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Customer Review

on 15 March 2006
Ghostbusters was a huge hit back in 1984, and the ubiquitous presence of Ray Parker, Jr.'s theme song was a seemingly nonstop presence on the radio for months and months – I'm still trying to get that silly song, which seemed awfully cool at the time, out of my head. I was a kid when the film was released, so it's no surprise the film was funnier to me then than it is now, but Ghostbusters has actually aged fairly well. Typified by Bill Murray's deadpan manner, the humor here is all about delivery and timing and atmosphere. It appears as if Bill Murray is making up at least half of his lines as he goes along, which means he is in top form. Dan Aykroyd plays second fiddle in the lineup, but Aykroyd has always played a mean second fiddle. I wouldn't be able to identify Harold Ramis by name just by watching him perform, but he's definitely a full-fledged member of the Ghostbusters comedy tri-fecta (not to mention co-writer with Aykroyd), which actually becomes a foursome midway through the film with the addition of Ernie Hudson. I still can't say I care for Sigourney Weaver all that much, but she certainly adds something to the film as the guys' first customer, the object of Dr. Venkman's (Murray) affections, and eventually the conduit for Zuul's incarnation into the world of man. Supporting actors? Ghostbusters has you covered with Annie Potts as the Ghostbusters receptionist and Rick Moranis as the rather hapless Louis Tully. Up until his possession by a demonic dog, Moranis still seems to exude a little of his Bob McKenzie persona (although he does not imbibe copious amounts of beer or utter the word "hoser" a single time).
As far as I know, Ghostbusters is the only film in which the Environmental Protection Agency comes very close to causing the end of the world. Everything's going great until EPA agent Walter Peck (William Atherton) shows up at Ghostbusters HQ and accuses the guys of storing hazardous waste on the premises – which eventually results in the shutdown of the ghost storage system and, in short order, ghostly anarchy all across New York City. Things had looked gloomy early on when Dr. Venkman (Murray), Stantz (Aykroyd), and Spengler (Ramis) lost their university positions and research grants, but three mortgages later they had landed on their feet with the formation of their unique ghostbusting business. Sure, one could question the legality of atomic-powered backpacks and untested laser-like weapons that could theoretically give time and space the mother of all hiccoughs, but there's no question that they did get the job done. Even if it means getting slimed by some pesky green monsters, the guys soon gain national exposure by effectively putting poltergeists and disagreeable spirits out of business. Then the EPA comes along, releases of all the trapped troublemakers into an atmosphere already saturated with very bad vibes, and the next thing you know ancient Sumerian demons are moving into penthouse apartments and laying plans for hell on earth.
Obviously, the entire story is played for laughs, from the silly sliming hijinx of the ghosts to Murray's indubitably subtle style of non-serious intellectualism. You can't even take Dr. Veckman seriously as a scientist, as he's more concerned with picking up chicks than actually learning anything – until his newest love interest starts hovering four feet above her bed. That's sort of a wake-up call.
Admittedly, all of this craziness was funnier when I was twenty years younger than I am now, but Ghostbusters has actually aged extremely well – even in terms of the special effects. Vintage comedy never goes out of style, and that’s why most of us, for decades to come, will be incapable of thinking anything other than "Ghostbusters" whenever we hear the words "Who you gonna call?" and cannot help but laugh whenever anyone happens to utter the phrase, "Yes, it's true."
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