When we visited London a few weeks ago, I bought the double disc dvd set of "Ghostbusters" (among other things). It contains "Ghostbusters"(1984) & "Ghostbusters II"(1989). I watched the movies a lot of times when I was younger and I loved them, especially the first one. Why? First of all Bill Murray is a brilliant comedy actor. "Ghostbusters", "Groundhog Day", "Scrooged" and "What about Bob?" are just a few examples of this. His role as Dr. Peter Venkman is iconic. But the rest of the cast is also very good. They seem to bring out the best in each other. Add up the great dialogues and an awesome soundtrack. What's not to like?
When "Ghostbusters" premiered in 1984 it was a huge succes and it was the start of the "Ghostbusters" franchise, which included the sequel in 1989. It also includes two animated series (“The Real Ghostbusters”and “Extreme Ghostbusters”) and several videogames. More than 30 years after The Ghostbusters made their appearance on the big screen, the "Ghostbusters" franchise will make it's return in cinema's this summer with an all-female cast (I seriously don't know what to think about that).
With this in the back of my mind and with the fact that Ernie Hudson is coming to DCC 2016 ,I thought it was time to watch the movies again. As mentioned before, the box I bought in London was a double dvd which contain the movies and a few extras. The small amount of extra's was a little disappointing. Disc 1 contains a (short) featurette, the filmaker's commentary, some storyboards and a photo gallery.
The 10-minute featurette stars Ivan Reitman (writer/director), Dan Akroyd (“Ray”/co-writer) and Harold Ramis (“Spengler”/co-writer). They talk about how the idea for the script came to life and Dan Akroyd even talks about how he believes in paranormal activity. I liked it, but it's very short. The rest of the extras was very disappointing, so I pushed the “play movie” button.
Plot: Three professors in parapsychology get fired from their jobs at the University. They develop their own hight tech equipement, which enables them to catch ghosts and start their own paranormal extermination company: Ghostbusters. At first the whole ghostbustingbusiness does not catch on and the guys sit around in the old firehouse they bought. Then Dana Barett (Sigourney Weaver) seeks their help, because of a paranormal encounter in her fridge.Her appartement turns out to be haunted by a demi god named Zuul. As paranormal activity in New York keeps increasing they have to hire a fourth member for their team (Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore) to cope with the demand. This is the beginning of a great adventure that will push the Ghostbusters to their limits.
When we met Ernie Hudson, at Facts last year, we attended his Q&A. Obviously he talked about his role as Winston.
He also talked about how Winston originally was part of the team from the beginning. He had an Air Force background and Hudson rehearsed with the three others for a few weeks before the start of filming. But the night before they started filming, Hudson got a new script. Instead of being in the team from the start, Winston would come in a while after the Ghostbusters-team was established. Also his whole character background was gone. He pleaded to get his equal status back, but it was useless. The reason for this was that the studio wanted to make "Ghostbusters" a star vehicle for Bill Murray. By pushing Peter Venkman's character to the front, they could cash in from Murray's starpower. Hudson also said he has no regret taking the role of Winston in spite of this incident. He loved to be part of this classic movie.
Knowing this now and not having seen the movie for many years, the first thing I noticed watching the movie is the fact that Egon, Peter and Ray take the spotlight in the movie and Winston is put in their shadow. I never noticed this before. Hudson is also not credited as a main character and I think that is shame.
All this aside I loved watching "Ghostbusters" again and Bill Murray is great as, the sometimes impossible, Peter Venkman. The chemistry between Murray and Sigourney Weaver is great and I love their scenes together. Sure with all the possibilities we have now, the special effects look kind of crappy, but they are actually pretty good (the film was shot in the 80's). "Ghostbusters" really is a classic and I immediately wanted to watch "Ghostbusters II" and so I did.
When we meet up with our heroes (five years after the events of the first movie) we learn that their popularity declined real quick. The city sued them for all the damage and Ghostbusters is out of business. We see Ray and Winston making an appearance at a children's party where the children don't even seem to know them. Egon is working at the university. Peter has a TV show about the psychic world and interviews a woman who says the world will come to an end February 14th 2016 (well we dodged that bullet). Also we see Ray is running an occult book shop in the city. Dana and Peter separated and Dana got married (and divorced) and had a son. After the babycarriage of her son is overtaken by an unknown power she seeks the help of Egon and Ray. Ofcourse Peter finds out and together they discover a river of pink slime running underneath the city. This pink slime seems to be related to a painting of a 16th century tyrrant named Vigo, who wants to come back to life and take over the world at NY eve. By investigating samples of the slime, Egon Ray and Winston discover the slime reacts to emotions. In the meantime Peter is hoping to win over Dana with diner. When Vigo kidnaps Dana's son to use his body to come back to life, the slime takes over the museum. This is the beginning of a race against time and the autorities to save the city from disaster.
I enjoyed watching this movie again (I hadn't watched it in a long time) and I especially love the fact that Winston's role is bigger in the sequel, because Ernie Hudson really is a great actor. I think the script is not as good as the first one and some parts are a little far fetched.
The extras on the second disc consist of 2 episodes of “The Real Ghostbusters” (animated series). I used to watch this when I was younger and it was nice to watch it again.
All in all I can say the "Ghostbusters" movies are still great to watch and in my opinion the first movie is a true classic!