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Ghostbusters II
1989 - PG - Mins.
Director: Ivan Reitman
Written By: Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis
Review by: John Ulmer
There's an extra fine line between recycling material and straying from material. When sequels are different from the original, people complain. When they're too close, people say they're just remakes. This is why I think people generally don't enjoy the thought of film sequels.

But I'll admit it. I like sequels. When they are deserving or done right, I enjoy them. When I meet likable characters I don't mind seeing them again. Now, sometimes there should never be sequels to movies with likable characters. Sometimes there can't be (what would "The Usual Suspects II" be about?). But sometimes, like with "Ghostbusters," sequels can be a good thing.

Sometimes they're done very well ("The Godfather Part II," "Aliens," "Terminator 2," "Toy Story 2," "X-Men 2"). Sometimes...not ("Braveheart 2" -- oh, wait, never mind, that doesn't exist).

To make a successful sequel, you have to be a truly great filmmaker. It takes a genius to be able to continue a story with the same characters without straying too far from the original source material, and without losing sight of the original's purpose. (That's why so many die hard fans of "Terminator 3" were upset by the ending -- me included -- but hey, the rest of the film was pretty darn good as far as action sequels go.)

"Ghostbusters II" is, I feel, a very good sequel, because it continues the story of the four Ghostbusters, while still sustaining the sights of the first film, and the humor, too. It got bashed by critics and audiences alike when it first hit theaters five years after the original, but what can I say? I enjoy it. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I saw the sequel before the original, which may have something to do with my love of the film.

The Ghostbusters (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson) have been plagued by numerous lawsuits since the opening of their prosperous business, and a court has ordered them to close down their business. But when a mysterious slime haunts Dana (Sigourney Weaver), they come back out of retirement to investigate. Unfortunately, they are arrest, right after discovering that New York City is about to be taken over by an ectoplasmic purple goo flowing beneath the city's highways. And Dana's newborn baby is becoming possessed by an evil spirit -- could the two incidents be related? Surely not.

As the end of "Ghostbusters" had a giant Stay Puff'd man, "Ghostbusters II" has the Statue of Liberty. Yes, that's right, the good ol' boys enter the Statue of Liberty and walk around New York City extended high above the ground.

This sounds corny, yes? Well, it is, but so was the first film. It's meant to be. Corniness is all part of the fun, after all, isn't it?

Bill Murray is just as funny as he was in the first film, while Aykroyd and Ramis continue their great co-star roles. People who thought that there wasn't enough black in the original "Ghostbusters" will be happy to know that Ernie Hudson is in this one from the beginning.

I enjoyed this film. I liked the purple goo lurking beneath New York City -- it adds the distinct silliness to the film that the first had. People can complain about "Ghostbusters II" all they want, but I -- for one -- think it's a great sequel to a great comedy.
Movie Guru Rating
An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant.
  4.5 out of 5 stars

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