Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Movie Review: "Ghostbusters II" (1989)

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Movie"Ghosbusters II"
Director: Ivan Reitman
Year: 1989
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Over the years and after numerous lawsuits, the Ghostbusters have gone out of business and have been relegated to performing at the birthday parties of children. Now, negative energy has caused a river of psychokinetic slime to build up under the city of New York. This slime causes a new outbreak of ghost activity, and the Ghostbusters are called back into action. Meanwhile, the ghost of an ancient Carpathian ruler is looking to possess the body of Dana Barrett's (Sigourney Weaver) baby so he can live again and rule the world. 

Five years after the release of the original "Ghostbusters," Ivan Reitman returns to the directors chair for "Ghostbusters 2," the sequel no one asked for, but the one we got anyway. Also returning to this film are the entire original cast including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, and Rick Moranis. Since the previous film, the Ghostbusters have gone out of business and have all gone their separate ways, though most of them remain friends outside of work. The group is thrust back together when there is an uptick in paranormal activity within the city of New York, even after they are told they aren't allowed to combat the paranormal because of litigation and lawsuits, fallout from the happenings in the original movie. There is a very self-aware nature to this sequel. Early on in the film, Ray and Winston perform at a child's party and dance to the Ray Parker Jr. theme song from the original film, which actually plays a lot more in this sequel than it ever did in the first movie (by our count, at least 5 times in various different fashions). Slimer is also back and has a scene where he helps out a Ghostbuster, which is carryover from the animated series that ran in between the two films. This movie mainly focuses on a river of slime that feeds on negative energy and a painting of Vigo the Carpathian housed at the museum where Dana currently works. Vigo, the entity within the painting, wants to come to life and needs to use Dana's baby son in order to do it.

All of the original cast returning to "Ghostbusters II" is really a rare feat for a sequel. These actors still have great chemistry, but this film simply doesn't reach the height of the original. It's much more silly, and we all know the original had its silly moments, but this just feels slaptstick and stupid instead of genuine laugh out loud greatness. It's not the worst thing we've ever seen, but it's a huge step down from the fantastic original. Bill Murray keeps at it with the sarcastic, dry line delivery, which is basically Billy Murray being Billy Murray at this point. Aykroyd, Ramis, and Moranis, even Hudson and Weaver offer up the occasional quip as well. Mainly, it's the story that doesn't quite rise up to the level of the previous film. This isn't a standalone sequel, you have to have seen the original to even remotely get why what's going on matters in the context of the franchise. Director Ivan Reitman and writers Aykroyd and Ramis try really hard to recapture the awe of things like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man and the demon dogs, but nothing in this sequel has the same kind of screen presence and feels thrown in to capitalize on the success of the first one. Vigo just isn't a good enough antagonist, and much of what happens feels very cheesy at times.

It sounds like we are crapping on this movie a lot, but it's really not all that bad as far as sequels go. In the end, "Ghostbusters II" is moderately good time, and with the same original cast in tow, it's fun enough and has glimpses of a good movie in there.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 50%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching:

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