Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Superhero Media: Ghostbusters II
I really like Ghostbusters II and I honestly don't get why people are so set against it. Yes, it isn't as good as the original, but the level of derision this film is met with simply baffles me. Years after saving New York from Gozer and Mr Staypuft, the team are split, having been sued into deep debt for destroying an apartment building. I really like that take, you don't see heroes having to deal with the legal consequences of their actions too often in films, it's something I need to work into my Supers roleplaying at some point. Sure, the Avengers have insurance and all that, but what happens when Ghost Rider wrecks your house during a fight? Who covers that? I can't get the hail damage on my car fixed! Dana and Venkman are no longer together, she having married someone else, had a child and divorced in the interim. When a mysterious happenstance almost kills baby Oscar, Dana goes to Egon for advice and the team comes back together to start an investigation. I personally think that's a reasonable premise for a sequel, but then, I never watched The Real Ghostbusters.
I personally believe that The Real Ghostbusters is the reason Ghostbusters II gets such a bad rap. The original Ghostbusters is a frat comedy in the same vein as Caddyshack and Animal House, but the supernatural elements and slapstick made it play well with children as well. Of course, being the 1980s, a cartoon and toy line were commissioned and the brand became quickly associated with a school-aged group, rather than the original audience. Now, when we look at Ghostbusters II, with its characters getting a bit older, having to deal with life's disappointments and thinking hard about their values. That's not the film that several years of toys, cartoons and Ecto Cooler had prepared the youthful audience for; but I do appreciate it now that I am an adult going through my own shit. If you're really invested in the "mythos" of Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II has plenty to draw on, Vigo is an interesting villain, an evil Wizard, setting up a nice science vs magic bit, though the actual resolution lets him down a bit. What I really like, and has been burnt into my psyche since childhood, is the "mood slime".
What is the slime? Where does it come from? It responds to emotion, is it alive? It can store and broadcast emotions, we see that, but for how long? Does it run down like a battery? Do some emotions work better than others? Could it be used to treat depression and other mental mood disorders? On the subject, I think the Statue of Liberty bit is awesome, if silly, and the idea of using a symbol to unite a city against evil is one worth exploring, imagine using Cap's shield, the Bat-Signal or Excalibur to better effect in a superhero narrative. I still like Ghostbusters II and I'm probably not going to be turned around on that by any films that are yet to come. Personally, I'm disappointed that the 2016 version of Ghostbusters isn't going to continue and the pitch for the new one seems odd, but I'll give it a go anyway. I'll never get the devotion of the Ghostbusters fan-base that hate everything except the original and The Real Ghostbusters, I've been a Spider-Man fan my whole life and will even defend parts of "One More Day". As always, make up your own mind.