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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Weekend TV Movie Review: Ghostbusters II (1989), Channel 4

Ghostbusters II
Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson
Genre: Supernatural Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $215 million 

Plot: The discovery of a massive river of ectoplasm and resurgence of spectral activity allows the crew of Ghostbusters to revive the business  

'A Conflicted Follow Up That Doesn't Work Quite As Well As The Prequel'

Ghostbusters II opened to mixed reviews but also it generated over $200 million, worldwide in cinemas way back in 1989. I used to enjoy this movie as a child and thought it was fun to see the likes of Venkman and Spengler bust out their proton packs and blast those ghosts to smithereens. Watching Ghostbusters II again for the first time and as an adult, this is a rather conflicted sequel, which though it is more comedy -driven, especially dialogue-wise, in turn, the execution of it, for a few moments, it should have been a whole lot better.

It has the special effects, the comedy, the humour, but the writing and the story isn't particularly that good, in fact, it's not that interesting and the sharpness that was present in the first film is not here. The individual story lines with Dana, the baby and the pink goo and Janine and Rick Moranis's characters could have been a whole lot more amusing and mysterious. 

An evil spirit that lurks in a painting wants Dana's baby, in order to reborn again - which sounds rather intriguing, but the execution of it was rather underwhelming and failed to transpire in a way that was exciting and made it more intriguing. 

I would have liked to have seen the Ghostbusters tackling other ghosts, besides Dana's and so in not having them focus on her situation and in concentrating defeating other ghosts in New York, this would have offered more to the film. I also didn't care for the other mayor character, and it felt like they were rehashing that same storyline from the first film with the man from the EPA, but with the mayor's campaign manager instead. 

The writing and approach to Ghostbusters 2 is far too tame and light- not that I am suggesting it should veer more towards R-rated territory-, but that it lacked real gusto when it was expected. The characters themselves are not particularly interesting, and that is another big problem with Ghostbusters 2: without good characterisation and characters you want to invest interest in, care and like, the film falters also. The story by two of the stars of the movie, Ackroyd and Ramis isn't up to scratch and its potential is never fully realised. The tone for Ghostbusters 2 is also off, conflicted at most and irregular, though the film is just about saved by Ivan Reitman's direction. Had it not been for Reitman, Ghostbusters 2 would be even more forgettable.  

It doesn't do anything particularly wrong outright, rather the risks should have been a lot bigger, bolder and edgier. 

Murray, in particular, was very vocal in his distaste for this film and The Real Ghostbusters animated series got so much right that this movie sequel didn't manage to do, and thoroughly also. 

Final Verdict:

This is a very patchy sequel and for a comedy, it just didn't seem to be all that funny. The tone of the film, as messy as it was, veered too much on the dark side and the material that is on hand is not sequel worthy.

It's funny that the cartoon series nailed everything right, - and that came out before this film. With this movie, it's not a completely dire follow-up, but nonetheless, despite the performances, Ghostbusters II just never made the desired impact it was supposed to do. 

At best, it is an okay effort - yet simply put, it never lives up to the original.


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