Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Ghostbusters: 25th Anniversary

So this week marks the 25th Anniversary of the release of Ghostbusters.

I deeply, deeply love this movie, and I find it curious that I never think to include it in my profile lists when they ask me to name my favorite films. Well, today I put a flag in the ground and declare my love for the Ghostbusters.

Going to matinees in the summertime is an age old Steans-Clan tradition, and so it was that the KareBear took a fresh-faced League and Steanso to the cinema to catch the flick. I probably already knew the Ray Parker Jr. theme song (a Huey Lewis knock off that wound up getting somebody sued).

As a kid, I recall enjoying the more slapsticky elements (sliming), the sci-fi and ghostly elements, and the big finale. It was in middle school that I realized how quotable the movie is, to the point where the dialog works itself into everyday speech (when training staff in my previous, more technical jobs, I'd frequently wrap it up with "the light is green, the trap is clean"). And, I imagine, I'd do quite well at a Ghostbusters quote-along at The Alamo.

On the whole, its just a very tight movie. From a scripting standpoint, it does a great job of carrying its characters from the basement of a university to fighting Gozer the Gozarian for the fate of world to the cheers of New York City, the guy gets the girl, and the stick in the mud EPA guy gets his comeuppance.

And, it features this scene:

Maybe one of the most brilliant scenes ever put on film.

The movie plays so often on cable that I suspect its now taken for granted, becoming television wall paper in the manner of "Vacation" or "Fletch".

But I recommend going back and checking out "Ghostbusters", and I dare you to wish you weren't a little more like Dr. Peter Venkman.

The sequel was a little too cutesy, and missed the edge of the original. Once babies are involved and it lost the "working stiffs" element (as well as the uncertainty and shooting from the hip nature of taking on the actual ghost busting), there's just going to be a point where its not the same movie anymore. Still enjoyable, but...

There was also a Saturday Morning cartoon that ran for a few years and tried very hard to keep the spirit of the original series, although toned down for kids (who were going to be surprised when they'd watch the movie years later, slapping themselves on the head when they figured out the whole "gatekeeper/ keymaster" deal).

One of the great things about the original is how well the entire cast clicks. Not just Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis... but Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver (and poor William Atherton who became consigned to a career or playing schmucks after nailing the role of Walter Peck in Ghostbusters). No doubt Moranis is hilarious (and who has the greatest closing argument in legal history in Ghostbusters II*), but Ernie Hudson's blue collar guy who's just in it for the job and Sigourney Weaver's bemused high class NYC musician all really draw from a world of New York that seems very ground in reality. Juxtaposed against three jobless professors hunting ghosts... it just works.

I can't think of a big budget, more or less all ages comedy like Ghostbusters coming out in recent memory. Especially one that mixes genres so seamlessly. For some reason, the only thing that comes to mind is stuff like "Pluto Nash". I'm probably wrong, but its been a while since something like Ghostbusters hit.

There are rumors of the original cast reuniting for a sequel (I am neither for, nor against, a sequel until I know more). There's also a long-in-development video game coming in a few weeks, and featuring most of the original voices (I hear Moranis was a hold out).

At any rate, it would be nice to see the movie remembered as more than a sexy Halloween costume.

*Your Honor, ladies and gentleman of the audience, I don't think it's fair to call my clients frauds. Sure, the blackout was a big problem for everybody. I was trapped in an elevator for two hours and I had to make the whole time. But I don't blame them. Because one time, I turned into a dog and they helped me. Thank you.

1 comment:

Michael Corley said...

I really, really enjoyed the cartoon. I felt it kept a lot of the spirit, as you say.

When I watched the movie originally, it gave me nightmares.

Last Halloween I watched it again.

That night? I had a nightmare. Well done Ghostbusters, well done.