Tuesday, 6 March 2007
Ghostbusters; fantasy comedy, USA, 1984; D: Ivan Reitman, S: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts
New York. A ghost appears in a library, offering a perfect inspection ground for three Columbia University parapsychology professors; Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler. After coming in contact, the ghost becomes angry the three heroes get scared and run away. When they return to the University, they find they have been kicked out. Still, Egon calculates they can capture a ghost, so they go on to open their own business as the Ghostbusters. At first, there is almost no demand for them, but one day, after they catch a green ghost in a hotel, their business blossoms. Peter even falls in love with their client, Dana Barrett, who reported a strange encounter in her refrigerator. Then Gozer, an evil Babylonian god, takes her body. After a big showdown, the Ghostbusters cross proton beams and cause an explosion that seals away the door of Gozer's dimension, thus freeing Dana.
"Ghostbusters" contains one contradiction for today's Hollywood influenced audience - it is a hit that is as good as the money it earned at the box office. The film's exceptional success, that placed it as one of the most popular and prominent movie icons of the 80s, can be tracked down to its handling of the ever popular paranormal themes, but indirectly also to the unusual, funny way that that those themes were presented by actors and screenwriters Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who went into the territory - blend between pure horror and pure comedy - that was rarely touched before. The structure and direction of the story could have been more inventive - actually, the animated cult series "The Real Ghostbusters" from '86 contained such original ideas that they almost overshadowed the original film, like in the episode where the Ghostbusters had to fight ghosts in a space station or in Japan - but despite any serious complaint the film is still excellent for its unbelievable, sheer energy and clever fun. Unlike other comedies for the masses, here the heroes are actually intellectuals, educated individuals who use their knowledge to analyze the situations. From the exposition in which Peter is in an experiment giving such electric shocks to a student that he at one point drops his gum from the mouth, through the TV host who asks Ray a unique question ("Have you seen Elvis?") up to the female ghost that gives an invisible fellatio to Ray in his bed, the film proves to be an exceptionally all-encompassing comedy and Ray Parker Jr.'s song "Ghostbusters" that won a BAFTA is perfect, thus the story dared to be courageous, proving to have subversive satirical stabs at religion, rhythm, a hilarious Bill Murray, natural gradation of gags and - spirit.