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Movie Review | Ghostbusters


Winston (Ernie Hudson), Ray (Dan Aykroyd), Peter (Bill Murray) and Egon (Harold Ramis) open fire in Ghostbusters
 

Movie summary: Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. (IMDb)


This isn't going to be the longest review I've ever done, because what new is there to say about a film that has remained consistently popular for the near thirty-five years that have passed since its release? Ghostbusters was, and remains, a pop-culture classic that few films have come close to matching in that time.


The premise itself isn't anything incredible (read that summary above - it's not inaccurate), but it's in the execution of the story-line where Ghostbusters really comes alive. Not just that, but also the terrific cast who are all giving this ostensibly-goofy movie their all, and the amazing chemistry that exists between them.


It helps that the characters aren't all one night, and neither can they be pigeon-holed into fitting a stereotype. Yes, they each have a distinctive role they perform as part of the team and as a group of friends, but there's enough of an overlap to make the audience understand why these guys would be friends.


That's why Egon (Harold Ramis) can get away with the odd Peter-like sarcastic remark, Ray (Dan Aykroyd) can also contribute on the tech front, and Peter (Bill Murray) can be the guy in over his head - they all feel like real people, and you'd expect a real person to have more than one side to the personality. They all feel like guys it'd be great to hang out with.


Now, there's one of the team missing there, and that's Ernie Hudson's Winston. By all accounts, he was supposed to have a bigger part in this movie and, when watching it again over the years, it has become more and more noticeable to me. Winston's actually probably the most normal and realistic of the four, and Hudson's performance is fine for what the role ended up being, but it doesn't quite fit with the exaggerated characteristics of the others that makes them stand out.


Then again, Winston's role really is to be the guy hired to do a job for three friends who have started their own business - it makes sense that he wouldn't be able to go back and forth with them as easily as they do with each other. But it does feel like his character belongs in a marginally more serious movie, rather than something as openly comedic as Ghostbusters.


It's not the only problem with the movie either - tell me again what the point of Ray being sexually pleasured by a ghost contributes to proceedings? How does it help the story progress or help inform us about Ray? Was it just because Peter had the core 'romantic' relationship with Dana (Sigourney Weaver) and Egon had... whatever it was that he had with Janine (Annie Potts), and it was at least something for the character to hang on to?

Yep, it's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

As for Peter and Dana's relationship: yeah, that really wouldn't work with audiences today. Although, to be completely honest, Peter would probably end up having to be considerably re-written to avoid a storm of controversy. Why? Just remember that we are introduced to him as a college staff member trying to deceive a student into dating him.


Then there's his constant pestering of Dana, including showing up uninvited to her place of work. I know that it was the Eighties and it wasn't like he could email or text/WhatsApp her, but it does still stand out as a little creepy. I last watched it with a friend who said that she would've wanted to call the police to keep him away rather than continuing to have any kind of business with him.


This does open a whole can of worms about whether you should judge a movie based on modern sensibilities, or accept that it was a product of its time and what we saw was considered 'acceptable' behaviour for fictional characters at that time. I would choose the latter, but would completely understand someone being put off by out-dated standards.


Those moments aside, Ghostbusters is pretty much a flawless movie in every other respect. For such a simple idea, it's amazing how well done it is and just how re-watchable it has proven to be. The performances from the cast, and their incredible chemistry when interacting with each other, are uniformly great and I otherwise can't recommend it enough.


Ghostbusters is still a great movie, filled with fantastic performances from a cast with terrific chemistry. It's enjoyable - and often laugh-out-loud funny - from the very start and doesn't stop being fun until the credits roll. The only downside is that there is some material that no movie released today would get away with - if you can get past that, you'll love the rest of the movie.

[9/10]

 

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