I was actually excited when I got to go see this movie at the Alamo! I hadn’t seen Ghostbusters in a theater since it came out in 1984. It’s always better to see a movie on the big screen than on TV. And this film is no exception. I particularly liked that before the movie started, the real video of Ray Parker Jr.’s song “Ghostbusters” was shown, and then the LEGO version of the movie was displayed, complete with Homer Simpson as Slimer!
This is one of those uncommon movies in which anyone who watches it ends up enjoying the story, the characters, and the comedy. First there’s that poor old librarian, Alice, at the New York City Library. She’s just dong her job, shelving books others have left behind on the many tables, when the books and cards from the card catalog go flying behind her. This allows for Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) to display his sarcastic wit. Ghostbusters is filled with Venkman’s one liners, mostly of a sexually innuendo and always with sarcasm. Venkman, Dr. Ray Stantz (Dan Akroyd), and Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) are three scientists at the University studying paranormal activity. They are kicked out of the University when funding for their work is revoked. Intimidated by the prospect of having to work in the private sector where results are expected, the three colleagues find an old abandoned fire house to set up shop as the Ghostbusters. Ray finds a clunker of an automobile for just $4,800 that needs brakes, brake pads,engine, tires, etc. (which shows he has no clue about how to get a good price for anything). That becomes the company’s main vehicle with the iconic logo of the ghost combined with a “Do Not Enter” red circle.
Business picks up after the library, even though that could’ve ruined their reputation as ghost hunters. They find the ghost that scared Alice, an innocent looking full torso apparition of a female librarian. Innocent, until Ray shouts, “Get Her!” – at that point the innocent looking ghost becomes a terrifying demon-like creature that scares the pants off the busters. They make a commercial, and their first customer is a musician with something freaky talking about Zul in her refridgerator. The team is alerted to the new client when Janine (Annie Potts) calls out, “We got one!!!”
Dana (Sigorney Weaver) calls the ghostbusters, and visits their establishment. Venkman continuously hits on her, while she explains what happened in her apartment kitchen. What first time viewers and the Ghostbusters don’t realize yet is that all these hauntings are connected to the apartment building Dana lives in, an oddly built structure from the 1920’s. Dana has a neighbor, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), a nerdy accountant who also keeps flirting with her. He becomes instrumental later in solving the problem of Zuls flooding in, especially after successfully capturing Slimer at the hotel. Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson) joins up, and immediately is put to work. However, adding to the team’s stress, is the interference of Walter Peck. He is authorized to check the effects of the business on the environment, and even gets the busters thrown into jail for a short while.
The ending is full of suspense, and comedy, and Venkman’s one-liners. Both Dana and Louis become possessed by Zul, as two rooftop gargoyle-like dogs come to life and hunt them down. Known as the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster, they await the sign for Zul’s return, bringing about the end of the world in biblical proportions. Who does the mayor of NYC call? The Ghostbusters, of course! He gets them out of jail, and they go to the source of the chaos, Dana and Louis’ apartment building. The sky is blackening, lightning is striking all around the building, and crowds have gathered to pray to God and to cheer on their heroes. Our team makes their way to Dana’s apartment, and find stairs to the rooftop that have appeared where her fridge once was located.
They reach the top in time to see Dana and Louis transform into the stone, gargoyle dogs. Zul appears in a female form, with short spiky hair and glowing red eyes. At this time, Venkman says, “Go Get Her, Ray!” Zul has come as the Destructor, and ultimately tells the Ghostbusters to choose the form of the Destructor. Venkman tells everyone to clear their minds when Zul declares the choice has been made. Ray has chosen something, something soft and innocent from his childhood – the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man! Moments later, Zul comes to destroy the city as a gigantic Marshmellow Man. The team figures out that by crossing the streams of their proton pack guns into the portal where Zul appeared, they could send Zul back. And it works, with the Marshmellow Man exploding, and Dana and Louis restored to their normal selves.
This is a really fun movie to watch. The story is good enough for everyone to follow and understand, and there are no slow or dull parts. The sarcasm is great, and not truly demeaning or at the expense of the other characters. Venkman’s “game show” personality comes out, even as he is hitting on nearly every woman in the story. But Bill Murray does an excellent job in portraying that kind of man (I can’t help think of Groundhog Day). I could watch this movie and sing “Who ya gonna call” all day!