Ghostbusters Blu-Ray Review: Blooray!

June 16, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

GHOSTBUSTERS BLU-RAY: On General Release Monday 15th June 2009

When Ghostbusters was released in 1984, I was two.

It’s almost inconceivable that this film is 25 years old as it remains just as fresh and funny now as when it was released.

For once it’s not a case of nostalgia mugging me on memory lane, this is the real deal: funny – laden with visual gags as well as fantastic one-liners, exciting, frightening in all the right places and with that unforgettable theme tune by Ray Parker Jr. this is the seminal comedy work of the 80s.

For those of you who haven’t seen it already (shame on you – stop reading this right now and go and buy a copy), scientists Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) and Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) are on the verge of a scientific breakthrough (well, Ray and Egon are, Venkman is more interested in chatting up the girls in his experiments). When they are unceremoniously kicked out of their university for a lack of concrete results, Venkman convinces his cohorts to form the Ghost Busters, hoping to reach an untapped market in the ghost extermination and removal business.

Despite equipping themselves with a dilapidated fire station, a converted ambulance, a sarcastic secretary (Annie Potts) and their ghost-catching proton packs (“each one of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back”), business remains slow until Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) discovers a gateway to another dimension in her fridge and asks them for help. It turns out her entire apartment building was built with the sole purpose of channelling spiritual turbulence and to summon the demi-god Zuul (represented by Gozer – a KD Lang look-alike in a skin-tight leotard). As the amount of spooks increases dramatically, they’re forced to hire a new member, Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson) in order to keep the forces of darkness at bay.

Ghostbusters blends the straight-faced seriousness of the plot with absurdist humour; very few films can get away with the coming apocalypse brought about by a 100 foot marshmallow man. But because it’s completely unapologetic for these flights of fancy and the premise of the film is so inherently ridiculous, you end up getting swept away by them, each new spectacle adding to the charm of the film.

Ridiculous as it is, it’s pulled off with wonderful deadpan comedy due to the superb skills of Aykroyd, Ramis and Murray – Murray honing skills he would use to wonderful effect later on in his career. Most of the humour comes from the characters’ reactions to situations, employing a very subtle physical comedy – a wink, a nod, a slight twitch – all delivered with wonderful chemistry from the three lead characters.

And talk about quotable.

If you stop any movie fan on the street, I guarantee you they’ll be able to quote at least one line from Ghostbusters. Such scripted comedic genius is hard to find and those funny moments will lodge in your brain and never ever get old.

Remarkably for a film a quarter of a century old, most of the special effects actually stand up well. Some of the CGI is a bit ropey (notably on the animated statues), but as it uses special effects to support, not to create an already fantastic plot, these are easy to overlook. The tone of the movie is over the top in any case, so orange and blue lasers don’t seem out of place in the slightest.

Ghostbusters hasn’t aged a day since it was released. It’s still one of the funniest, best crafted comedy movies ever made and showcases Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd at the peak of their powers.

Anyone that says different should be slimed.

Jez Sands

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