With Ghostbusters about to get the Hollywood reboot treatment on July 15th and inevitable cinematic universe. I decided to revisit the films that started it all, Ghostbusters (1984) and its sequel Ghostbusters II (1989). Check out my review of Ghostbusters (1984). This is the review for Ghostbusters II (1989). The sequel sees the return of Ghostbusters (1984) stars Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as the titular Ghostbusters with Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and Rick Moranis returning in supporting roles as well.
The film picks up five years later as the Ghostbusters have disbanded due to lawsuits as of the result of the first film’s finale. Peter Venkman is now a snarky TV Host of a hack physic show, Egon Spengler does research on human emotions at Colombia University, while Ray Stantz joins Winston Zeddemore to do children’s parties dressed in their Ghostbusters regalia while running an occult bookstore. Dana Barrett is now an art restorer for the New York Metropolitan Art Museum and a single mother of Oscar her toddler son. Her son now is the target of paranormal activity. In the meantime Dana seeks the advice of Egon Spengler. Egon recruits Ray to investigate but careful not to let Peter know since Peter and Dana have had a prior relationship that may have not ended well. Peter forces Ray to reveal Dana Barrett is the subject of their new investigation. The Ghostbusters come to her aid in researching the occurrences. Meantime a painting at the museum begins to show signs of paranormal activity. The Ghostbusters investigation leads them to drill into the street to discover a river of slime under the city leading to the art museum. The painting of Viggo enlists Dana’s boss Janosz (Peter MacNicol) to find him a baby to possess and walk the earth once more. The child he seeks is Oscar. During their drilling the Ghostbusters accidentally take out the power in the city. The Ghostbusters now find themselves on trial for blacking out the city and causing destruction only to be represented by Louis Tully (Rick Moranis). The slime is used as evidence and is hyperactive to emotions. The Judge gives his verdict angrily as the slime reacts by conjuring two now deceased convicts previously sentenced to death by the judge as ghosts. The ghosts terrorize the courtroom and in order for the Ghostbusters to intervene the Judge reluctantly drops all charges. The Ghostbusters are now back in business. More and more paranormal occurrences take place that lead the Ghostbusters to believe its all leading to a major event. The Ghostbusters go to the Mayor to reveal their research only to find themselves committed to a psychiatric hospital by the sleazily assistant to the Mayor. When the ghost appearances get increasingly frequent and worse, the Mayor asks for the Ghostbusters only to find they have been wrongfully committed by his assistant. After firing his assistant he frees the Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters square off with Viggo The Carpathian to save New York and Oscar’s soul.
The performances are superb as expected with Murray a standout as always, exuding his trademark snarky charm per usual as Peter Venkman. Peter MacNicol’s performance as Janosz is delightfully entertaining. The comedic chemistry and timing between the cast is so fluid . The special effects are great for its time and for the most part still stand up today save for a few scenes of the art museum covered in slime or Viggo attempting to overtake Oscar’s body. Its able to balance comedy and the supernatural horror which has some scarier scenes without one overwhelming the other. There are some issues story wise that can be explained away like the public forgetting of the Ghostbusters or ghosts for that matter. It my have been slightly ahead of its time to represent the American/New York attitude “what have you done for me lately”, the suing of heroes, and negativity abound are all issues that we see and deal with today. Its also meta before meta was cool and is almost self parody with the Ghostbusters’ children’s party scenes. I have a special place in my heart for his film being a child of the eighties who drank Hi-C Ecto Cooler and watched the Real Ghostbusters animated show. With a great cast, premise, and soundtrack this film is better than most made today. I highly recommend this paranormal comedy. 3.5 thumbs up out of 5.
Ghostbusters II “Terror Tunnel” Scene