Ghostbuster Men Vs. Ghostbuster Women
Same Name Different Reception
In 1984 Columbia Pictures released Ghostbusters. This movie made over $291 million worldwide. It spawned an animated series and a sequel. It has become a classic. It has numerous memorable lines such as, “he slimed me.” Columbia Pictures decided to make a reboot with women as the ghostbusters. In July 2016 the reboot opened in American theaters. There were claims that those who didn’t like the movie were sexist. If it was thought such accusations would quiet any negative criticism of the movie there are no signs it worked. There was much harsh criticism of the movie. The movie was a financial success. It earned almost $230 million worldwide. Its budget was $144 million.
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), a college professor, finds out she is being plagiarized. She confronts the plagiarist, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). Abby is working with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to track down ghosts. After some back and forth about whether Abby’s plagiarism was wrong Erin goes with the other women to find a ghost. They find a ghost in the form of a woman. Erin tries to talk to the ghost, which turns into a monster and gives Erin a good sliming. A video with Erin proclaiming they have seen a ghost goes on social media and goes viral. This gets Erin fired from the university.
Since Erin now knows ghosts do exist she joins the other women in their hunt for finding ghosts. Meanwhile Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) employee Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) sees a ghost in a subway tunnel. She reports it to the women and decides she wants to be one of them. The team needs a receptionist. They hire Australian native Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) because of his good looks and he was the only person who applied for the job. It is difficult to say if Kevin was stupid or lazy and stupid.
The first major fight with a ghost takes place at a rock concert where the patrons think it’s all part of the act. Paranormal debunker, Martin Heiss (Bill Murray), declares the incident at the concert a hoax but provides no evidence. The media gives the women the nickname “ghostbusters”. They initially resent the term but eventually embrace it. Federal Agents (Michael Kenneth Williams and Matt Walsh) arrive and bring the ghostbusters to the Mayor (Andy Garcia). The Mayor tells the ghostbusters the government has things under control and their activities are only getting in the way. When paranormal activity returns in full force the Ghostbusters go into action again. There is a long hard fight against all manners of ghosts. Some of the popular ghosts from the original ghostbusters are included in this ghost army.
Many of the cast members of the original “Ghostbusters” made appearances in the movie. This includes Annie Potts who reprised her “What do you want?[i]” in the curt tone of the original movie. None of the original “Ghostbusters” actors played characters from the original movie. In the reboot’s universe there is no indication the events in the original movie happened. The meeting with the mayor did leave an opening for the reboot’s universe to include the events in the original.
There is a lot of banter in the first part of the movie that seems to drag the plot and adds little comedy to the movie. Once the movie gets to actual ghostbusting the tempo seems good and there is a good amount of comedy in the movie. As a stand-alone movie it’s a respectable comedy. As a reboot suffering by comparison is almost inevitable. With a movie like “Ghostbusters” originality is a big advantage, which a reboot wouldn’t have.
[i] This is an English translation of the New York accent she used in the movie.
What do you think of the Ghostbusters reboot?
What do you think of the Ghostbusters reboot?
Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) are professors of the Paranormal Department at a university. Venkman is conducting an ESP experiment ostensibly to test positive and negative reinforcement effects on ESP. A subject gets an electric shock for each wrong answer. The subjects are a male (Steven Tash) and a female student (Jennifer Runyon). Both subjects are making wrong guesses. Venkman gives the man a shock with every wrong answer. He tells the woman she got the right answer. Even when the man finally guessed right Venkman said it was wrong and administered the shock. Venkman’s praise at the woman’s psychic “ability” was an obvious attempt to seduce her, and she was falling for it.
Stantz and Spengler interrupt Venkman so they could investigate a ghost sighting at the New York Public Library. They find a ghost and have no idea what to do. The best Stantz could come up with is to try to rush it. The trio end up rushing out of the building. The effort wasn’t a complete loss since Spengler figured out a way to catch ghosts.
Just as they were about to become famous the university cancelled their grant and closed their department. Venkman decides they should begin a ghostbusting business. Venkman gets Stantz to take out a second and third mortgage on his family house to finance the business venture. They hire a receptionist, Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), and make local television advertisements.
Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) opens her refrigerator to find the inside looks like an ancient temple and a gargoyle inside. She runs out of her apartment. Afraid to go back to her apartment she makes her way to the Ghostbusters. Venkman and Dana go back to the apartment. There wasn’t any evidence of paranormal activity. Venkman was far more interested in seducing Dana then finding paranormal activity.
Peter Venkman wasn’t the only annoying man in her life. Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) was also trying to get her attention. Peter’s persistence gets Dana interested in him. Paranormal intervention causes an unusual “love triangle”.
With Dana as their only customer the Ghostbusters were out of money. They get a call from a hotel that is having problems with a ghost. Janine promises the Ghostbusters will be very discrete. They arrive at the hotel and have it out with a ghost. They are anything but discrete. Soon they have more work than they can handle. They put an add in the newspaper. Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson) answers the add. Janine is interviewing Zeddmore for the position. She gives a laundry list of alleged paranormal events after she asks him if he believed in any of them. Zeddmore tells her he’ll believe in anything if there is a steady paycheck involved. Janine introduces Zeddmore to Stantz as a job applicant. Stantz hires him on the spot and puts him to work.
With their fame and fortune came government attention. Walter Peck (William Atherton) from the Environmental Protection Agency comes by for an inspection. Venkman is uncooperative. Peck comes back armed with a court order. This visit ends with a catastrophe and the Ghostbusters in jail. With strange occurrences happening all over the city the Mayor (David Margulies) calls on the Ghostbusters to save the day. The Ghostbusters face an ancient Samarian god. Stantz unwittingly chooses the form of their nemesis. It is not a form Stantz, or the audience, would ever expect.
The behaviors of Dr. Peter Venkman & Dr. Raymond Stantz are classic Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. This movie was original and zany. It got an Oscar nomination for Best Effects, Visual Effects. It’s theme song “Ghostbusters” also got an Oscar nomination and reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Quotes from the original Ghostbusters
Winston - Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "Yes"!
Peter - Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.
Ray - Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've worked in the private sector. They expect results.
Egon - Not necessarily. There's definitely a very slim chance we'll survive.
© 2018 Robert Sacchi