The story is pretty much verbatim by now but for those few who have yet to take in the wonderment that is this movie, I'll sum it up in as few words as I can. Ghosts are running wild in New York and only Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd can save the city.
It's one of those few movies I consider perfect, let's take a closer look.
- The opener with the librarian finding the ghost in the library is a nicely creepy bit with some really good f/x from Richard Edlund.
- Gotta love the theme song by Ray Parker Jr. (the Elmer Bernstein score is pretty damn good too). It's a real iconic piece of 80's pop culture.
- Bill Murray's first scene is perfect. Actually, he's awesome throughout the entire film, as is Dan Aykroyd. This was really his peak as a performer. He's dryly hilarious in every scene, reacting to the oddness of the ghosts as well as his comrades in as deadpan a manner as humanly possible. It's a real tour-de-force performance and an essential way for the audience to accept what happens in the film.
- Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis are equally funny as the two "serious" scientists in the trio. They deliver most of the tech jargon well and also have some funny moments for themselves.
- Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis are fun in their roles too. Weaver is good in her "straight woman" role and she and Murray have some great chemistry. As for Moranis, he plays the ultimate nerd to perfection. He's just funny as hell.
- The first sequence with the Ghostbusters going to work is a classic. Great f/x, some truly hilarious lines and an iconic ghost Aykroyd apparently based on his late friend John Belushi.
- Ivan Reitman does a great job directing the madness. He's generally a pretty solid comedy guy with Stripes (with Murray and Ramis) also bringing the laughs.
- Other good performances come from Annie Potts as the team;s dry secretary; Ernie Hudson as the fourth Ghostbuster and William Atherton as a jerky EPA rep who ends up holding a grudge against the guys. I know, Atherton playing an asshole. What are the odds?
- Weaver and Moranis getting possessed by terror dogs is a nice blend of humor and horror.
- The menace in the film has some nicely subtle Lovecraftian elements. Not often you get otherworldly deities who can destroy the world with a thought in a big summer f/x comedy.
- The film really kicks into high gear once Atherton shuts down the Ghostbusters operation and all hell breaks loose with ghosts running wild throughout the city. The finale is also awesome with the Godzilla sized Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and a nicely fiery climax.