REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (The Boss)
Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
Kate McKinnon (Masterminds)
Leslie Jones (Trainwreck)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Neil Casey (Fort Tilden)
Andy Garcia (The Unsaid)
Cecily Strong (The Bronze)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Michael K. Williams (Gone Baby Gone)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Katie Dippold (The Heat)
Jessica Chaffin (Spy)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
Justin Kirk (Goats)

Physicists Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) are co-authors of a research book which posits the existence of paranormal phenomena such as ghosts. Erin has disowned the work and become a professor at Columbia University, while Abby continues to study the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). Erin learns Abby has republished the book, threatening her bid for tenure at Columbia. She reunites with Abby and, in exchange for Abby removing the book from publication, reluctantly agrees to assist her and Jillian in a paranormal investigation.

The group witness a malevolent ghost (Bess Rous), renewing Erin’s belief in the paranormal. However, a video of their investigation is posted online, and Erin is denied tenure. She joins Abby and Jillian’s project, but when a new institute director learns its nature, he fires them. They open an office above a Chinese restaurant and call themselves the “Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination.” They build equipment to study and capture ghosts, and hire dimwitted but handsome Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth) as a receptionist.

MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) witnesses a ghost in a subway line and contacts the group. They document the ghost and successfully test Jillian’s proton containment laser, but their findings are again dismissed. They continue to develop their technology and advertise their services as what pundits have dubbed the “Ghostbusters”. Patty joins the team, providing historical knowledge of New York City and a repurposed hearse, “Ecto-1”.

Unbeknownst to them, the ghosts are being summoned by devices built by Rowan North (Neil Casey), an occultist and mad scientist attempting to bring about the “apocalypse”. When Rowan plants another device at a live music venue, the Ghostbusters are called in and capture the ghost in front of the audience. When supernatural debunker Dr. Martin Heiss (Bill Murray) challenges the Ghostbusters, the incensed Erin releases the ghost as proof; it throws Heiss out a window before escaping. The Ghostbusters are brought to see Mayor Bradley (Andy García) and his loyal secretary, Jennifer Lynch (Cecily Strong), who reveals that the city and the Department of Homeland Security are aware of New York’s ghost problem. While privately supporting the team’s work, the mayor’s office and DHS publicly denounce them as fraudsters.

The Ghostbusters realize Rowan is planting his devices along ley lines which intersect at the Mercado Hotel in Times Square, a site with a history of paranormal activity, and discover Rowan building a portal to the ghost dimension in the hotel basement. To avoid capture, Rowan deliberately electrocutes himself to death, after which Jillian deactivates the portal. Erin discovers a copy of her and Abby’s book among Rowan’s possessions, and realizes that he killed himself so that he could become a ghost and command a spirit army. Rowan returns as a powerful ghost, possessing Abby and then Kevin. As Kevin, he opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts. The police and DHS are quickly subdued, but the Ghostbusters fight through the army of ghosts to reach the portal.

Rowan takes the form of the ghost in the Ghostbusters’ logo, grows to enormous height, and attacks the city. The team devises a plan to use Ecto-1’s nuclear reactor to close the portal and return the ghosts to their own dimension. The plan succeeds, but Rowan drags Abby into the portal with him; Erin leaps into the portal and rescues her. The mayor’s office agrees to secretly fund the Ghostbusters’ research while continuing to publicly denounce them as frauds. With new funding, the Ghostbusters move to a better facility, a disused fire house. Despite the mayoral smear campaign, New York lights up with thanks and tributes to the Ghostbusters. In a post credits scene, Patty listens to a recording of a ghost encounter and asks the others if they have heard of Zuul.

Don’t listen to the trolls. This was a great re-make of the original classic. The leading ladies did a great job and introduced their own personalities to the parts. The story includes some interesting backstory of the character’s history and how they met. The added details make the characters more interesting. Kate did a fantastic job with the “mad scientist” role. The cameos by some familiar faces was an added bonus. But it would’ve been nice for Slimer to have a bigger role. Overall the movie was funny and entertaining. Would definitely recommend it.

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS II

 

CAST

Harold Raimis (Year One)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Rick Moranis (Spaceballs)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of SHIELD)
Harris Yullin (Training Day)
David Margulies (Ace Ventura)
Kurt Fuller (The Good Wife)
Wilhelm von Homburg (Stroszek)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)

After saving New York City from the demi-god Gozer, the Ghostbusters—Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore—were sued by several city and state agencies for the property damage. Rather than face financial ruin, they accepted a restraining order barring them from operating as paranormal investigators and eliminators—forcing them out of business. In the eyes of the city, they are now considered frauds.

Five years later, Ray owns an occult bookstore and works as an unpopular children’s entertainer with Winston; Egon has returned to Columbia University to conduct experiments into human emotion; and Peter hosts a pseudo-psychic television show. Peter’s former girlfriend Dana Barrett has had a son, Oscar, with a violinist whom she married then divorced when he received an offer to join the London Symphony Orchestra. In order to take care of her baby, Dana quit performing and now works as a restorer at the fictional Manhattan Museum of Art, working to prepare a malevolent-looking portrait of a legendary sixteenth-century tyrant named Vigo the Carpathian of Moldavia for an upcoming exhibition. After an incident in which Oscar’s baby carriage is controlled by an unseen force and drawn to a busy intersection, Dana turns to the Ghostbusters for help. Meanwhile, Dana’s colleague Dr. Janosz Poha has become increasingly obsessed with the glowering image of Vigo in the painting and falls under its spell. Vigo, whose spirit inhabits the painting, orders Janosz to locate a child that he can possess, allowing him to return to life on the New Year. Janosz, infatuated with Dana, offers to bring baby Oscar to Vigo in exchange for Dana, a deal which Vigo accepts.

The Ghostbusters’ investigation leads them to illegally excavate First Avenue at the point where the baby carriage stopped. Lowered underneath, Ray discovers a vast river of pink slime filling an abandoned pneumatic transit line. Attacked by the slime after obtaining a sample, Ray causes a city-wide blackout by accidentally kicking a cast iron pipe that breaks, falls, and shorts out an electric cable. After this, the Ghostbusters are arrested by the NYPD. Ineffectually defended by Louis Tully, they are found guilty of violating the restraining order by Judge Wexler, aka “The Hammer.” Before they are taken to Riker’s Island, Wexler angrily berates them. In response, the slime recovered by Ray and taken as evidence explodes, releasing the ghosts of two murderers that the judge had condemned to death that proceed to devastate the courtroom. The Ghostbusters capture the ghosts in return for the cancellation of the restraining order.

Later, the slime invades Dana’s apartment via the bathtub and attacks her and Oscar. She seeks refuge with Peter, and the two begin to renew their relationship. Investigating the ‘psychomagnatheric’ slime and Vigo’s history, the Ghostbusters discover that it reacts to emotions; it can be charged positively or negatively. They suspect that it has been generated by the negative attitudes of New Yorkers. While Peter and Dana have dinner together, Egon, Ray, and Winston explore the underground river of slime. While measuring its depth, Winston gets pulled into the slime flow, and Ray and Egon jump in after him. After they escape back to the surface Ray and Winston begin an angry argument, but Egon realizes that they are being influenced by the slime, so they strip off their clothes. They also learn the river is flowing underground directly to the museum where Dana works.

The Ghostbusters go to the mayor with their suspicions, but are dismissed; the mayor’s assistant, Jack Hardemeyer, has them committed to a psychiatric hospital to protect the mayor’s campaign for governor. Meanwhile, a spirit resembling Janosz as a nanny kidnaps Oscar from Peter’s apartment, and Dana pursues them to the museum alone. After she enters, the museum is covered with a cocoon of impenetrable slime. New Year’s Eve sees a sudden increase of supernatural activity as the slime rises from the subway line and onto the city streets, causing widespread paranormal activity with ghosts attacking citizens. In response, the mayor fires Hardemeyer and has the Ghostbusters released. After heading to the museum, they are unable to breach the slime barrier with their proton packs. Determining that they need a powerful symbol to rally the citizens and weaken the slime, the Ghostbusters use positively charged mood slime and a remix of “Higher and Higher” to animate the Statue of Liberty and pilot it through the streets before the cheering crowds. As they arrive at the museum, the slime begins to recede and they use the Statue’s flaming torch to break through a skylight to attack Vigo and Janosz.

Janosz is neutralized with positively charged mood slime, but Vigo immobilizes the Ghostbusters and attempts to transfer into Oscar’s body. The positive feelings accompanying a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” by the citizens outside weakens Vigo, returning him to the painting and freeing the Ghostbusters. Vigo momentarily possesses Ray, and the other Ghostbusters attack him with a combination of proton streams and positively charged mood slime. This destroys Vigo and changes the painting to a likeness of the four Ghostbusters standing protectively around Oscar. Outside, the Ghostbusters receive a standing ovation from the crowd and, at a later ceremony to restore the Statue, the Key to the City from the mayor.Ghostbusters II hasn’t been particularly well-received, even despite its more family-friendly tone and message about the folly of mean-spiritedness. But it’s just a good sequel, nonetheless, not bad, not superior to the original, maybe on par with the original, but it’s just really good fun.

REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

CAST

Harold Raimis (Year One)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Rick Moranis (Spaceballs)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
David Margulies (Ace Ventura)
Casey Kasem (Transformers)
Reginald VelJohnson (Family Matters)

Parapsychologists Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, and Egon Spengler are called to the New York Public Library to investigate recent paranormal activity. They encounter the ghost of a dead librarian but are frightened away when she transforms into a horrifying monster. After losing their jobs at Columbia University, the trio establish a paranormal investigation and elimination service known as “Ghostbusters”. They develop high-tech equipment capable of capturing ghosts and open their business in a disused, run-down firehouse. Egon warns them never to cross the energy streams of their proton pack weapons, as this could cause a catastrophic explosion. They capture their first ghost, Slimer, at a hotel and deposit it in a specially built containment unit in the firehouse basement. As paranormal activity increases in New York City, they hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore, to cope with demand.

The Ghostbusters are retained by cellist Dana Barrett, whose apartment is haunted by a demonic spirit, Zuul, a demigod worshiped as a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, a Sumerian shape-shifting god of destruction. Venkman takes a particular interest in the case, and competes with Dana’s neighbor, accountant Louis Tully, for her affections. As the Ghostbusters investigate, Dana is demonically possessed by Zuul, which declares itself the “Gatekeeper”, and Louis by a similar demon, Vinz Clortho, the “Keymaster”. Both demons speak of the coming of the destructive Gozer and the release of the imprisoned ghosts, and the Ghostbusters take steps to keep the two apart.
Walter Peck (William Atherton), a lawyer representing the Environmental Protection Agency, has the Ghostbusters arrested for operating unlicensed waste handlers and orders their ghost containment system deactivated, causing an explosion that releases hundreds of ghosts. The ghosts wreak havoc throughout the city while Louis/Vinz advances toward Dana/Zuul’s apartment. Their romantic encounter opens the gate and transforms them into supernatural hounds. Consulting blueprints of Dana’s apartment building, the Ghostbusters learn that mad doctor and cult leader Ivo Shandor, claiming humanity was too sick to survive after World War I, designed the building as a gateway to summon Gozer and bring about the end of the world.

The Ghostbusters are released from custody to combat the supernatural crisis, but after reaching the roof of Dana’s building, they are unable to prevent the arrival of Gozer, who appears in the form of a woman. Briefly subdued by the team, Gozer disappears, but her voice echoes that the “destructor” will follow, taking a form chosen by the team. Ray inadvertently recalls a beloved corporate mascot from his childhood—”something that could never, ever possibly destroy us”— and the destructor arrives in the form of a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and attacks the city. The Ghostbusters cross their proton pack energy streams (reversing the particle flow) and fire them against Gozer’s portal; the explosion defeats the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and frees Dana and Louis. As thousands of New Yorkers wipe themselves free of marshmallow, the Ghostbusters are welcomed on the street as heroes.There is no set definition of the word “classic” but I’m sure this film qualifies as such or will in the near future, since it was so unique and popular….and remains so today, over 20 years old later. It’s just one of those films that you remember seeing when it came out at the theaters. I doubt if anyone has forgotten the catchy theme song, either. Despite numerous viewings, I still find this very funny as I suspect many people do, because it entertains so well. I know the story is ludicrous and I don’t believe for one second in ghosts so I ignore the “theology” and just laugh at Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson.  Murray, as he tends to do, grabs the spotlight more than the rest and delivers more laughs than any of the cast but my favorite was Moranis as the nerdy “Louis Tully.” I wish his role had been bigger. All the guys, however, plus Sigourney Weaver, the love interest of Murray’s, are fun.A true classic.