Quantum Geek: Ghostbusters (1984)

If you were to argue that this is the greatest movie of all time, I would happily forget every movie I have ever seen in my 34 years and agree with you. On the other hand, if you have never seen Ghostbusters, welcome to Earth. I hope you enjoy your stay, and allow me to introduce you to one great reason why you should not destroy all humanity!

NerdGenious.com's Quantum Geek Ghostbusters special review

There's a real easy way to explain why Ghostbusters is as effective and enjoyable now as it was thirty years ago. Whether you grew up with this movie back in its day, or you were brought up on this movie later on because your parents loved you - maybe you were an adult when it was originally released - this is essentially a classic movie that appeals to the inner children of grownups, but it doesn't stop it being the greatest movie of your childhood either. Fellow nerd genious Michael Burhan knows all about that...

Ivan Reitman directed Ghostbusters 1984 comedy horror fantasy movie review
"I ain't afraid of no ghost!"
If any cultural comparison is fair, the Ghostbusters are the Beatles of cinema, only if you replaced Ringo Starr with someone like Billy Cobham, because nobody wants to be Ringo. Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddmore really are that huge. Not only did actors Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis contribute largely to hit US comedy show Saturday Night Live's greatest era, alongside fellow actor Ernie Hudson, they ruled the box office throughout the '80s and contributed to some of the most enjoyable films ever made as actors and writers.

Three parapsychology professors who lose their jobs decide to go into business for themselves like your average New York exterminator company. The only difference is that they hunt ghosts, not vermin. Upon setting up their business in an old fire station, the doctors eventually get their first job in the form of a terrified classical musician, the drop dead gorgeous Dana Barrett, played by Sigourney Weaver, possibly the hottest thing to happen to the '80s and, yes, my first ever crush as a child.

Seriously though, there are only three women on this planet for whom I would raise my age range to over 60; Sigourney Weaver, Helen Mirren and Pam Grier. You know, just a few so not to look "easy!"

Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett, love interest of Bill Murray's Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters
There isn't a demon in existence could put me off Sigourney Weaver.
Skeptical at best as to whether the Ghostbusters can help her, Dana is in quite the predicament. For one, she has a demon that has just taken up residence in her fridge. Two, despite this, she doesn't take the doctors seriously, largely because of slacker Peter Venkman's jokey attitude towards his work. Three, Venkman has a huge crush on her, which she finds creepy to say the least.

When business starts to boom, the Ghostbusters pick up regular joe Winston Zeddmore (Hudson) as a fourth member. They also make themselves an enemy in the form of Environmental Protection Agency inspector Walter Peck, played like nobody else can by professional pain in the arse William Atherton (Die Hard's stuck up anchorman Richard Thornburg). With the threat of being shut down, the doctors discover that a mass paranormal event is in the making that could threaten to destroy New York City and even the world, with Dana's apartment at the centre!

There isn't a character in this movie who isn't likeable in some way, and that includes Atherton's brilliant turn as white collar villain Peck. Watching him lose his shit is still satisfying. The additions of Rick Moranis as Louis Tully and Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz adds perfect goofiness to what would be a straight horror comedy fantasy, especially since neither Murray or Aykroyd partake in their usual oddball antics. Also included are many familiar faces of the '80s comedy and action films.

Dr Peter Venkman Slimer scene at the Sedgewick Hotel in Ghostbusters
Such as Slimer... from that other boss film, Ghostbusters II...
Ivan Reitman solidified his status as a great comedy director with Ghostbusters before going on to make Arnold Schwarzenegger [deliberately] funny in Kindergarten Cop, Twins and Junior. The fact that this movie was written by Ramis, Aykroyd and Moranis also makes it special. The connections, the chemistry, the comedy and the drama is all genuine. This is a true team effort that isn't only rare; there isn't a film in Ghostbusters' league. If more movies today were performed by their writers, I'd pay attention again.

So how did it change the way we view movies today? Watch this movie and try to compare it to anything else. It's unashamedly politically incorrect and doesn't have a sense of ego about it. The only creative team in comedy to come close are from the likes of the Farrelly Brothers and Adam McKay. The difference is that Ghostbusters has a sense of working class to it as well as a sense of sophistication whereas the latter are all straight-out comedies.

Reitman's success also came from the immense special effects team that helped to bring Ghostbusters to life on a budget of $30 million. I could go into who did what but if you're comfortable with taking my word for truth, if the US film industry had a family tree for every special and visual effects artist that worked on every movie over the last thirty years, Ghostbusters would be at its roots. Unsurprisingly, this movie is still a visual feast that can stand up to state of the art CGI movies of today, and that's because every trick in the book that wasn't textbook back in 1984 was revolutionary to the industry. But let's not forget the amazing score, brought to us by late legendary composer Elmer Bernstein...

Or the greatest movie song of all time for that matter...

Ray Parker Jr. Ghostbusters theme song

Ghostbusters spawned one sequel, and then one cartoon series, The Real Ghostbusters, which was what lead to it being classed as a kids classic (one where Ray didn't have a cigarette hanging out of his mouth every few scenes later). That also led to all the toys and comic books, too, and a videogame and the ages long callout for a second sequel. That was until the untimely death of Harold Ramis this year, which sent a tsunami of shock and sadness around the world.

If anything, Ghostbusters is a blueprint for modern cinema. Sometimes, begrudgingly, it's the story a filmmaker can lean on when they want to make their breakthrough film. Sometimes they will follow the priceless guidelines to writing the perfect script. Sometimes they will just rip this classic off with zero shame. Is it possible that this is why Murray never wanted to return for a third movie? I'd say so. Nobody wants to read on the internet that Bill Murray starred in a Men in Black ripoff, after all.

"We came, we saw, we kicked Fresh Prince!"
Thanks for reading and I hope this has inspired you to revisit this classic, if not to pop your Ghost Busting cherry after all this time. There are things you need to know in life and I don't have the time to stop and tell you about the Twinkie!

RIP Egon (1944 - 2014)

The late comedy legend Harold Ramis with Ghostbusters co-star Annie Potts

-Dan Ashley
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