Published on Thursday, April 23, 2015 by Robert Morgan
When most people think of movies from the 80s, classics such as The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and, unfortunately, Ghostbusters come to mind. Somehow, over the last 18 years, I had never seen Ghostbusters, but I was excited to watch this classic movie and see what all the hype was about. However, I found out quickly that this movie was one of many that, if you hadn’t grown up watching, it was not going to be your favorite movie of all time. When I was watching this movie, I kept hoping that the 105 minutes would be over soon because of how boring it was.
To start things off, the movie never grabbed my attention. The opening scene is a librarian who encounters a ghost at the New York Public Library and, when things got weird and they didn’t look good, they called in the Ghostbusters – three college professors who face removal from the university due to budget cuts. This scene seemed rushed, like they couldn’t think of anything to start the movie with and they threw something together the night before they started filming. Granted, the production teams had limitations as this movie was made in the 80s (and, when taking that into considerations, the graphics were done really well), but if they would have put in something – like an entire row of books flying at the librarian’s head or some other impractical, yet funny, ghostly thing to do – to spice up this opening scene, I would’ve tuned in and wanted to keep watching.
Another aspect of the film I disliked was the relationship between Dr. Peter Venkman and Dana Barrett. The two met when Dana saw a ghost in her refrigerator and came to the Ghostbusters headquarters. Venkman then, as the creepily flirtatious man he is, goes to stakeout Dana’s apartment, only to come up empty handed. Despite this, Venkman still pursues Dana’s case as a way to get close to her. I didn’t enjoy this relationship because it took away from the plot. Yes, the main focus of the movie is still the three men bustin’ ghosts, but this secondary plot is more of a distraction than anything else. Many 80s movies revolve around relationships and breakups, so it’s understandable why they would incorporate this into the film. The movie would’ve been just as strong without this relationship, though, and the writers could’ve put more into the three ex-professors catching ghosts.
Also, the ending was so weird that I was left scratching my head and wondering “why in the world did they do this”? The main antagonist of the movie – Gozer – is a shapeshifter who takes various forms throughout the movie. In the climax, Gozer tells the men to think of their worst nightmare and they will have to fight it. Stantz thinks of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man because he believes Puft would never hurt them. Their sticky friend, however, begins to terrorizes New York City and almost defeats the Ghostbusters. I wasn’t sure if the copy of Ghostbusters that I was watching changed into a recreated version of Godzilla or if I was being attacked by a Pillsbury doughboy knock-off, but all I could think of was how hard the writers were trying to put a funny scene in the movie that ended up coming off as forced and unnecessary.
I was thoroughly confused as to why Ghostbusters didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it, but I think most of the reason why I didn’t enjoy this movie is because I hadn’t seen it when I was young. My parents aren’t huge Ghostbusters fans and none of my friends introduced me to this movie, so it wasn’t a big part of my childhood. A lot of times this happens with the classics – we grow up loving something so much and only view it through the rose colored glasses of nostalgia. This movie, in particular, played a huge role in so many people’s lives that I see why they all love it, but since I am not one of them I can’t say that this movie will be part of my life after I finish this article.
Despite disliking the movie, I think that everyone should watch Ghostbusters. Pop culture references this movie so many times that you’re out of the loop if you haven’t seen it. If there’s any other weirdo out there like myself who hasn’t seen this movie, take everything you’ve been told about this movie with a grain of salt, but enjoy the hour and a half that you’ll spend watching the movie. Hopefully, you won’t regret it like I did.