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Ghostbusters II
First run Theater cinema Tv laptop

Ghostbusters 2 picks up five years after 1984’s runaway hit comedy concluded, and the gang of paranormal investigators and eliminators have not fared well in the interim. Blamed for the destruction of New York City, rather than hailed as its saviors, the Ghostbusters have returned to hustling their way through life, doing whatever they can to make a living. But when an evil painting of a 16th-century tyrant begins to come to life, the city may have to reconsider the restraining order it slapped on them.

That the entire creative team and principal cast of the original film reunited for this sequel is noteworthy because, at that point, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ivan Reitman had all declined to participate in any way with the sequels other people made to their successful comedies: Murray and Reitman had nothing to do with the many Meatballs sequels or Caddyshack II, and Ramis never participated in any of the Vacation follow-ups. Only Sigourney Weaver had enjoyed a positive experience doing a sequel—scoring an Oscar nomination in 1986 for one of the best sequels ever made, James Cameron’s Aliens. However, everyone should have continued their wise policy of leaving well enough alone. The watchable Ghostbusters 2 is one of those lackluster sequels that are more a bland retread than a true continuation of their predecessor’s story. Of course, there was never any intention for a follow up to Ghostbusters, which is a perfectly contained one-off comedy—a far better crafted screenplay and finely polished picture that it’s usually given credit for.

Never the less, Ramis and Aykroyd re-teamed to write the screenplay for Ghostbusters 2 with Reitman once again directing and producing. But all the magic of discovery infused within the first movie is absent here. The makers of Ghostbusters had a million ideas going into production, and much of the joy in watching that film comes from the palpable sense we have of discovering the unexpected humor, heart, and surprisingly solid narrative of the picture along with its cast and creators. In this sequel, everyone is just following the beat for beat blueprint of the first movie. This Xerox approach works OK for the first act, where Ramis and Aykroyd come up with some funny situations and lines the get laughs, but by the time we reach the climax, we couldn't care less about the story’s outcome.

The detrimental lack of stakes comes from the feeling that  despite everyone coming back—including Rick Moranis as nebbish lawyer Louis Tully, Annie Potts as the New Yorkiest secretary of all time Janine Melnitz, and David Margulies as Mayor Lenny Clotch—no one is invested in the supernatural threat that drives the narrative. How could they when that threat is so lame? A goofy Peter MacNicol (Sophie’s Choice) and a painting of German wrestler turned actor Wilhelm von Homburg—are a far cry from the wonderful architectural mysteries that haunt and propel the original picture. And while the filmmakers attempt to go bigger and better as they copy each moment from the first film, the results are smaller and unsatisfying. Even the soundtrack of pop songs feels thin compared to the original. The combination of keyboard-heavy funk and new wave tunes with Elmer Bernstein’s spooky yet goofy underscore that charged Ghostbusters and had everyone humming the title song all summer long in ’84, is gone from this movie. In its place are flimsy hip-hop tunes and a forgettable underscore by TV composer Randy Edelman. The feeble production and blandly descriptive lyrics of the songs on this soundtrack are indicative of everything else in the movie—they’re uninspired, empty, and you want them to end long before they’re finished.

Twitter Capsule:
Even with the entire cast and creative team reuniting, it disappoints in almost every way. Less a sequel and more a bland retread of its iconic predecessor. Watchable with occasional laughs, but lifeless and uninspired. 

Directed by Ivan Reitman
Produced by Ivan Reitman

Screenplay by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd
Based on characters created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

With: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Peter MacNicol, Harris Yulin, David Margulies, Kurt Fuller, Janet Margolin, Jason Reitman, Bobby Brown, Cheech Marin, Brian Doyle-Murray, Ben Stein, Philip Baker Hall, Kevin Dunn, Chloe Webb, Ivan Reitman, and the voice of Max von Sydow

Cinematography: Michael Chapman
Editing: Donn Cambern and Sheldon Kahn
Music: Randy Edelman

Runtime: 108 min
Release Date: 16 June 1989
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1