Ghostbusters II (1989)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 68%
Overall Rating
Ranked #898
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Connections: Ghostbusters

Having lost their status and credibility five years after covering New York City with marshmallow in Ghostbusters, the once-famous band of spirit-hunters find themselves struggling to keep afloat, working odd jobs. However, when Dana Barrett and her baby, Oscar, have yet another terrifying encounter with the paranormal, it's up to Peter Venkman and his fearless team of supernatural crime-fighters to save the day. Now, once more, humanity is in danger, as rivers of slimy psycho-reactive ectoplasm, and the dreadful manifestation of the evil sixteenth-century tyrant, Vigo the Carpathian, threaten to plunge the entire city into darkness unless the selfless Ghostbusters take action. Can they save the world for the second time? --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: June 3, 2008
Due to the success of the animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, the studio was hounding for a sequel. Even though the creative minds behind the original were initially against the idea, they eventually caved and cranked out a second movie. Now, sequels are rarely as good as the predecessor, and this is no exception, but it's still a damned good flick in its own right.

It's been five years since Gozer stormed the Big Apple, and a lot has happened since then. Despite the previous events, people still don't believe in ghosts, and our favorite group of paranormal exterminators have been rewarded for their bravery with a court order forbidding them from any 'busting. However, when Dana's eight month old baby boy finds himself the target of some supernatural shenanigans, the boys in gray throw caution to the wind and take the case anyway. The investigation includes tunneling deep underneath the streets of Manhattan, where Ray discovers a huge river of pink slime flowing through the sewer. He's able to get a sample, but not before they're caught in the act and arrested. At the trial, things could not be any worse. Their lawyer is the incompetent Louis Tulley, and there is a veritable mountain of evidence against them, but once again fate is on there side. The slime they collected was admitted as evidence, and begins reacting to the screaming of the angry judge; supercharged with the negative energy, it's able to summon the ghosts of the Scoleri brothers, two murderers who were given the chair by the same judge years earlier. Realizing that his only hope lies in the Ghostbusters, he rescinds the restraining order and the trio successfully capture the spirits and find themselves back in business. Just in time too, since the slime in the sewers have created a sudden spike in ghostly activity in the city. Worst of all, the river of slime leads directly under the museum where Dana works. She's been working on an exhibit of Vigo the Carpathian, a feared warlord who's kept himself alive in a portrait of himself. In an attempt to regain life, he's hypnotized the head of the museum, and then turned his sights on Dana and her son.

Even though the same people are all involved, and it's obvious that the effort was there on both sides of the camera, this one just wasn't quite able to recreate the same magic as before. That's not to say it's a bad movie, but the script just isn't as tightly knit as the last one, which gives it more of a 'kiddy' feel. Plus, there's a lot of little things holding it back. For example, at the end of Ghostbusters, there were ghosts running completely amuck and a hundred foot marshmallow man taking a stroll through the streets of Manhattan, but at the beginning of this sequel, no one believes in ghosts again. That whole plot device was fine in the first one, but here it makes no sense at all. And instead of starting the supernatural stuff out in a subtle way and building to the grand crescendo, it just jumps right into the meat of things. If they hadn't tried to reuse the "nobody believes in ghosts" thing, this wouldn't have been a problem, but alas. Hell,even the returning actors couldn't hit the bar that they set so high last time. They all gave another great performance, but it just couldn't compare. Bill Murray is especially lacking this time around, as he doesn't use the deadpan delivery that virtually defined the character. On the other hand, (and in no small part to how shafted his character was last time), Ernie Hudson actually upped the ante this time around, and we finally get to see how Winston fills the much needed role of straight man in the group.

Now, I'm sure it sounds like I thought the movie was terrible, but it was actually pretty damned good, and all those complaints are just compared to the first movie. As far as sequels go, this one is among the best. Especially considering that not only were the men behind it a bit reluctant initially, but part of the reason the movie was made was to cash in on the success of the cartoon. It would have been really easy to just make an extremely cartoony movie and call it a day, but instead the extra effort was made to keep it at least somewhat down to earth. Granted, a river of slime in the sewers is kind of pushing it, but it could have been so much worse. Thankfully, Aykroyd and Ramis knew better, and put out a sequel that'll probably be enjoyed by anyone who liked the first. 7.5/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added June 3, 2008 at 3:42pm
I am an enormous fan of both "Ghostbusters" films. I love Peter MacNicol here and I think the four leads are firing on all cylinders. This is just one of those classic 1980's films for me. Like the original, pretty damned close to perfection for me. 9/10.
thrasher #2: thrasher - added June 3, 2008 at 5:43pm
glad to see some others like it, most people i know won't even watch the 2nd one, claiming it to be one of the "unfunniest" movies ever.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added June 3, 2008 at 5:57pm
Unfunny? Those people are obviously humor illiterate.
Nirrad #4: Nirrad - added June 3, 2008 at 7:14pm
When I was a kid, this one was my favourite. Not so much right now, but still a great movie. 9/10 as well.
Tristan #5: Tristan - added June 9, 2008 at 8:46pm
Just watched this for the fist time ever. Doesn't live up to the original, but still pretty goddamn good. 8/10
Tristan #6: Tristan - added June 9, 2008 at 9:27pm
"I used to have a roommate but my mom moved to Florida." Easily one of the best lines I've heard recently.
Rest Easy Soul #7: Rest Easy Soul - added December 26, 2009 at 10:07am
Not as good as the first one but it did have a big shadow cast over it with the first one. Still a great movie, and a great sequel but it was kinda stupid that everyone stopped believing in ghosts.
Lucid Dreams #8: Lucid Dreams - added May 12, 2010 at 1:34pm
This was almost a perfect 10 for me. 9/10
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