The original Ghostbusters is probably one of my all-time favorite movies. Its hilarious dialogue is still frequently quoted by family and friends alike. And, amazingly, the film still holds up after over 25 years. Five years later Ghostbusters II came out. I was very excited. The whole gang was back again and more sci-fi zaniness would ensue.
Only, not so much.
Compared to the first one, this effort just struck me as boring, predictable, and just lame. I felt so let down by the whole experience that I cursed the name of Reitman for some time. At least a couple of weeks.*
Then I watched it again when it came to video. Hey, maybe I missed something. Maybe I was reacting to a bad movie hot dog or something at the time. I was older now, more refined. Maybe I’d like it better now.
Nope. Same reaction as before. Lame, lame, lame, lame, lame, lame, lame…**
But, over the years, I’d find myself inexplicably quoting from the darn thing…
“Everything you are doing is bad. I want you to know this.”
“Viggy, Viggy, Viggy, you have been a bad monkey!”
“Go… yes, I think; go… the joyfulness is over!”
“You know, I’m a voter. Aren’t you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?”
“You’re short, your bellybutton sticks out too far, and you’re a terrible burden on your poor mother.”
“Oh, come on. There’s always room for Jell-O!”
If it was so lame, why the earworms? So I sat down with the Princess (aka my loverly wife) and watched it again for the first time in over ten years.
And, while it didn’t set the world on fire, and is demonstrably a lesser movie than the original, it still had a bit of charm. In fact, I kind of dug it.
Sure, the whole walking Statue of Liberty thing was a bit forced. The ending with the beautific Ghostbusters in the painting was a bit nonsensical and lame. And while the premise that after five years the boys were out of business due to lawsuits and such was pretty classic, the idea that folks thought that they were frauds after the very public events of the first movie is a little hard to swallow. Nevertheless, there’s still a bit of magic in the old bird.
Most of that magic is due to Peter MacNicol. His performance as Janosz Poha, the wacky art preservationist from the upper west side possessed by the will of Vigo, really makes the movie…which is one reason why I think I was disappointed the first few go-rounds. He is so good and my guys (Aykroyd–Ramis–Murray) fell a bit flat.
So, on further reflection, I no longer sing the lame song when I hear about Ghostbusters II. I’m now an older, much wiser, geek.
Apparently the nice folks over at Tor.com already did this entry…and far better than me. Oh, well…
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