Review by J.T. Johnson
ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: June 16, 1989
DIRECTOR: Ivan Reitman
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Michael Chapman
WRITERS: Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd
MUSIC: Randy Edelman
Ever since its release in 1989, I have found “Ghostbusters II” on several lists of worst sequels throughout the years. The audience and film critics hated the movie. It also didn’t help the film’s case that Bill Murray has also come out over the years and condemned the movie.
First, let me state that “Ghostbusters II” is a victim of being an admittedly inferior sequel that has a rehashed plot and there’s no denying that. At the center of the trouble once again is Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett. Instead of a possessed apartment, she has to worry about a possessed painting that wants to take over her baby’s mind.
At the beginning of the movie, the Ghostbusters have been driven out of business by the city since the first film. Almost no one believes that there were actually ghosts and they believe that the damage in the first film was caused by the guys. Eventually, due to a new influx of ghostly activity, they’re back in business when ghosts cause a disruption at their trial after they violate their restraining order.
After this ordeal, they must stop Vigo the Carpathian, the person who possesses the painting that now haunts Dana and her baby.
Not only does the movie rehash the first film’s narrative structure, it is also a lighter film than the original. By this time, the cartoon “The Real Ghostbusters” was in full effect and the filmmakers tried to appeal more to the kids while the original film was a comedy that was made for adults. In this one, the movie includes a friendlier Slimer as well as zanier ghosts than what was found in the first movie.
Despite this movie’s problems, I found that just can’t help but love it. The guys are back in action and all four actors brought back their amazing chemistry. The supporting cast also returns to provide some laughs, especially Rick Moranis and Annie Potts as Louis and Janine, respectfully. Another standout is Peter MacNicol as Dr. Janosz, an eccentric character that eventually finds himself possessed and helping out Vigo.
Unsurprisingly, the big standout in the movie is Murray, the film’s biggest critic these days. Murray is as electric as ever and he brings the film’s biggest laughs. He may not like the movie today, but he can rest assured that he is the strongest element and the film’s secret weapon.
The film also contains some pretty cool set pieces as well. There is a court scene where two ghosts arrive and it’s great watching the guys as they try to capture the ghosts and clear their names with the judge at the same time. Also, the movie’s climactic sequence at the end may not be quite as memorable as their final battle in “Ghostbusters”, but it is still fun to watch.
Yes, once again I must state that this movie has its problems, the biggest being that it is an inferior sequel to the original. However, I don’t think that the movie is anywhere near as bad as its worst critics make it out to be. The original cast is as stellar as ever and it is another action-packed film that turns out to be a lot of fun and that is all that the movie really needed to be in first place.