Ghostbusters 2 – 25 Years Later

Ghostbusters_ii_poster2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the sci-fi comedy classic Ghostbusters. It’s also the 25th anniversary of the much maligned sequel, Ghostbusters 2.

I’ve never understood the geek rage that is directed towards this movie. While it’s not a perfect film, it’s really not that bad. There have been some truly terrible sequels, and it’s not fair to put this film in the same category as the Schumacher Batman films.

I decided to sit down and watch the movie again and really see how it holds up on it’s own. How does the film play 25 years later without the the filter of nostalgia or any bias attached?

The first thing you notice is how much more cartoony this movie is compared to the original. That is saying a lot considering the first movie climaxed with a 60 ft tall marshmallow man. The film opens outside Dana’s apartment with a series of isolated encounters showing angry New Yorkers. It all feels very forced and fake.

We are reintroduced to our Ghostbusters and where they are now, 5 years after the fight with Gozer.

ghostbusters-ii-winston-zeddemore-raymond-stantz-kids-birthday-party-dan-aykroyd-ernie-hudsonRay and Winston are doing birthday parties for kids. This scene stands out, not because of the kids chanting “He-man!” but because nothing in this scene is ever referenced again in the film. In fact, several minutes later we get a second introduction to Ray in his book shop. I guess the party clown gig is just a part time affair he does with Winston. Outside of the party scene, the other introductions are solid entertaining scenes.

Peter’s hosting of “World of the Psychic” is a fun call back to the old Pete from the beginning of the first film. Back when he is more like a game show host. Egon is conducting science experiments on couples who need counseling and Ray is now back at his day job in the book store. Maybe they just didn’t know what to do with Winston.

Ghostbusters_IIOnce the film gets going however things improve quickly. The three of them digging a hole in the street and the courtroom scenes are a lot of fun. The characters are all back and in good form.

The story continues moving at a good pace through the first act and into the second. But as we approach the final act, the wheels start to come off. Everything culminates in an uneven final battle between the Ghostbusters and Vigo. It would be mostly enjoyable, but the Statue of Liberty scene just pushes it into the ridiculous.

ghostbusters-ii-statue-of-libertyThe most disappointing part of the film is not the Statue of Liberty or the silly painting of the four Ghostbusters, but the lack of Elmer Bernstein’s fantastic score from the first movie. It feels like a character is missing without that unique score.

In the end, Ghostbusters 2 is a solid comedic sequel, burdened by an overly cartoonish finale. It doesn’t live up to the standards of the first movie, but considering how high the bar was set by the first movie, I’m not sure any film could live up to it.

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