Quick Movie Review: Ghostbusters II (1989)

ghostbusters2

Before about 15 years ago, it was hard to accept any sequel as serious–give or take a select few. And I’m sure there were many who didn’t take the Ghostbusters sequel too seriously either. But who could blame them back in 1989.

Sure it has its issues. The villain’s modus operandi has devastating effects, but his method of using a baby’s body as a vessel to come back from the dead is played off as silly. Although it doesn’t intend to be, it can’t help it. The levity of the film is that strong.

In this one, all the guys are back and they have to stop the evil Vigo the Carpathian–who is trapped in a painting–from coming back from the dead and ruling the earth. Weird things start happening all over town, as the ghostbusters discover that all of New York City’s negative energy has been compiled into slime in the sewer system and is acting as a portal to bring back evil spirits.

It isn’t easy for them, as they are faced with adversity that doesn’t make much sense. They go from being the popular saviors of the city, to all of a sudden no one believing in ghosts anymore.

Ultimately, the film lacks any real depth. Character issues are heavily introduced but never resolved in the end. It gets a little lost in that department, sure.

But there is a charm that carries over from the original. In fact, I find this one just as funny. The talents are far better utilized here, other than Bill Murray, who is just as good as he is in the last. Peter MacNicol is an especially great addition as the oft-confused foreigner, Dr. Janosz Poha, who curates the art museum where the evil painting is being kept.

The first Ghostbusters movie is fantastic. It’s legendary. But it shows its age quite a bit. Ghostbusters II may not be as iconic, but it holds up a little better. And although we don’t feel as threatened by our villain, the threat is still very much there.

Twizard Rating: 87

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Quick Movie Review: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

christmas vacatin

Finally, a Vacation film that is good all around. It puts together the good qualities of the first and second movies to make a solid third installment.

Maybe I’m just getting used to these characters and the style of these films, but I’m certainly liking them more and more with each one.

In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the series goes back to being about Clark (Chevy Chase) and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo). And it’s never been more evident than by casting a third pair of children to play Rusty (Johnny Galecki) and Audrey (Juliette Lewis)–which has become an in-joke at this point. Clark attempts to have a perfect Christmas at his home, although it’s being made very difficult with a house full of rowdy relatives.

This film is far more heartwarming than the previous two films, which are a giant batch of straightforward irreverence. But while that style may turn off some viewers, the well-balanced tone of this third film will have a little bit of both to satisfy everyone.

Possibly the highlight of this series is the brilliant running joke with the Griswold’s pretentious neighbors, whose Christmas is getting incidentally ruined as a result of Clark needing to have a perfect one. It speaks of the depth of Clark’s character as well as providing the audience with some of the most amazing pratfalls and farce of the franchise.

It’s still very John Hughes-ey in its writing, but it definitely doesn’t showcase any lack of ideas.

Twizard Rating: 83

Quick Movie Review: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

bill and ted

Anyone who knows me is well aware that Bill & Ted is my favorite movie. I’ve been quoting it since I was 10. It’s a film whose sole purpose is to bring joy to the world. It’s a comedy-adventure of the best variety–and that’s my favorite genre. Throw in some time travel and it’s perfect. It’s created to make us laugh and to buy into the normally-ridiculous scenario that one band can bring harmony to the world through the power of their music alone. And the script is so well-written that you believe it, too.

Sure, it has a couple of minor time travel paradoxes, but you just don’t care because it’s such an awesome ride that you won’t want it to end! It snubs it’s nose at overcomplicated time travel movies by making itself one that is very matter-of-factly presented, and it has some fun with causality loops while winking at the audience. It calls attention to the notion that when you have a time machine you can literally go back and fix anything you want–or even PLAN to go back and do it later so that you can help yourself out in the present (it makes sense if you watch it).

But this movie is so self-aware and so silly and innocuous that you can’t help but love it. Everyone has that film in their life that they feel like it was made for them. Mine is Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Twizard Rating: 98