Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun and laughs
Cons: Meandering plot in first half; different tone from first
The Bottom Line:
This 80’s sequel
Has lighter tone from the first
But still mostly works
“I Got My Law Degree at Night.” “That’s Okay. We Got Arrested at Night.”
Several years ago, I finally filled in another gap in my pop culture viewing by watching Ghostbusters. I heard at the time that Ghostbusters II wasn’t worth watching, an opinion I’ve heard from others over the years. However, I was curious about it, and with talks of a third movie with the original characters coming soon, I decided to catch it during Freeform’s 31 Days of Halloween this year.
Released five years after the original, the action also takes place five years later for the characters. In that time, the city of New York has decided that the Ghostbusters aren’t the heroes they were in the first movie. In fact, many people think they are frauds. While they are mainly reduced to appearances at parties, the men have moved on to other things, be it scientific research or running a bookstore focused on the supernatural.
All that changes when Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) has another run in with the supernatural. Something takes her baby in his carriage for a ride through traffic. Naturally, she knows who to call, and soon Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson) are on the case. This is a little awkward since Dana broke up with Peter and the baby’s father is Dana’s ex-husband. While Peter tries to romance Dana, the other guys work on the case. Can they figure out what is going on in time to save the day?
I can see why this movie isn’t quite as popular with the general public. During the time between films, the Ghostbusters franchise had become extremely popular, and a cartoon had been made for TV, resulting in a young fan base. As a result, this movie is a little more kid friendly. Many adults would find that shift in tone to be an issue. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some intense scenes, especially near the climax, but the emphasis is more on jokes and sight gags.
I guess this proves my tastes more than anything else because I think I find this one better. I definitely had more fun watching it.
Now, that’s not to say the movie is perfect. The plot is still meandering with several elements inserted at random in the first half. The movie does a decent job of weaving them in later, but I feel one sub-plot could have been introduced later and sped up the pacing without ruining the film at all. Then again, since that scene I’m thinking could have been cut had some of my favorite lines, that would really be a shame.
The acting is still good. Everyone nails their parts, and they appear to be having fun working together again. Yes, all the main cast is back, and I enjoyed some of the updates we got on them. I also had fun watching Kurt Fuller in it since I pretty much just knew him from his recurring role on psych.
The special effects are better than the first movie, which isn’t surprising since there was five years between movies. A few of them show their age (this movie came out in 1989), but if you turn off the hypercritical part of your brain and just enjoy, you’ll find yourself caught up in the story and enjoying the effects for what they are.
Ghostbusters II is definitely different from the original. I can see why fans of the first don’t care for it. But I found it fun, and I’m glad I watched it. If you go into it with an open mind, you might be pleasantly surprised as well.