Ghostbusters (5 stars)


This 30th anniversary reissue of Ivan Reitman's 1984 classic is most welcome

For many of us, the fact that Ghostbusters is in a position to have a 30th anniversary re-release is one of those chilling little reminders of how shockingly old we seem to have inadvertently become.

For others, it may be a chance to experience in shiny, new and flawless form an oft-referenced classic that might only have been glimpsed on Christmas telly, and in good time for the already much-hyped reboot being prepared by director Paul Feig.

And for others still, this could be a chance to share a childhood favourite with our own spawn – and to go in a dark mood with them if they fail to love it as we did. Few who have seen the film are indifferent to it: it boasts the rare double-whammy of being both nostalgically treasured and deathlessly cool. How did it achieve this? Particularly given that the characters onscreen are themselves in no conspicuous way cool at all?

Well, it’s properly funny, both because the script (from cast members Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and an uncredited Rick Moranis) has solid jokes in it as well as an efficiently-managed, effective plot, and because its brilliant cast – Bill Murray in particular – were allowed off the leash just enough. Murray’s improv here puts the aimless, hit-or-miss meandering favoured by the Judd Apatow school to shame; at times you can see other actors come close to corpsing.

The effects, though technically rudimentary by today’s standards, do the job delightfully, and remain thrilling and imaginative. It speaks to its entire audience, without ever seeming to joke over children’s heads in a snide or overly knowing manner.

In short, Ghostbusters is a masterpiece of balance: of respect for the science-fiction genre and affectionate mockery thereof; of spectacle and silliness; of sly humour and wide-eyed wonder; of star presence (much of it Sigourney Weaver’s) and down-at-heel indie-style self-awareness. Oh, and that theme tune tends to stick in the head.

Selected reissue from Tue 28 Oct.

Ghostbusters (trailer)


  • 5 stars
  • 1984
  • US
  • 1h 45min
  • 12
  • Directed by: Ivan Reitman
  • Written by: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis
  • Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts

Three disgraced parapsychology researchers team up to fight spooks. An efficiently-managed plot, solid jokes, a cast let off the leash – Murray in particular – and thrilling and imaginative effects combine in a masterful balance of respect for the sci-fi genre and mockery of it; sly humour and wide-eyed wonder; star…