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Sunday, 14 August 2011

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

Ghostbusters. Ahh, dear, sweet Ghostbusters. This film makes me extremely happy. It is essentially perfect, and in my eyes will always be so. As a child I watched this film time and again on a battered old Betamax tape, and by the time I was ten years old I was able to recite every single word (but I always missed out the rude words in case I would be told off).

When I was eleven, my mother bought me the 'Making Of' book, which was essentially the starting point for my obsession with filmmaking, genre cinema and special effects. That book was immense. Containing the full script, the deleted scenes that were never filmed, the production sketches, storyboards, production stills and a massive amount of development information, it made me love the film even more.

Sad as it sounds, I can still remember pretty much every word of that amazing book. I loved the cartoons. I had the figures, the comics, the t-shirts, the videos, the tie-in books. I was completely and utterly obsessed. Ghostbusters is such an enormous part of my life that even the soundtrack has instant nostalgia quality for me.

Today has been a pleasant Sunday, and as such some pleasant afternoon viewing was in order. Time to revisit GHOSTBUSTERS. This would be the first time I've seen the film on DVD, as previously it had only been available to me on the aforementioned Betamax or the VHS I replaced it with years later. It's also been a few years since I've watched the film, which I realize is an absolute crime. This had to be rectified.

Of course, there was the fear that it wouldn't be as good viewed through my eyes now I'm in my thirties. Would it seem cheap? Dull? Hackneyed? HELL NO. Ghostbusters is every bit as wonderful as it always has been, and while so many eighties movies may seem hopelessly old-hat now, Ghostbusters is still the masterpiece that it is seen to be.

Quick recap of the story (surely you've seen it, but in case you haven't, -AND WHY NOT? - here we go): Three bumbling scientists are thrown out of the university they work in after the University loses all faith in their studies into psychic phenomena and parapsychology. They go into business for themselves as GHOSTBUSTERS, professional paranormal investigations and eliminations.

Suddenly, as they arrive, New York is awash with a growing number of spooks and spectres for them to attack with their Proton Packs and suck into their hi-tech traps. This culminates in an epic battle with an otherworldly entity that ends up manifesting as.... a giant marshmallow man that attempts to destroy everything. Follow me? No? Watch the damn film. It's brilliant.

The script by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis is a thing of beauty in itself, but it's the combination of that gorgeous script (which was originally massively different) with the glorious cast (Aykroyd and Ramis alongside Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson) and the fantastic direction of Ivan Reitman.

With such talented people behind it, there was no way it could fail. The world may have moved on from the vision of New York depicted in the film, but the humour, the action and the excitement lives on. Even on DVD, the film still looks beautiful, even with Matte lines visible, stop motion limitations visible and suchlike. It's lovely. Ghostbusters is fun, exciting, a little scary and very funny, and no matter how much I age or how much the movie industry changes, Ghostbusters will always be there as a shining light in the annals of film history. Dear reader, Ghostbusters is perfect.

(Coming Soon: GHOSTBUSTERS II review and pieces on THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS and the saga of GHOSTBUSTERS III)

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