Sunday, 11 September 2011

I ain't afraid of no ghost!

Gozer (Slavitza Jovan): Are you a God?
Dr Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd): No.
Gozer: Then...DIE!
Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson): Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES"!
Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray): All right! This chick is TOAST!

Remember these lines? Well, I do and it's not because I lifted them from IMDb. I would remember these lines even if you shook me awake in the dead of night and threw them at me. You don't forget dialogues from a movie you've seen nearly a dozen times. And I have seen Ghostbusters as many times. The 1984 science fiction comedy was a big hit in my college days and there wasn't a single teen or geek who didn't know how to foot-tap to Ray Parker Jr's If there's something strange in your neighbourhood; Who ya gonna call?

Ghostbusters was a silly movie but it attained cult status. In fact, the Ivan Reitman film owed its success to its silliness, not to mention quirkiness, and a good star cast too. Any film with the comic duo of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd and a script written by Aykroyd and Harold Ramis ought to be watchable. Ramis, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis were added bonus.

What I liked about this film, which concerns three jobless New York City parapsychologists-turned-ghost hunters, was Murray's down-and-out character, Dr. Peter Venkman, and his mistimed
witticisms while his two friends and a fourth ghostbuster (Ernie Hudson) get busy tracking, chasing and capturing or eliminating the colourful spooks. He isn't there if you know what I mean.

Though Dr. Venkman heads the Ghostbusters, he is content tagging along with his teammates and poking fun at the ghosts who in turn laugh outright in his face. He is also more interested in Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) in whose apartment the ghosts, with funny names like Zuul, Gozer and Vinz Clortho, first materialise and reveal their evil plans for the Big Apple.

Bill Murray takes the film away from seasoned actors like Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver but I guess that is only to be expected from Bill Murray—always the funny man.

Before I forget to mention, Ivan Reitman, the Canadian producer and director, is working on Ghostbusters III due for release sometime next year. The film will have next-generation ghostbusters with the three original ghostbusters playing mentors. Weaver, Hudson and Annie Potts are likely to return as well.

Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, Hudson, Weaver and Moranis are old Reitman hands, having previously acted, together and variously, in 17 of his 16 directorial ventures. My favourite Reitman-Murray film is Stripes (1981) in which buddies Murray and Ramis are unhappy with their jobs and join the army for fun.

It's twenty-eight years since Ghostbusters was released. I hope the third edition will have been worth the long wait.

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