The long discussed Ghostbusters reboot hits the cinemas this week, and that’s all the excuse I need to have a look back at 1984’s classic.
I was 8 years old when my dad took me to the cinema to see Ghostbusters, I have loved it ever since. Now, James usually does this column, but as it is my favourite film I hijacked it.
As I get older, there are few memories that I recall from my childhood with crystal clarity, one that I can, is the build up to watching Ghostbusters at the now demolished Hamilton Odeon. I wrote and talked about it so much that my Primary School teacher eventually pleaded with me to talk about something, anything else…I didn’t.
The film was initially conceived by Dan Aykroyd as a project for him and John Belushi, it was to be titled Ghostmashers and had a time travel element. Following Belushi’s death in 1982 and some reservations about the financial practicalities from Director Ivan Reitman, he teamed up with Harold Ramis and dramatically re-wrote the script. Bill Murray replaced Belushi and the rest is history.
We all know the story surely, but here is a recap anyway. Scientists Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler are Professors of Paranormal Studies at Columbia University and they are on the verge of proving that the paranormal is real. They are called to the New York Public Library to investigate a ghostly librarian. After a disastrous attempt to interact with it, they are fired from the University and decide to set up there own business. Ghostbusters: Paranormal Investigations and Eliminations. Meanwhile, Zuul a despotic demi-god from a parallel dimesion is attempting to take over our world by possessing Dana Barrett, who just happens to be the Ghostbusters new client. As the paranormal activity gets worse, The Ghostbusters are the only ones who can save the city.
I love this film, so I am never going to be the most objective of critics when it comes to reviewing it. I honestly believe that after 30+ years the film really stands up. The script is as funny and fresh today as it was in 1984 and the effects while of course are clunky by today’s standards they still deliver. Bill Murray is perfect as Peter Venkman, the Ghostbusters defacto leader. he is a hustler disguised as a scientist, his deadpan delivery and ruffled appearance make him cinema’s most unlikely hero, but a hero he is. Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz, the heart of the Ghostbusters and the heart of the film. Harold Ramis, who sadly passed away a few years ago is brilliant as Egon Spengler, the brains behind the operation and rounding out the cast is Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddmore, with no scientific background he is great as the everyman who is just a long for the ride. One of my proudest moments is when I actually got to meet Mr Hudson, to say he was awesome would be an understatement.
Director Ivan Reitman gives his cast enough room to express themselves without the film getting away from him, something that anyone who has directed Will Ferrell or Seth Rogan has failed to do in recent years. The action scenes are so well directed that they still thrill and excite 30 years on. The wonderfully 80s soundtrack is peppered with catchy synth inspired tunes. My favourite scene in the movie is when the Ghostbusters are given a police escort to the final battle underpinned by the “Savin The Day”. Venkman, forever the showman addresses the crowd “Hello New York…” Still gives me goosbumps to this day and I have seen this film over 100 times.
Ghostbusters has given us so much, yes we have a great film and an awesomely catchy song, but the Ghostbusters logo has a whopping 96% brand recognition between 13-54 year old’s*. It is iconic in so many ways, the logo as I mentioned, but beyond that; the car, the stay puft marshmallow man, the proton packs, slimer, the list goes on.
It is as close to a perfect film as you can get. By that I don’t mean that the film is perfect, I mean it more in the sense that it is the perfect film for me. Yes, it is funny and exciting and action packed, all the things that make a film great. Film is very important to me, when I think back to any major events in my life they are, more often than not, connected to film. Ghostbusters is at the forefront of that. One of my earliest cinema memories of going to see this. Me and the lads would watch it after the pub in our youth, it is a film I re-visit whenever I am down, every time I am stuck for something to watch or even just because I haven’t seen it in a while.
If you ask a film fan, a real one, what their favourite film is, it takes the majority of them a while to decide, as it changes all the time. Not for me, while my all time top 10 is always in flux, but my number one will always be Ghostbusters.
As a huge fan of the film, I am genuinely excited to see what Paul Feig and Co have done with the reboot. This a a talented group of actors involved here, SNL alum, just like the original. The back lash against it has been utter ridiculous and because of that alone I am rooting for it to work, but more than that, if this is a success then more people will discover the original and Ghostbusters will live on for another 30 years and beyond.
What happened next? Ghostbusters went on to take nearly $300 million at the worldwide box office. A sequel followed in 1989, as well as two cartoon series, numerous computer games (including a PS3 game that serves as sequel to the films) a few popular comic book runs and loads of merchandise (I have 6 t-shirts, sound track, tie in novel, bobble heads, action figures and so much more in my attic). There were tentative plans for a third film that have never been close before Paul Feig got the current reboot underway when he came on board in 2014. Tomorrow will be the moment of truth as it is release in UK cinemas.
Ghostbusters is released in the UK on 1th July.
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.