Ghostbusters

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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The Ghostbusters, directed by Ivan Reitman is a comedy about three Para scientists who loose their grant for the academic study of the paranormal. Deciding to go into business for themselves is a gamble that pays off for the three when they create the Ghostbusters professional ghost disposal. The film centers on their battles with a series of slimy ghouls that haunt the citizens of New York. When it was released in 1984, people young and old flocked to find the answer to, "Who ya gonna call?" the popular theme song that became a trademark to the ghost buster foursome. The personalities of each character contributed heavily to the overall quality of this picture. It is important to recognize who is the intellectual voice, to whom the audience relates, and who supplies the comedic relief.

In order for the audience to place faith in the characters, it is necessary that we recognize the intellectual voice.

Dr. Egon Spengler played by Harold Ramis can be seen at the beginning of this film taking paranormal energy reading in the library, the location where the first ghost is sited. He displays a sense of professionalism that the other characters lack by instructing Dr. Venkman to collect samples of ectoplasm from the surface of the card catalog. As the energy readings increase, Egon leads Ray and Peter through the library until they encounter the levitating librarian that is indeed their first ghost sighting. When purchasing the old firehouse, which will eventually become their headquarters, Egon reaches the conclusion that the establishment is inadequate and the wiring is substandard. Once the audience views the proton thrusters and listens to the warning Dr. Spengler issues about the crossing of the streams, we are convinced of his credibility.

The realism of each seemingly farfetched situation can only be realized when the audience relates to a character or characters. Dr. Ray Stantz played by Dan Aykroyd and Winston Zeddemore played by Ernie Hudson supply the association of viewer to character. When the first ghost is sighted, Ray impulsively suggests, "Lets get her" which nearly turns them inside out with fear when the ghoul reacts. In the scene where the character of Winston is introduced, one of his first lines is, "If there's a steady check involved, I'll believe anything you say". The tendency to say what the average person would feel is a technique that helps us to better relate to the following scenes. Questioning if the frequent ghost happenings had any biblical meaning is also another key element in projecting the severity of the developing situation. Faced with a dangerous opposition Ray and Winston represent the conflicting views upon which action to take, on one hand Ray admitting to the higher power his weakness, and on the other Winston saying, "When someone asks if you're a god, you say yes!" Seconds before the climax, all four Ghostbusters display their humanity, thanking each other for the opportunity to work together. Displaying such qualities projects the feeling of uncertainty that keeps the viewer in tune with the action.

In my opinion, the exceptional comedic relief supplied by Bill Murray, Dr. Peter Venkman, is the reason this film became so popular. The first impression the audience has of Dr. Venkman is that of a sarcastic, clever funny man which holds true throughout the film. He entertains the audience with jokes at Ray's "lets get her" approach as well as when the encounter is made. Dr. Venkaman jokingly approaches the creature and offers, "Hi I'm Peter"¦ What's your name?" Even after the three doctors loose their grant at the university Peter's spirits never descend, he cannot offer the troubled Ray a great deal of encouragement, only a sly grin and a few comical words followed by swig of whisky. Throughout the film Peter has the majority of the laughs with such lines as, "He slimed me" and "I've always wanted to do this" he then rips a tablecloth out from under an already set dinner placement. The combination of both physical humor and adult oriented jokes enables Ghostbusters to entertain audiences of all ages.

The cast of characters that make this film a hit are irreplaceable in the minds of the true Ghost buster fan. The ability to identify the roles of each character has heightened the cinema experience. Without each one of these fine actors, I do not believe Ghostbusters could have risen to the popularity as a classic. Each character brings his own flavor to the screen that is conveyed through the director's eyes. The superb acting along with the dazzling special effects of the time will forever place Ghostbusters in the box office of one of histories greatest films.