Ghostbusters II turns 25 today

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I know this isn’t a common opinion, but I always loved Ghostbusters II.

I think by simply existing as a sequel to the first movie, the odds were already stacked against it. The first Ghostbusters was a unique gem and something in a class of it’s own- a sci-fi comedy with elements of horror and suspense. Shouldn’t it have been left alone? Is nothing sacred? Isn’t Bill Murray right about sequels always being a bad idea?

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Not according to Ivan Reitman, Dan Akroyd and the late Harold Ramis.

It’s hard to create a sequel that retains the spirit of the first movie without being an exact retread of the first film (see: Home Alone II, The Hangover 2) and to many people, Ghostbusters II is exactly that. The guys band together and once again save the world from complete destruction at the hands of a paranormal entity residing in New York City. I guess I was having too much fun to really notice. The movie took everything that the first one did and made it bigger. The effects, the budget, the music, the action sequences. The pink slime flooding the city and generating angry spirits throughout the city brought a feeling of dread to a movie that was pretty light on it’s feet. If the frequent appearance of screaming severed heads and a re-risen Titanic didn’t paint the picture of the apocalypse, consider that at the center of the pink slime was a terrifying warlord kept alive within an equally terrifying painting.

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Maybe this is why my Ghostbusters II VHS saw more action than the first movie did when I was young. Ghostbusters II was like an amped-up, high budget music video constantly tickling the senses of a hyper-active child.  The stronger points of the first movie were built around original concepts, a sharp script and surprisingly witty humor. GB II retains the spirit of the first one by not cutting back on sight gags or dry quips from Murray and Ramis but many of these moments are mowed over by a musical montage of action sequences dripping with traditional special effects …some of which still look pretty cool today.

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So I suppose I can’t blame the majority of the world for choosing the more adult, more original Ghostbusters film. The 1984 original still holds up, it’s absolutely hilarious and it’s one of the most charming and original films ever made. I’m not saying the sequel is better, I’m simply saying that it earned it’s proton packs. Billy Murray’s Venkman pretending to be a construction worker and yelling at the police or Dan Akroyd’s Ray asking Egon if he owned any toys as a child.

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We had part of a slinky. But I straightened it.

Moments like these keep the spirit of the first movie, despite them being more scarce. I may not laugh as frequently throughout the sequel but I will continue to smile when the boys take control of a supernaturally charged Statue of Liberty with a Nintendo NES Advantage controller as the entirety of New York City sings along to “Higher and Higher”.

…and come on, how about that Bobby Brown track?

 

 

 

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Matthew Morin

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