly in front of the museum she works at. She asks Ray and Egon to investigate, but asks that they not tell Venkman because they had broken up after the first movie, leading her temporarily into the arms of Oscar’s father. Venkman tortures Ray into spilling the beans, and three of the Ghostbusters are reunited. Their investigation leads them to dig a hole into the middle of a busy street, where they find a strange pink ooze. Then they get arrested. This ooze, and a certain painting of interest, lead the Ghostbusters to have to save the world yet again.
I will flat out defend this movie as still being a great comedy. I think what hurts this movie is that it will forever be in the shadow of a far superior movie. Ghostbusters was so gundamned good that it would inevitably lead someone to go into this movie with high expectations that it couldn’t possibly meet. And, since it did not manage to either surpass or even match Ghostbusters, I think people assumed they hated it more than they should have. It’s still very funny and easily as quotable. I know I’ve busted out lines from this movie at random times for comedic effect. Some of my favorites are “He is Vigo! You are like the buzzing of flies to him!”, “I have all NEW cheap moves”, “Carpathian Kitten Loss”, and “Do. Re. Egon!” I really don’t understand people hating on this movie so much. I understand the first one set that high bar, but you couldn’t have not laughed in this movie. It’s still very humorous and the story is at least nearly as good as the first one. A very minor step down from the first movie. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the whole “people should be nice to each other or ooze will form under your city” message. And the dialogue is just as clever. It does take a step up graphically. One can assume the great success of the first movie netted them a good amount extra money for the sequel, so you would expect the graphics to step up.
Murray still brings it. You can’t keep that man from awesomeness. He’s still hilarious and charming in a way that makes you believe that this dude could land Sigourney Weaver … twice! Aykroyd and Ramis give the same quality of performance they gave in the first movie, and I feel no need to retype it. It was yesterday, for crying out loud. Ernie Hudson still isn’t in it very much, but he did get a few good moments, like when the ghost train ran through him. Sigourney is still good here, and the 80’s hair is beginning to calm down. Annie Potts got hotter, in my opinion, and I don’t need your approval for that. Psst … call me … Rick Moranis’ characters little attempt to be the hero didn’t do anything for me, and I might be hating on him because he got to knock the boots with Annie Potts. Peter MacNicol was a new addition to the movies, and a welcome one. I felt like he could have been the second funniest character in the movie. That crazy accent he got from being from the Upper West Side was ridiculous. Baby Oscar, played by William and Hank Deutschendorf perhaps didn’t need to be credited here, but they were adorable as babies. Wilhelm von Homburg was a little hit and miss. Sometimes he was freaky as Vigo the Carpathian, and sometimes he just looked goofy.
So there that is. Back up off Ghostbusters II’s jock, alright? Yeah, it’s not as good as Ghostbusters, but neither are a lot of movies you like. And I’d wager Ghostbusters II is still a contender with any of those movies you may be thinking of because it still has a good story, still has great characters that are performed well, still has clever dialogue, and even has better graphics when compared to the original. Not AS good, but definitely good. Ghostbusters II gets “And you don’t want us exposing ourselves!” out of “How many of you people out here are a national monument? Raise your hand.”
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