Three odd-ball scientists get kicked out of their cushy positions at a university in New York City where they studied the occult. They decide to set up shop in an old firehouse and become Ghost busters, trapping pesky ghosts, spirits, haunts, and poltergeists for money. They wise-crack their way through the city, and stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, one which will release untold evil upon the city. The Ghost busters are called on to save the Big Apple.
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I'll always remember Halloween 1984. I was in grade 4 and I seemed to have been the only person in my school who wasn't dressed up as a Ghost Busters character. At the time I never saw the film and I felt like an outsider because I really didn't get it. They had guns that sprayed electrons to capture ghosts in a chamber? Ghosts that all of a sudden appeared in New York City but no where else in the world? And Bill Murray was a zany scientist while the guy he went to the Army with in Stripes and one of the Blues Brothers were also zany scientists? Then the chick from Alien turns into a Alien? Say what?
Ghost Busters was an international phenomenon. Why? Because it gave us comedy, action and the supernatural all rolled into one. And the movie gave us what is perhaps the greatest musical score ever made in the history of film. I say that because I want anyone to watch this film without it. The movie is flat and the many plot holes get noticed right away. This score was the entire emotion and it works so well, it really made this film the monster hit it was. The score still works today too even though it's really a higher scaled version of 80s Pop music. But it's catchy and most of us will always remember its rhythm and lyrics. And the writer, Ray Parker Jr., has never been heard from again and he's probably living large from his only hit. Another 80s trend. He's the one hit wonder of movie scores.
"There's something strange, in the neighborhood. Who you going to call? Ghost Busters."
Many will argue that this was the birth of a whole new film genre. The film with the big budget summer season special effects, but also the film that really can't be taken all that seriously. Most big budget effect movies are all about a saving the world plot. But Ghost Busters is all about saving a city of ghosts that all of a sudden appear. And it's timely too since this is what these zany scientists are into.
Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd wrote this screenplay and star in the film with Bill Murray. And this is an interesting screenplay to analyze because they basically get away with all of the rules a Robert McKee will tell you not do to. The cornerstones of storytelling are plot, theme and character and Ramis and Aykroyd wrote an action plot, a sci-fi theme and comedic characters. And they got away with it. Mainly because of the score and main song that was written by Ray Parker Jr. takes those genres and finds a musical tone to it.
Ghost Busters is not a tight film. In reality none of it makes much sense. But the comedy makes us laugh and when the action appears it entertains us. And that's really all that matters to most people.
Rick Moranis, playing the accountant neighbor to Sigourney Weaver has perhaps the funniest lines and scenes in the film. He is just the zaniest of all the zany characters. And Weaver just plays everything straight until she turns into the Alien/Ghost or whatever it is. All that matters in the Ghost Busters world is that she's extremely sexy.
Ghost Busters is a film of heightened society likes. It gives us everything but the kitchen sink. Everything except a real story. But that doesn't really matter in a film like this, does it? But it did to me as I was a bit turned off watching it again 25 years after it came out. To me this is classic lazy storytelling with talented performers bringing it above water so it won't drown. This is a film everyone knows about even if they've haven't seen it before. It's part of our pop culture. So they must of done something right.