Ghostbusters II (1989): Breakdown by Kain424
Same story, different villain.
Ghostbusters II is usually considered to be the lesser of two fun films, and I am in agreement. It’s not a bad follow-up, but it does suffer from sequelitis. The story is essentially a retread, and much of the film refuses to give the audience what they want: The Ghostbusters. Until the end of the film, there are almost no moments where all four of the guys are in the same scene together. This is a real shame, as it is obvious when the group is together that the magic is still there. I just wish there were more moments like that.
There is clearly more of a budget here, with everything looking more crisp and there being far more effects shots. And looking at the car now, as compared to earlier, we can see what is perhaps the best metaphor for the film:
There is a lot attached. Ghostbusters II does allow for a lot of fan service, throwing in Slimer the ghost, Sigourney Weaver the love interest, and even the mayor from the first film. It’s not necessary, but I’m glad they’re all there. The fact that they managed to get all the main cast back is awesome. William Atherton isn’t in here, but fellow Die Hard alumni Mary Trainor is, so that’s just as good. Also, we get one of the terrorists from Die Hard, Wilhelm Von Homberg, as this film’s main villain.
The tone of the film, however, causes the film to sag a bit. They’ve decided to make the movie more family friendly, so there is no smoking, the language is toned down, and children are all over this film. This is a shame, because one of the things that worked so well with the first film was that it had layered jokes, for adults and children. It worked for both. While this one does feature a few adult moments, it is clearly more family-centric. Still, there are a lot of scary themes and moments to help keep the film going, and the cast has enough chemistry that you almost forget.
I do, however, find the villain fairly weak, and the fact that they play him off as a joke for much of the film doesn’t help. Gozer was built up over time and scary, but Vigo ends up the butt of so many gags the final confrontation just sort of leaves you shrugging.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Harold Ramis is Dr. Egon Spengler, Bill Murray is Dr. Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd is Dr. Raymond Stantz and Ernie Hudson is Winston Zeddmore
They’re still the Ghostbusters, so that’s pretty bad-ass. Like I said though, the main problem is they just don’t share enough time together. There are sometimes only two or three of them, but rarely all four. Why is Winston not present at the construction worker scene? Where the hell did he go during the court room scene?
[THE BODY COUNT: ZERO]
Once again, the film is scant with deaths. You might be able to argue that Vigo’s weird ghost-head exploded and thus, he died, but I would counter that he was already dead and it was his ghostly spirit just trying to come back. It was the gateway that was destroyed, not him.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
“It’s the Scolari brothers!”
As the film begins, we find out the Ghostbusters were sued after the events of the last movie, the mayor ditched out on paying them, and they’ve resorted, each one, to some lower form of income. For almost thirty minutes, we watch as one bad thing after another happens to them, with the team finally ending up in court. The judge hands down a heavy sentence, but then two ten-foot high, full-torso apparitions appear and attack the court room. Only the three Ghostbusters in the room can deal with them and they do just that, ringing them in with their awesome proton packs, and trapping them.
“Two in the box!”
“Ready to go!”
“We be fast and they be slow!”
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
The team is still the team, with Egon still being an Egon, but there’s not much gay. There might be something with Ray and Winston, as they seem to hang out a lot, but it’s just not all that close to what we can definitely call man-love. Even the fruitiest of the film’s characters, Janosz, has the hots for Sigourney Weaver’s Dana.
There is, however, a touching scene at the end of the film where Ray tells Janosz that he loves him, and they both embrace, all the while covered head to toe in a slimy, pink ooze. Eww.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Not a lot here. Dana is shown as an independent, single mother and Jeanine is almost predatory in her advances on Rick Moranis’s Lewis Tully. Sigourney looks great, but I’m gonna have to say it’s not very misogynistic.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
In the court room scene, the prosecutor has Bill Murray on the stand. She asks him, “So, you’re saying that the supernatural is your exclusive province?”
Peter responds, with epic coolness, “Kitten, I think what I’m saying, is that sometimes, shit happens, someone has to deal with it, and who ya gonna call”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
It’s gonna take the end of the world for New Yorkers to finally get along.