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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ghostbusters II

Under normal circumstances, I would be using this space to write a WHO AM I WEDNESDAY entry, but this week, I've decided to skip it. 

I have a very good reason though for doing exactly that.

You see, earlier in the month when things were a little bit crazy, I decided to skip the movie post that week.  Between worrying about my mom and being invited to a wedding reception that night (with my mom's blessing, of course), I was way too busy to put forth much of an effort into the blog that day.

So, I thought that I would go ahead and do up a special edition Wednesday movie blog to make up for missing that one almost two weeks ago. 

You see, I've been trying to fill up the October movie blogs with scary Halloween themed movies.  And I decided to start things off rather tamely and increase the intensity of fright as each week progressed.  Now, last week I talked about the relatively tame film "Hocus Pocus".  Today I'll still be talking about a PG-rated movie that really isn't very scary upon retrospect, but is certainly a little bit more darker than "Hocus Pocus".

And when I say "little bit more darker", I put the emphasis on the little.

Oh, I should warn you ahead of time as well.  Today's film happens to be a sequel to a popular 1984 film.  And while this 1989 movie didn't quite match the success of the 1984 film, at the very least, the majority of the cast from the first film reunited for the second part. 

Which was good.  Because if you're going to call up a bunch of people to rid your house of phantasms, poltergeists, and spirits, you should probably know who you're gonna call.

Yep.  It's time for the "Ghostbusters II" entry!  And yes, there is definitely a good reason why I opted to choose this film for discussion today.

I'm sure that you've heard all the rumours about the possibility of a brand new Ghostbusters film being made.  Some may call it a remake of an old classic, while others may believe it to be the third film in a potential trilogy.  And in a way, I suppose that I can understand why there is so much interest in the Ghostbusters franchise.  After all, 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the original film's release, which starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and the late Harold Ramis.

But some of the things that I've heard about the third edition of the Ghostbusters series make me sort of scratch my head.  For one, the plans are to make all four Ghostbusters female in this installment.  Now, if they were the daughters of Egon Spengler (Ramis), Peter Venkman (Murray), Ray Stantz (Aykroyd), and Winston Zeddemore (Hudson), it could work.  I could see a Rachel Stantz or a Winifred Zeddemore taking care of business.  But the incorporation of a female Ghostbusters team has to be done absolutely perfectly or else it's going to bomb. 

It would also be nice if the surviving members of the original cast made guest appearances, but I'm not exactly holding my breath.

To be honest, I would have liked it if they flash forwarded twenty-five years after Ghostbusters II, and had Dana Barrett's child, Oscar become a Ghostbuster.  That would link all three films together.  After all, Oscar would be something like twenty-six years old now.  The age would work.

Ah, maybe I'll just stick with discussing Ghostbusters II instead.

Okay, so Ghostbusters II takes place five years after the original one aired, and New York City is ghost free.  The Ghostbusters did a fantastic job of clearing them all out of Manhattan during the ghost invasion of '84.  Unfortunately, the city of New York showed their gratitude by issuing a lawsuit against them for the property damage caused by defeating Gozer, and they have now been banned from investigating the supernatural.  The Ghostbusters now have to take on other jobs which range from lab rat to talk show host to children's entertainer.

We also learn that Dana Barrett (Weaver) has broken off her relationship with Peter, married someone else, had Oscar together, and the couple is now divorced.  In fact, the first scene of the movie prominently shows Dana taking Oscar for a walk in the middle of the city.  But some weird things start happening when Oscar's baby carriage suddenly takes off on its own headed straight into oncoming traffic.  Luckily, Dana manages to reach Oscar before tragedy happens, but the incident spooks Dana enough to seek the help of her former Ghostbuster buddies.

Sure enough, Egon, Ray, Winston, and Peter agree to help Dana out even though they have been ordered not to do any further investigation regarding the spirit world.  They go back to the scene of the crime which happens to be First Avenue, and they find something strange is going on.  A large river of pink slime seems to be flowing beneath the city, and when they go to investigate the slime, it attacks Ray who accidentally cause a blackout while fighting it off.  The Ghostbusters are arrested and ordered to appear in court where their old friend Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) serves as their attorney.  And initially, Louis must have done a bad job because by the end of the trial, the judge is ready to throw the book at them.  However, when the slime sample that was used as evidence against them explodes and releases the spirits of two murderers that the judge had sentenced to death, the Ghostbusters take care of them in a hurry, prompting the judge to overturn the previous ruling allowing the Ghostbusters to return to work.

Meanwhile, things are beginning to get a little strange at Dana's workplace.  Working as an art restorer at a city museum, Dana notices that ever since her colleague Dr. Janosz Poha (Peter MacNicol) started working on a portrait of Vigo the Carpathian that he has been acting incredibly strange.  Turns out that the spirit of the murderous, evil Vigo has possessed Dr. Poha, and that Vigo has given Poha some rather frightening orders.  In order for Vigo to come back to the world from death, he will need to possess the body of a baby before the beginning of the New Year. 

Oh, yeah...did I mention that this movie begins just after Christmas?  And that Oscar is only just a few months old at the time?  This can't be good.

Now, that's about all I'm going to say about this movie because it just gets weirder from there.  But I will leave you with a few clues.

- The pink slime would not respond well to Pharrell Williams' "Happy".
- The Statue of Liberty plays a huge part in the movie.
- Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) returns to the film.
- The song "Higher and Higher" becomes very important to the film's resolution.

Those are a few of the things you can expect to see while watching this film.  Now for some trivia.

1 - There are some family members of cast members playing bit parts in the movie.  Bill Murray's brother, Brian Doyle-Murray plays a psychiatrist in the film, while Dan Aykroyd's niece plays the role of a schoolage child.

2 - Ben Stein does a cameo in this film.

3 - So does director Ivan Reitman's son, Jason.  He plays one of the kids at the birthday party scene.

4 - The role of Vigo is physically played by Wilhelm von Homburg, but his lines were overdubbed by Max von Sydow.

5 - When the idea was pitched to make a sequel of the film, at least half the cast wasn't sure it was a good idea.  Ramis, Aykroyd, and Ivan Reitman were unsure that a sequel was needed.  However, they eventually gave in and made the movie anyway.

6 - Bobby Brown, who contributes the song "On Our Own" to the film's soundtrack, has a cameo as a doorman.

7 - Slimer was initially not supposed to be in the second film - however, since the green ghost was included in the cartoon series as the Ghostbusters pet, the decision was made to have him do a special appearance. 

8 - You know the scene in which the ghostly Titanic docks in the middle of the harbour?  The initial plan was to have the spirits of the Hindenburg disaster haunting the city.

9 - The twins that played Oscar were William and Henry Deutschendorf - the nephews of singer John Denver!

10 - Janine's appearance was changed from the first movie to represent how she looked in the cartoon series.

11 - The Ecto-1 car actually broke down after shooting the bridge scene!

12 - Check out the marquee in the scene where slime attacks people on the streets of New York.  It's advertising a movie called "Cannibal Girls" - which was one of Ivan Reitman's first films.

13 - Bill Murray wasn't impressed with the final cut of the film, because he claimed that the film focused too much on the slime and not enough of them.

14 - And, because you wanted to have some crazy credits at the end of the film, Slimer is indeed cast as himself!

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