After the recent passing of writer/director/actor Harold Ramis [Caddyshack, Meatballs, Stripes] I knew it was time to revisit Ghostbusters. I remember going to see it in the theater and loved every minute of it. How does it stand up thirty years later? Quite well, thank you very much! Ghostbusters is a delightful mix of humor and horror with an emphasis on humor. The script by Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis [uncredited] is sharp, smart and full of the kind of dry humor and improv one would expect from Saturday Night Live and SCTV alumni.
Let’s start with direction. Ivan Reitman [Kindergarden Cop, Meatballs, Stripes] knows how to make this film work. His sense of timing is impeccable and he has a gift for finding the right moment to drop a sight gag or a clever piece of dialogue. The action flows nicely and he gets wonderful performances from a dream cast. Cinematographer Laszio Kovacs [Not exactly a household name but, trust me, you’ve been his films] makes NYC look absolutely gorgeous. And captures a look that transcends the mid 80’s which is not always an easy thing to do.
Then there’s the cast. OMG, does it get any better than this? In addition to Bill Murray, Ramis, Aykroyd and Moranis we also have Sigourney Weaver [Alien movies], Annie Potts [Designing Women] and a supporting cast including Ernie Hudson [The Crow, Oz], Alice Hudson [To Wong Fu] and Carmen Zapata, Larry King, and Casey Casem. The Holy Trinity of Murray, Akyroyd and Ramis are perfect together, with Ramis doing the difficult job of being straight man to Murray and Akyroyd’s antics. The rest of the cast is sharp too with everyone having the opportunity to get in on the joke. And let’s talk about Sigourney Weaver. Comedy doesn’t exactly come to mind when you think of her as an actress but she has a ball with this role, especially when he becomes possessed by a demon.
The special effects hold up pretty well. It’s typical 80’s stuff but the ghost librarian and the ectoplasmic slime gags and wonderfully funny. Any, of course, the Stay-Puft marshmallow man is a cinematic legend, taking its cue form none other than King Kong (1933).
What more needs to be said? If you haven’t seen this one yet you must have been living under a rock. If you like horror comedies, this is classic stuff that is not to be missed!
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.