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‘Ghostbusters II’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 16, 1989


Ivan Reitman
Bill Murray;
Dan Aykroyd;
Sigourney Weaver;
Harold Ramis;
Rick Moranis;
Ernie Hudson;
Annie Potts
Parental guidance suggested

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"None of us had ever done a sequel," says actor/screenwriter Harold Ramis, referring to a certain well-promoted summer movie starring Ramis and sequel veterans Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver. "But then we started thinking if we could come up with a concept that seemed worthy, that really progressed us in some way, that had something new to say, then we'd do it."

He's talking about "Ghostbusters II."

"Honey," you'll say after watching this paranormal caper, "that was funny. But what I really appreciated was what they had to say."

Mostly what they have to say in "GB II" is Hey! Look out for the slime! There's pink ooze everywhere, slime fans, an underground river of it, in fact -- which is a lot of unmitigated evil, even for the tri-state area.

The icky buildup, by the way, precedes a New Year's Eve visit from Vigo the Carpathian, a nasty, transmutable 17th-century presence who wants to kick off what he calls "the season of evil," and he's not just talking about ABC-TV's fall lineup.

All of which, it just so happens, is exactly what the now-splintered team needs. Since the last confrontation with major cosmic forces, Weaver and Murray have split up (but her ensuing husband left her with a newborn), Murray's hosting psychic cable-TV shows, Aykroyd's managing an occult bookstore, and Ramis is conducting psycho-something-or-other experiments. They need a sequel. And what can you expect in that sequel? A little bit of everything, actually. Which may be the problem for even diehard "GB" junkies. Everything and everyone you liked in the original are there, from the aforementioned squishiness to proton packs, and from Murray to nerdy costar Rick Moranis (but don't look for "Slimer," the pudgy cartoon TV spinoff). But "GB II" often seems like "Ghostbusters: The Preview Reel, Extended Mix," with its rather see-through buffet of special effects, comic bits and music-video transitions.

The best "bits" come from Murray, whose deadpan mugging (so enjoyable in the old "Saturday Night Live" days and the original "Ghostbusters") is allowed some room -- but still, there's not quite enough of it. You want more. The same goes for Moranis's hysterical moronity and Aykroyd's rapid-fire shtick. Not quite enough. More, more. Which leaves you waiting, junkielike, for the special, scary effects. But somehow, there are fewer of them too.

One last question: If the known universe is in supernatural danger, dead spirits are walking the Earth and the Statue of Liberty itself is getting restless, shouldn't there be more of a crowd at the final showdown?

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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