Ghostbusters Movie Review Essay, Research Paper
I Ain’t Afraid of no Ghost!
The true test of a film’s greatness is time. The 1984 science-fiction/comedy classic, Ghostbusters, has stood the test of time, producing both a sequel (in 1989) and a hit cartoon series. Ghostbusters is the story of three offbeat scientists interested in paranormal matters: Peter Venkman (played by Bill Murray), Raymond Stanz (played by Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (played by Harold Ramis), who have just lost their university grant, and are suddenly forced out onto the streets of New York. What will they do now to survive? After taking a third mortgage out on Ray’s family home, Peter, Ray, and Egon decide to pursue the idea of catching and containing ghosts in the private sector. Their business, fittingly named: “Ghostbusters”, starts out slow, but quickly the word spreads of their ghost investigation and extraction services. Within seemingly no time at all, the Ghostbusters are a hot commodity in New York where ghost activity is on the rise.
The movie follows the three Ghostbusters, as well as Sigourney Weaver’s character: Dana Barrett. Dana Barrett is not only the Ghostbusters’ first customer, but also a dating prospect for Peter Venkman. Woven into the film Ghostbusters are three plots (one main, and two subplots). The main plot of the film is the Ghostbusters trying to figure out the cause of the massive increase of ghost activity in New York lately, and the two subplots being: 1.) The love story between Venkman and Barrett, and 2.) The attempt made by the Environmental Protection Agency to shut down the Ghostbusters.
The movie climaxes with the mayor of New York calling upon the Ghostbusters to rid the city of the cause of all the recent ghost activity: a demolition-God named: “Gozer”. During their encounter with “Gozer”, the Ghostbusters are asked to choose what form the destructor of New York will be. Ray thinks of a childhood memory and the choice is made. The famous Ray Stantz quote: “I tried to think of the one thing that would never ever hurt us…the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man.” Needless to say, the final showdown between the Ghostbusters, and a 500-foot tall marshmallow man sent by Gozer to destroy New York is extremely entertaining, with an exciting conclusion.
The real joy of Ghostbusters is the comic interaction between the three (and later four) Ghostbusters. The well-written script by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis gives each character a distinct, sharp, and intelligent personality. Of course, a great script without great actors is useless. This is not a worry in Ghostbusters where the acting by the entire cast is excellent. Bill Murray as Dr. Venkman is probably the most likeable of the four Ghostbusters with his constant off the wall antics, and comic relief. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis give equally impressive performances, but the nature of their characters leaves them as supporting cast for Murray. Sigourney Weaver does well in her role as Dana Barrett, but it is her neighbor in the movie: Louis Tully (played by Rick Moranis) that really highlights most of the scenes with her in it. Moranis plays a nerdy tax accountant wonderfully, and provides for many laughs throughout the film. Also noteworthy in the film Ghostbusters are the incredible special effects by Richard Edlund. Even today, more than sixteen years since the first release of Ghostbusters, the special effects are still impressive.
With an excellent story, a top notch cast of actors, and some quality special effects, Ghostbusters is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a hilarious and enjoyable way to spend around an hour and a half of their day. Also, since it is rated PG, this is a movie that both kids and adults alike can enjoy. It is no wonder in my mind why Ghostbusters is an American film classic; it has a little something for everyone.
Ghostbusters: Columbia Pictures Industries, (1984). Directed by Ivan Reitman. Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis. Rated PG. Running time: 107 minutes. $18.99 on DVD.