The original Ghostbusters was original and took on a surprising following over the 30 plus years since its release in 1984. When I first saw this second installment in the theater, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of it. Honestly, I thought it wasn’t as good as the first one (but I was still only a teenager at the time of its release in 1989). I decided to revisit the film since it was just on TV at the time of this writing.
The four Ghostbusters are back: Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), and Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson) to battle this new paranormal threat. Sigourney Weaver returns as Dana Barrett, who has a new baby. Also returning to the supporting cast are Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) and Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts). Peter MacNicol joins the cast as museum curator Dr. Janosz Poha, who seems to have a crush on Dana, and becomes a servant to Vigo (Wilhelm von Homburg), the 17th century evil spirit trying to enter the world through Dana’s infant baby. Ivan Reitman returns to direct.
The film’s opening sequence shows Dana out with her baby in a carriage. She stops to talk to a street vendor, and then the carriage mysteriously begins rolling down the sidewalk into the city streets. In this sequel, there does not seem to be a whole lot new to bring to the table as an evil spirit tries to enter this world from beyond (in this case a painting) and bring an end to humanity. After viewing the film again, I can say I liked it a little more than my original viewing in 1989. It does have some merit despite having a similar story. The means by which the evil spirit attempts to come into this world is different and the presence of this mysterious pink slime that responds to various human emotions adds to this new story.
There is some expository dialogue between the characters to explain what has happened to them in the last five years and catch the audience up from the events of the first one. Soon the Ghostbusters discover the pink slime and begin to analyze it and investigate, get imprisoned for a time, then called upon when things start getting really bad.
Ghostbusters II isn’t too bad, at least not as bad as I originally thought. Again, as with the first film, the humor and comedy comes from the story and dialogue rather than being forced for comedy’s sake. Some of the dialogue, though, might not be as clever and witty as the original but still is decent and moves the story. There are some good moments here and there to keep the audience entertained. It’s not excellent and falls just under the original 1984 film, but it’s fun entertainment.