Ghostbusters II is the sequel to… you guessed it, Ghostbusters. It’s got the same cast and crew, directed by Ivan Reitman, written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, starring everyone from the original, and was released in 1989.
Taking place five years after the gang saved New York, and the world, from certain destruction, we find our heroes in conditions that are less than stellar. Dana’s a single mom who stopped playing music to do restoration work at a museum, Ray and Winston are doing kids’ birthday parties, Ray also owns an occult book store, Egon works at a lab conducting experiments on human emotion and Peter hosts a sorta-psychic television show. After the first movie, the Ghostbusters were sued for property damage and they’re stopped from investigating the supernatural, forcing them out of business.
Before I get ahead of myself, and in to more detail, go check out what my friends Dr. Q at Craft Beer Tasters and Cody from Three B Zine have to say about this film, you can also read what we did for the first movie here.
Annnnd we’re back… so there’s a new ghost in town who goes by the handle Vigo the Carpathian.
The good; we get the gang back. When we first see Peter he’s got his own show, almost prophetic to when Dana said he was, “more like a game show host,” from the first movie. And his sign off is awesome.
Further to this scene where Egon, Ray and Peter are in Ray’s Occult Books, it feels just like the first movie, the guys are the guys, it shows them all in character. Ray’s surrounded by books with all kinds of theories and strange things. Egon’s using the book shop as a library for research. And Dana’s suddenly back in Peter’s life.
One of my favorite scenes from this film is when the boys start digging in the middle of the street… illegally. When the cops stop Egon from “cutting” Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd’s comedic sensibilities really shine. The scene and accents, really speaks for itself.
Peter MacNicol as Dr. Janosz Poha.
His comically unplace-able accent, apparently from the upper westside, is genius.
“What you’re doing is bad, I want you to know this.”
We also get some terrifying moments with him, no – not the ghost nanny, but when he turns on his eyes during the black out, incidentally caused by the boys drilling in the scene just mentioned.
Then there’s a wipe transition that’s used during the courtroom scene! A wipe that isn’t confined to a Star Wars or a Kurosawa film, and it works.
The courtroom “busting” scene where the gang finally gets together again, sans the flight suits, hits the right marks again. We get a great build up to this moment, and it’s just like the hotel scene from the first movie. Plus we get this lovely joke as they power up their proton packs;
The scares and the comedy are still paired up very well;
-When the gang takes photos of the Vigo painting, the developing reveals a more ghoulish appearance, then the photos burst in to flames.
-When Egon, Winston and Ray are checking out the old train tunnels, they play with the echo down there, with the staple call and response of, “hey!…. hey,” “hello…. hello,” and then it’s Winston’s turn, “hello” …. (silence) then the reply of “Wiiiiiiinnnnstonnnnnn!”
The bad; it feels like we’re starting over.
-The courtroom scene is super similar to the hotel meeting of Slimer. I think it takes place around the same timecode as the first movie.
-The logo, the generic ghost is putting up a peace sign? or a two?
-Then there’s the Ecto-1A, there’s too much going on, it’s way toooo busy.
-The music, it’s not as timeless as the previous films score, the montage we get this time around is more hip-hop-y, and that truly places this movie in the late 80s. It’s not that I don’t like hip-hop, it just dates the movie.
-This film is also toned down, with the success for the first film and the subsequent popularity of The Real Ghostbusters, the target audience was now kids, so they had to cut back on the innuendo and the look of the ghosts.
They’re less frightening. Not sure why they would eliminate either of these since kids wouldn’t pick up on those types of jokes and the ghosts are the bad guys, kids love being scared. The franchise has been praised by teachers because when kids play Ghostbusters no one is a bad guy, the ghosts are make believe.
I’m not sure where to put this one, but the voice of Vigo. You have the actor Wilhelm von Homburg while Max von Sydow supplied the voice. I always knew there was something off with this in the movie, not sure why they chose to do it that way. But you may remember von Homburg from his role in Die Hard, the blonde guy with that weird gun (Steyr AUG ).
Overall, I love the Ghostbusters. As much as people pan this sequel, it’s still part of the franchise. The story is still compelling enough for me to have stopped and watched it when it came on TV. The ultimate weapon to defeat Vigo is/are good vibes and a walking Statue of Liberty, and they made it work.
I’d pair a viewing of this film with good ole’ A&W Root Beer.
A&W goes back to June 20, 1919, Roy W. Allen opened a roadside root beer stand in Lodi, using a formula he purchased from a pharmacist (which was the style at the time). He soon opened stands in Stockton which became home of the country’s first drive-in featuring “tray-boys” for curbside service. In 1920, Frank Wright then joined the picture and partnered up with Allen and the two combined their initials and called their product A&W Root Beer.
The taste is that of yesteryear, what kid doesn’t like root beer? And further more, who doesn’t like the familiar A&W Root Beer? This is for those kids that grew up watching Ghostbusters II in 4×3 pan & scan on broadcast cable. They saw the sequel more than the first film.
“Suck in the guts, guys, we’re the Ghostbusters.”
We still get some great lines like;
“We had part of a Slinky. But I straightened it.”
“Let’s see what happens when we take away the puppy.”
Here’s me at the Statue of Liberty
I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, I love the Ghostbusters. Before there was streaming media, the only way to consume content was through the TV or VHS. For me, I watched the cartoon and when Ghostbusters II came on, I would sit down and watch that too. You can catch both of the films on Netflix now!