Film Review Ghostbusters
Director: Ivan Reitman (1982)
Re-visiting ones childhood is a risky business, it can turn out mummy and daddy weren’t really moving furniture late at night, everyone actually hated being together at Christmas or you haircut really did look like a sexually abused squirrel in a shower had planted itself on your head. Then there’s the fact that all those awesome toys you wasted your birthday gifts on turn out to be cheap moronic bits of plastic. Except Might Max toys, Might Max toys will always be awesome. The same is often true with films, Jurassic Park has dated, the Power Rangers film really didn’t make sense and Scorpion in Mortal Kombat moved slower than an ice glacier through frozen treacle.
After growing up with Ghostbusters, (going as far as owning the impossible sega master system game, having two toy versions of the car, a shitload of plastic action figures with easily lost parts, a backpack and a slimer poster), I approached Ghostbusters with some trepidation, in fact, I was tempted to give it a miss completely until I realised it was being re-released in its entirety, no bullshit 3D, no added ‘special effects’ and no fucking re-mastering with epically distracting backgrounds. This seemed like such a novelty that I didn’t think I could miss out, which, when you think about it, is a pretty hideous indictment of how Hollywood is beginning to treat its classics, almost as if they were Asian releases in Harvey Weinstein’s office.
This isn’t going to be a normal review, it’s Ghostbusters, it was what it was and I’m not going to write if you should see it or not, because if you weren’t fortunate enough to watch it as a kid, it’s too late now and it’s just going to look like a generic eighties film your unloving parents hated you enough to deprive you of. No, this is a retrospective, a review of how an adult’s viewing of Ghostbusters compares with an abused, lonely, glue sniffing child’s viewing.
Hmmmmmmmmm, yup Ghostbusters still rule! Fantastic! There are so many fond memories that weren’t disappointed; The four Ghostbusters, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson are all as good as my inner child remembers, Sigourney Weaver is sexy in a classy and way and Rick Moranis is a natural entertainer, hilarious and endearing despite being freakishly small, a trait I usually associate with my nightmares. There’s also a nice turn by Annie Potts as the receptionist. The star of the show though is William Atherton as Walter Peck, as a child I loathed Peck, he was the embodiment of all that was wrong with adults and their rules and their inappropriate touches and their unappreciative attitude towards yoyo’s and pogs. Now, I can appreciate just how good he was/is, the Ghosts in Ghostbusters aren’t really bad guys, they’re just scary motherfuckers going around doing their thing. Likewise Gozer was always just a god doing god things and looking after her pet dogs. No, Peck was always the villain, and Atherton plays it just straight enough to loathe him, and just angry enough to be afraid of him.
The story is pretty seamless, the characters make sense, and everything moves at a much quicker pace than I remembered. It’s all big and dumb, but that was always part of the appeal, and some of Bill Murray’s dialogue, while pushing PG a bit far, is excellent. My inner child gets to remain unmolested, and I barely remember the sequel meaning it can’t have been that bad.
There’s a few minuses of course, the special effects have aged as well as a bottle of wine that’s been smashed open by a Gorilla, half of it dunk and replaced with olive oil, then blasted into the sun, and there’s far too much eighties power synth music thrown in to sell the soundtrack. One scene in which a legion of ghosts fly towards a tower is particularly jarring. There’s also an incredibly small amount of screen time for Slimer, which is disappointing seeing as how his character was marketed as being a major part of the team. I think he was more prominent in the sequel, and the cartoon eventually became Slimer and The Ghostbusters, so maybe I’m just annoyed at how tenuously linked my Slimer poster was. But that’s nit-picking at its finest.
What I was amazed at, is how much weird adult shit is in Ghostbusters. Right at the beginning we join Bill Murray as he essentially attempts to date rape a student, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a bizarre scene in which two of the Ghostbusters reflect on whether or not the Ghosts are evidence of the apocalypse as told by the book of revelations, Sigourney Weaver gets groped by ghost hands in a chair, in fact the whole second half of the film basically seems to be sexual innuendo using the words ‘gate and key’, and my none-existent god did the Ghostbusters smoke. Barely a scene goes by where one of them hasn’t lit up, which, being immersed in a constant state of trying to quit, is not good for me or my rage.
Speaking or rage, one thing I liked, was, having arranged to watch the film alongside a hand-breaking monster of a man, (Who’s 5 minutes of fame can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvKM5EkdA6w&feature=feedu) who didn’t venture out his room until 2006, and appears to have not begun watching films till some point later, I was worried that the monster may not enjoy his viewing experience, and subsequently break my hand or some other equally useful appendage once more. The monster however, enjoyed the film, which means, that despite the dated effects and lack of Slimer, Ghostbusters stands some test of time, and new audiences can enjoy the experience………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. So apparently it’s not too late to indulge the inner child your parents hated.
Written By Sam ‘Crossed the streams with my dad once’ McKinstrie
Unnecessarily on twitter as McKinstHFP
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