3. Ghostbusters II (1989)

ghostbusters2_1989Luckily my computer was working this morning, so I could wake up and watch Ghostbusters II. I had always just assumed that I had seen this movie since I have seen Ghostbusters so many times, but in retrospect I think that I have actually always just seen this film in bits and pieces on TV, and never watched it the whole way through.

Ghostbusters II takes place 5 years after the events of the original movie. The Ghostbusters have gone out of business after everyone sued them for the damage they caused while saving the city, which I feel is highly improbably given the fact that everyone would have died if they had not defeated Gozer. I like to have a little faith in humanity. Egon Spengler gets to do research again, Peter Venkman has a television show about psychics, Ray Stantz owns an occult book store (adding this to my list of dream jobs, right after librarian in a haunted library), and both Ray and Winston Zeddimore do birthday parties sometimes.

Somehow, Sigourney Weaver’s experience playing cello in an orchestra gives her the right background for a really nice job as an art conservator, although most people have to go through rigorous undergraduate and graduate training in chemistry and art history for jobs like that. Here she is working on a Gauguin:

"I have no idea what these chemicals are that I am smearing on this incredibly valuable painting."

"I have no idea what these chemicals are that I am smearing on this incredibly valuable painting."

There is a painting of a 17th century tyrannical magician named Vigo that contains his spirit, and Dr. Janosz, Sigourney Weaver’s boss (who is in love with her) becomes his minion and tries to steal her baby so that Vigo can enter his body and become ruler of the world at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. There is also a river of goo beneath the city that is a manifestation of all the negative emotions that the people of New York have. Pink goo also makes toasters dance, and creates a huge surge in paranormal activity similar to the first film. Luckily, a judge and the mayor let the Ghostbusters combat supernatural entities again, so the gang makes the Statue of Liberty come to life and take them to the museum. The people of New York are so moved by this display of patriotism that they sing and have good feelings, which weakens Vigo, and they manage to destroy him before he can possess Oscar, the baby.

If that sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. It’s definitely an entertaining movie (ghosts + Annie Potts is a combination that simply cannot lose with me), but it only succeeds due to the fact that the performances are so great that they manage to make a weak script passable. Let’s start with some of the not-so-great things about the movie:


"Hey guys, I am here to save your life."

1. I feel really, really bad for Ernie Hudson’s character in this movie. He has been part of the team for five years now, but he never gets to help out with anything interesting. When Bill Murray is available, they don’t even invite him to investigate paranormal activity with them. He just has to stay at Ghostbusters headquarters waiting for them to call, I guess. It’s lucky that he is there, though, because he saves Ray and Egon from a fire at one point, reacting with lightning speed to break down the door with a fire extinguisher. Hopefully that reminded them that they should not take him for granted or forget that he exists. The film doesn’t even find it necessary to show us what job he found after Ghostbusters went out of business, other than that he sometimes dances at birthday parties to the Ghostbusters theme song.

2. Annie Potts is suddenly romantically interested in Louis Tully because her biological clock is ticking and she feels that it might be a good idea to have a baby with him. This is funny, okay, but everyone knows that Janine Melnitz and Egon Spengler are meant to be together forever, and to have really smart babies with serious attitudes.

3. This may seem like nitpicking, but the painting of Vigo is sooo not period-accurate. Maybe that’s a weird thing to fixate on, but on a $25 million budget, you would think you could hire someone who would have a vague notion of what 17th century portraiture looked like.

4. Special effects are really not up to par. Generally, I am all about cheesy special effects: give me a low-budget schlockfest over a big-studio, CGI-heavy film. However, this is a major motion picture, and in 1989 they definitely had the technical prowess to do a little better. This is the way they demonstrated Vigo’s spirit entering the baby:

This is what it looks like when a baby is possessed.

This is what it looks like when a baby is possessed.

Really? You are just going to superimpose a scary man’s face onto a baby’s face? That was the best you could do? I think not.

However, there are some great things about Ghostbusters 2:

1. After Winston saves Egon and Ray from perishing in flames, they remember he is also a Ghostbuster and invite him to investigate an abandoned tunnel because Bill Murray is busy on a date with Sigourney Weaver. When he’s there, he gets to do the first bit of Serious Acting he has been able to do in either film. I could only find it in Spanish, but I actually think that makes it even better:

Hot new makeover.

Hot new makeover.

2. Annie Potts gets a hot new makeover.

3. There is a hilarious Ghostbusters commercial featuring Janine Melnitz and Louis Tully as a married couple who are scared of ghosts in their home. I wish I could post a clip, but as I said, my current laptop can’t handle video editing.

4. Really adorable baby.

6. Sigourney weaver wears an outfit (plaid shirt, black leggings, boots) that is really trendy right now.

5. The courtroom scene. The judge is sentencing the Ghostbusters to jail/burning at the stake, but pink goo makes the Scoleri brothers appear, whom the judge apparently had sentenced to the electric chair. I probably would have done the same if I had been presiding over the trial of two clearly inhuman, cackling monsters with glowing red eyes. For some reason, I just think that is hilarious.



The movie apparently scared my mother a lot when it came out, because once you give birth, anything dangerous involving babies it automatically terrifying, and about 40% of the movie is just a baby having encounters with the supernatural and Sigourney Weaver being really upset about it.

It has been brought to my attention that the rating system I use is confusing, because I haven’t made it clear whether I am rating based on scariness, enjoyability, quality of script, etc. Therefore, here is a more detailed breakdown.

– 2/10 for scariness

– 4/10 for quality of the script

– 7/10 for how much I enjoyed watching it

– 10/10 for actors’ performances.

Anne rating (everything averaged together): ~ 5.8. I am not going to promise that the qualities I rate things on is going to stay constant.

Tonight I go to see Paranormal Activity, which will probably be amazing if the reviews so far are to be believed.



~ by Anne Harding on October 2, 2009.

2 Responses to “3. Ghostbusters II (1989)”

  1. The shot of the ghost titanic is my absolute favorite thing about this movie. And yes, this movie is ridiculous.

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