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Looking Back…Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

Ghostbusters is probably the only word you’ve heard for the last few months; today sees the release of Paul Fieg’s reboot of the classic film, with Kirsten Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones taking up the mantle. Some people aren’t happy about that. Like, really aren’t happy about that. But let’s not open that can of worms, let’s take a trip back to 1989 and review Ghostbusters 2, the sequel to the hit original that wasn’t as well received. As a film fan, there are certain films that you’re conditioned to hate; when you’re starting out, there are so many films that have these reputations and you go along with it because you think it’s right (The Godfather Part III is a good example of that), and Ghostbusters 2 definitely falls into the category. History would have you think it’s an absolute abomination, but truthfully, it’s not.

It’s just very weak.

Ghostbusters 2 picks up five years after the original film, and the team is disbanded, and are no longer allowed to conduct their paranormal studies. Venkman is a TV host, Spengler works at a university, and Stantz and Zeddemore have turned the Ghostbusters into children’s entertainers, albeit failing ones. Everything changes however when a mysterious substance appears in the sewers, feeding off the negative emotions of New York, while an ancient being trapped inside a painting looks for an infant whom it may host. Before long, the Ghostbusters are back in business.

There is a lot to like about this film; it’s definitely fun, and quite funny too, and that’s largely down to the cast. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson still have perfect chemistry that absolutely elevates the film and makes it engaging. Sigourney Weaver is great too, as is Annie Potts in an extended role, and of course Rick Moranis as loveable loser Louis Tully. Their romantic subplot is pretty well handled, as is the one between Dana and Venkman. Things turned sour after the first film, and the chemistry between Murray and Weaver conveys it perfectly. It’s a very enjoyable watch, and hardly a chore to sit through.

That being said, the film seriously lacks the charm of the first one; it’s funny, but it’s not as funny. It’s fun, but it’s not as fun, and that’s due to how ridiculous this film becomes. Maybe it’s unfair to criticise a film like this for being stupid, especially since the first one is hardly grounded, but the first one had a sense of wonder to it. It was entertaining because the dosage was perfect. This time around, all of the ghostly activity in the city just feels a little bit overkill, and it gets far too ridiculous.

If there’s any part of the film that’s hard to watch, it’s the gang walking through New York in the Statue of Liberty to Higher and Higher. It’s downright cringe-worthy, as is the ending of the film with the painting of the four guys. But the film’s biggest problem is it’s villain; Vigo is so freaking boring. Fair enough, Zuul isn’t exactly a complex, fleshed out villain but at the very least he was interesting. Vigo is just some ugly guy in a painting who wants to be a baby. What’s even worse than Vigo is the annoying little German guy (who’s in love with Dana) that he possesses. His presence in the film is Jar Jar Binks level irritating, and he’s just unbearable.

But saying all that, this definitely isn’t one of the worst sequels ever made. Hell, it’s not even that bad; it suffers from a lot flaws, and on the whole is rather disappointing, but as it stands, it’s a very enjoyable watch.

Now, the real question is…Will the new Ghostbusters be better than this?


GHOSTBUSTERS IS OUT IN CINEMAS NOW! 

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