Ghostbusters 1984 vs. 2016 My Unpopular Preference

The Enduring Legacy of Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters, released in 1984 and directed by Ivan Reitman, has solidified its place as an undisputed classic in the realm of supernatural comedies. This film introduced audiences to the iconic foursome of Venkman, Egon, Ray, and Winston, played by Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson respectively. The plot revolves around these ghost-hunting experts who form a business to combat an impending destructive force called Gozer. With its critical and financial success, Ghostbusters spawned a multimedia franchise and has garnered a passionate and devoted fanbase throughout the years. However, when a reboot of Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig and featuring an all-female cast, was released in 2016, it was met with mixed reactions. While the original remains highly regarded, I find myself in the unique position of enjoying the reboot more. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this unpopular opinion by comparing and contrasting these two films.

The Characters: Venkman and the Ghostbusters

In the 1984 Ghostbusters, Bill Murray portrays the main character, Peter Venkman, a witty and dryly sarcastic professor. While Venkman is meant to be the straight man in the zany group and the underdog we root for, I personally found him unlikeable and difficult to connect with. His lack of genuine investment in the events around him and his shallow demeanor make him come across as bland. Even when faced with the supernatural, Venkman often reacts with indifference, which hampers the emotional engagement. Additionally, the romantic subplot between Venkman and Dana feels forced and lacks chemistry.

On the other hand, the 2016 reboot offers a more emotionally engaging and memorable cast. Kristen Wiig portrays Erin Gilbert, an insecure and somewhat squeamish particle physicist who reconnects with her former best friend Abby Yates, played by Melissa McCarthy. Their dynamic and shared belief in the paranormal form a strong foundation for their characters. The addition of Kate McKinnon’s quirky and charismatic Holtz and Leslie Jones’ enthusiastic Patty brings a refreshing energy to the team. This reboot successfully builds emotional connections and ensures that each character has their moments to shine.

The Formation of the Team: Origins and Progression

The story progression in the 1984 Ghostbusters feels competent but often underwhelming. The swift formation of the Ghostbusters as a successful business leaves little room for exploration of their origins or the details of their equipment acquisition. The impact they have on the city and its inhabitants is not effectively conveyed, which limits the audience’s investment in their success. While the escalations of supernatural occurrences are well-paced, the lack of deeper exploration makes these moments feel like checklist items.

In contrast, the 2016 reboot takes its time in establishing the team, allowing for a more fleshed-out origin story. Scenes showing Abby testing the proton pack and Holtz introducing new gadgets add depth to the narrative. The gradual rise of the Ghostbusters and their impact on the city creates a stronger emotional payoff when they face their ultimate challenge. The additional details and the team’s hard work make their triumphs more satisfying and setbacks more poignant.

The Threats and Villains

One area where the 1984 Ghostbusters excels is in the portrayal of menacing threats. The original film successfully blends its comedic elements with genuinely unsettling and even scary moments. The scene where Dana is captured by ghostly hands stands out as a terrifying sequence. The innovative visual effects, especially for its time, contribute to creating a creepy atmosphere. However, the reboot’s lighter tone diminishes the sense of stakes and reduces the fear factor. Despite this, the 2016 film’s story and the mystery surrounding the deranged scientist, Rowan, add layers to an otherwise shallow villain character. While neither film boasts exceptional villains, both serve their respective narratives effectively.

The Different Approaches to Comedy

The humor in the 1984 Ghostbusters is often dry and low-energy, lacking the uproarious laughter one would expect from a comedy film. Moments that aim for wackier humor fall flat due to subdued execution. However, the 2016 reboot fares better in delivering laughs. While not a non-stop comedic extravaganza, it manages to land jokes more successfully. The character-driven humor, characteristic of director Paul Feig’s style, adds depth and charm to the film. Though some jokes in the reboot miss their mark, the overall comedic approach is more assured and enjoyable.

Visual Effects and Action Sequences

The original Ghostbusters thrives on impressive visual effects that have stood the test of time. From the ghost designs to the imaginative supernatural elements, the 1984 film showcases the innovation achieved in practical effects during that era. However, the reboot’s reliance on CGI sometimes results in uneven visual quality. While the humorously skeptical characters in the film question the authenticity of the ghost footage, one cannot discount the disparity in effects. The trade-off between superior effects in the original and more engaging action sequences in the reboot leaves viewers with varied preferences based on their inclination towards technical prowess or entertainment value.

The Unpopular Opinion: A Personal Preference

In conclusion, while the original Ghostbusters is widely celebrated as a cinematic gem, my personal preference leans towards the 2016 reboot. This does not undermine the strengths and weaknesses of both films. The original demonstrates maturity, risk-taking, and innovation, but falls short in its characters’ likability, energy, and emotional resonance. On the other hand, the reboot excels in its character development, humor, and heartfelt storytelling but sacrifices the edginess and stakes found in the original. Ultimately, personal taste and individual connections with the characters and humor determine one’s preference.

Despite my unpopular opinion, it is essential to acknowledge and appreciate the diverse viewpoints that exist among Ghostbusters fans. As the franchise evolves with the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the ensuing discussions and disagreements surrounding these films will continue to shape the ongoing conversation. As long as these discussions remain civil, enjoyable, and enlightening, the Ghostbusters fandom will thrive, embracing a myriad of opinions and experiences.