In both Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016), four wacky characters find themselves out of jobs and band together to form a supernatural pest-removal business, where paranormal investigation meets high-tech extermination. They’re called “ghostbusters.”
I can say little of depth about either of the films—especially the first one. The four male characters are sophomoric, and the comedy—characteristic of Saturday Night Live of that era—is bad and stupid. (Director Ivan Reitman, who died in February, also directed such gems as Meatballs and Stripes. Blech.) The special effects are so terrible they’re laughable.
Despite its coarse execution, Ghostbusters managed to tell a decent story that starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis.
In fact, the story was decent enough that it grossed almost $300 million worldwide and earned two Oscar nominations. (I still find that hard to believe.)
Yet, the story got way better when it was reinterpreted and recast with four women: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. (And I didn’t mind screen time with the big, dumb receptionist, played by Chris Hemsworth.)
The 2016 version basically tells the original story with some freshening. The ladies are still sophomoric, but they are way funnier, the writing is better, and the special effects are much improved.
The remake contained lots of fun references to the 1984 version: the Ecto-1 mobile, the slime, the gluttonous ghosts, the Stay Puft marshmallow man, Hook & Ladder #8, and cameos my Murray, Aykroyd, Potts, Hudson, and Weaver.
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York, where I live, was dedicated a few years back, and I saw (and touched—don’t tell anyone) the original Ecto-1 mobile. Maybe someday it will visit your town too.
4 replies on “Ghostbusters Improved from 1984 to 2016”
More than a little jealous you got to see the original Ecto-1!!!
I agree with you that the second Ghostbusters was better. I thought the women and Chris Hemsworth were hilarious!
Sorry, I meant Lee! I was looking at Katie’s comment!
NO ONE minds a little screen time with Chris Hemsworth. 😀
Like Katie, I’m super jealous that you got to touch Ecto-1. I will always treasure the moment I touched one of Ray Bradbury’s ties! (One of my readers is a curator at a museum in Indianapolis that houses a lot of Bradbury’s things including his typewriter and bookcases full of books. Oh–and a bank of filing cabinets full of his ideas and notes. Sorry. I digress.
I agree with you that the 2016 version is better. The 2021 version is ALSO really good. I watched it last night with the family and we really enjoyed it. They cast some really talented kids in that movie–and I usually hate movies featuring kids to be honest.
That said… I love the original, despite the sexism (most, if not all, related to Bill Murray who is typecast for a reason–Jim Belushi was originally supposed to play that character but died before filming). It’s pure nostalgia for me. I was 12 when it came out and that was a magical time in the 80s–for me, anyway.