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Ghostbusters II (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000032450
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 25/5/2002 23:34
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    Review of Ghostbusters II

    7 / 10


    Ghostbusters was such a successful movie that a sequel was inevitable. What is surprising is that it took five years to get the cast together for it. What is really surprising is that even with the same talent, the sequel isn`t up to much. Don`t get me wrong, I`ve always been fond of the franchise, The original movie had a brilliant cartoon spin-off, and the computer game was naff but fun on my Speccy with it`s quaint, digitised speech. I really looked forward to this film and to be honest I enjoyed it when I was 15. Time isn`t so gentle though, and through owning the video and now the DVD, its shortcomings have become glaringly apparent. But guess what, I still like this movie. It`s Ghostbusters init?

    5 years on and fifty pounds heavier, the Ghostbusters are back. The sequel picks up after the company has been put out of business by an ungrateful city after the Gozer incident. Ray owns an occult bookstore and occasionally teams up with Winston as party entertainers. Egon is back at the university, researching the effects of extreme emotion on psychic phenomena, and Peter Venkman has a cable TV show, where he interviews various would be psychics and attention seekers. After a brief dalliance, Dana Barrett left Peter and has since had a baby, Oscar from another relationship. However, the familiar problems faced by Ghostbusters resurface, when a mysterious force that drags his pram into the street kidnaps Dana`s child. Seeking help, she contacts the defunct team and they happily investigate by digging a big hole in the street. They find a river of ectoplasm flowing deep under Manhattan and manage to blackout the city in the process. One quick court case later, where Louis Tully defends them and some ghosts resurface, they get the court order against them rescinded and Ghostbusters is back in business. Investigating properly, they find that the river of slime is flowing to the Manhattan Museum of Art, where Dana works restoring paintings. Looming over her workspace is a painting of Vigo the Carpathian, a medieval psychopath whose spirit inhabits the painting. Using his minion, the unwilling Janosz Poha who Vigo controls, he plots to take Dana`s baby and live again through the child.


    Ghostbusters II is displayed in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen 5 years on and the effects are just the same. Slimer looks a little worse actually, but the ghosts and ghostbusting looks fairly similar to before. In the first film, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man made a memorable appearance striding down the streets of New York. Here it`s the Statue of Liberty, and she looks really fake. I think the angle used in that scene is wrong. Instead of using the people view looking up at a looming Marshmallow man, we have an eagle eye shot of Lady Liberty striding down the street. It looks like a woman dressed up as the statue. Mind you, we get the Titanic 10 years before James Cameron did it. The picture itself is clean and well presented, though there are a few sign of age.


    There is a DD 5.1 English soundtrack as well as 2.0 Stereo German, French, Spanish and Italian. Randy Edelman has supplied the music this time, and the spooky music of the original has gone to be replaced by a more triumphant theme for the Ghostbusters. Worse, the early eighties pop of the original has been replaced by, I`m sorry to say, Bobby Brown, who also has an ill-advised cameo. Ray Parker Jr barely gets a look in and even the presence of Jackie Wilson isn`t enough to redeem this soundtrack.


    You can watch the trailer and read the filmographies if you want.


    The cast all return for the sequel. Bill Murray is if anything even more sardonic as Peter Venkman, Dan Ayckroyd is still earnest as Ray Stantz, Harold Ramis is the intellectual Egon Spengler and Ernie Hudson is the reliable Winston Zeddemore this time looking more like his cartoon incarnation. Sigourney Weaver is a little restrained this time as Dana Barrett but Rick Moranis gets an expanded role as the lawyer cum fifth Ghostbusters. Annie Potts has a meatier role too as Janine Melnitz and finally gets her man. Peter MacNicol of Ally McBeal fame is the slimy Janosz Poha though it`s difficult to place his accent.

    Sequelitis hits the ghostbusting franchise and does it terminal damage I`m afraid. Watching this film, I realise that it has more in common with an episode of the cartoon series than the original movie and the characters have changed accordingly. You would never expect this Peter Venkman to ask, "Are you currently menstruating?" and similarly the bite has been removed from all the other characters. This isn`t a criticism as the film was obviously marketed at a younger audience. However, the story has suffered considerably as a result. Superficially, this film can be seen as a remake of the original. Supernatural problem occurs, Ghostbusters try to solve it, no-one believes them and they end up incarcerated, Mayor gets desperate for help and releases Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters save the day. Deeper down though, the story seems forced, the idea of peoples` feelings causing bad ghostly happenings, and the way to solve the problem being "get everyone to be nice to each other" just seems very Sesame Street to me. Although Ivan Reitman takes the reigns again, the magic isn`t there and the film is often slow in places. Also I get the feeling that this film has been edited. I`m sure there was more when I saw it in the cinema, and certain moments in the film imply scenes have been removed, especially the end credits (A quick visit to the BBFC website reveals a version 4 minutes longer than the DVD). But, and this is a but that redeems the film, is again the cast. With so much talent in front of the camera the chemistry is palpable. Despite the weakness of the script, Bill Murray et al are eminently watchable and their performances rescue this film from sequel oblivion. They may be busting ghosts for a younger age bracket, but the Ghostbusters are back. Forget your misgivings about the story and spin this disc just for the fun of it. Ghostbusters II is not half bad. And never count this franchise out, I have discs with Ghostbusters III listed in Dan Ayckroyd`s filmographies, maybe one day they`ll get around to actually making it.

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