181 - Ghostbusters (1984)

Three failed doctors catch ghosts around New York.

When Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) are kicked out of Columbia University, they set up their own paranormal extermination service in an unused fire station in New York City. There the trio begin removing ghosts from various locations, storing them in a secure location beneath their offices.

Meanwhile, Venkman meets Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) who has her own ghost problems. Rather than solving them, Venkman decides to try and fight for her love despite her showing little interest.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Since being released in the mid-1980's, Ghostbusters became an instant comedy classic. Featuring countless one-liners and a set of geeks who earn celebrity status from nothing, the movie was an instant hit with families and film nuts alike.

The success of the movie hinges rather precariously on Bill Murray. Clearly as the leader of the Ghostbusters his character was always going to be the most important, and the non-chemistry with Sigourney Weaver was important but it is his deadpan humour that often fills the screen with humorous lines - and he pulls it off expertly.

Humour aside though and there is really nothing to Ghostbusters. Why are the ghosts there in the first place? What is their purpose? I could fully understand the invasion of Dana's flat from a storyline point of view, but how is this relative at all to the original ghosts?

The film also feels very rushed. The Ghostbusters rise to fame is astronomically quick, and before long the film goes from having a few ghosts into a full scale invasion. Within a few weeks of the Ghostbusters being kicked out of their cushy teaching jobs and they've defeated the ghosts and kept their celebrity status. The storyline would have benefited from giving a few ghosts some distinct personalities and scaling the story in a more realistic manner.

 It is disappointing, because Bill Murray is simply superb but the storyline kinks are just bizarre. Murray does, however, save the film from its seemingly inevitable oblivion.


  1. I was a wee tyke when I saw this one, which explains my failure to see any of the problems you've outlined. Another one that needs to be rewatched, with some brand new perspective too.


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