With all of the talk about Ghostbusters 3 and the return of the original cast (sans Ramis RIP), I figured it was time to dive into one of my all time favorites, the one that started it all, Ghostbusters.
Today’s Key Movie:
If I have to describe the plot of Ghostbusters, you either live under a rock or are just WAY to young to remember the four guys with proton packs. For those of you who really don’t remember this one, or just never got around to watching it, it follows the humorous exploits of a group sudo-scientists as they discover that, not only are ghosts real but they can profit off of their capture and incarceration. However, after a disgruntled EPA worker gets involved, New York is threatened by a being of immeasurable power. Starring Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson and more, this is one of the 80’s seminal films.
Why this movie?
By 1984, I had already become a movie buff. Not quite ten years old, I had already seen a plethora of films including Star Wars, War Games, several Bond films, Tron, ET, Conan the Barbarian and many more. I loved movies and every chance to see a new one was a delight. This was a massive year for movies, Gremlins, The Terminator, Nightmare on Elm Street, Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop and more were released and remain some of the most beloved of their time. It seems that many of these films from that year transcended their film origins and have become iconic in every way imaginable, Ghostbusters being one of the most beloved of them all.
I know we saw this one in theaters, the hype on this one was just too big and, with my dad being a horror buff, there is no way we could have skipped on it. Upon my first viewing, I was enamored with the Ghostbusting quartet. Although clearly not intended for children this film soon became a fan favorite among kids my age. There wasn’t a playground where a group of kids were reenacting the battle with Gozer or hunting down spectral spooks. The studios took notice and we were soon introduced to the further adventures if our favorite four in the animated ‘sequel’ series, The Real Ghostbusters, and boy were we hooked.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
It is hard pressed to find a more perfect film. Not only is the story solid but each of the actors nail their performances to a tee. Every aspect of the film from the soundtrack to the cinematography is spot on, creating what could be considered a film masterpiece.
The thing that makes this film so delightful is that, the older you get, the more more you discover with each subsequent viewing. The jokes, while subtle at times, take on new meaning to you from your age perspective. I mean, Gatekeeper, Keymaster, yeah I didn’t pick up on that sexual subtext at the age of 8 but it was so well done that I didn’t have to. It is rare for films these days to be able to skirt adult humor while remaining fairly safe for younger kids, this sort of thing is typically only seen in cartoons and to pull this off on the big screen is no small feat.
Another aspect of this film that always strikes me is the soundtrack. No, I am not talking about the popular theme song by Ray Parker, Jr, I am talking about the relatively ignored score by Elmer Bernstein. While Ray Parker’s theme is iconic and quite fun, it is Bernstein’s score that breaths life into the world presented by Ivan Reitman. It is a very simple and unassuming work but one that is almost instantly recognized the moment you hear the tunes involved. One of my favorite pieces from Bernstein is the official theme to the busters themselves and I have included it here for your enjoyment.
All in all, this is a terrific film. Not only humorous, but though provoking and deep at times as well. The film, while dealing with Ghosts and paranormal threats, manages to make the universe created feel real and the four guys in uniform come off as heroes not unlike the Avengers themselves. Even though there has been attempts to recapture this feel, there is nothing like the first time you see these guys in action. It is pure cinematic perfection and a must see before you die kind of film.
While I know that Ghostbusters 3 can never live up to our expectations, I am looking forward to exploring this universe again under the watchful eye of Jason Reitman, son of the original films director Ivan.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This is one that will likely never go out of print and has been released on just about every home video medium since it’s original release. You can grab the two disc set of GB1 and 2 here for a really good price. Or just hit up your favorite digital distribution service. Either way, give it a go. You will not regret it. I also recommend the IDW comic series that picks up after the hit Video Game sequel to the films. It is really great and continues the adventures of the team in a way that feels right, it even manages to explain the reason why the Real Ghostbusters look so different and how the 2016 film fits into the universe.
Of course, the trailer:
Late To The Game 7/25/2019
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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