There are bad movies, and then there are movies that fail to live up to the potential it has. But as time passes, the line between the two becomes a little blurry as decent movies become terrible in the minds of moviegoers. Ghostbusters II is now in the category of awful as of late due to the new reboot of the franchise. The argument made by supporters of the new film is that it is at least better than the Ghostbusters sequel. And with all of the discussion of the remake, Ghostbusters II has dropped down a rank from not being as good as the original, to being a bad movie. But reboot talk aside, Ghostbusters II is not a bad film. In fact, it’s far from bad. And while it definitely doesn’t live up to the original, and could also be considered a retread of the original’s plot when stripped down, Ghostbusters II is definitely underrated as a sequel to the 1984 classic.
The biggest complaint about sequel is that it’s not as funny as the original. While that statement is definitely true, and the odds of lightning striking twice are slim, Ghostbusters II was deliberately different from the original film. And the end result was a film that relied more on horror than comedy. There’s no denying that the film had more scares than the original. And the practical effects were stepped up a notch to give the film a darker feel to it. But it never forgets to have fun despite taking the scares serious this time around. The comedy is not as quotable as the original, but the scenes of horror work really well. The problem is sometimes it works a little too well for its own good, considering that the laughs are toned down and the targeted audience for the film consisted of kids and younger adults. And that was definitely a big part of what held it back from being on the same level as the first film.
The abandoned subway scene is a prime example of the film taking it’s scares a little too seriously. In search of the source of negative energy in the city, Ray, Egon, and Winston find themselves in a haunted subway tunnel. After having fun with the acoustics in the tunnel, Winston receives a demonic response back after yelling hello. That is when our heroes attempt to retreat before finding themselves surrounded by heads on spikes letting out demonic moans. And if that wasn’t enough to haunt a young child’s dreams, the scene is followed up with a ghost train headed straight towards Winston. And as funny as the idea of a ghost train sounds, the effects used for it, and how it’s executed in the film is one of the most memorable moments in the film.
There are other scenes that stand out as truly incredible, or hauntingly eerie. The Scoleri Brothers, whom were convicted of murder and executed in the electric chair, emerge in the middle of a courtroom session involving the Ghostbusters. The puppetry and special effects are incredible compared to the original. And the ghost look horrifying in comparison as well. The scene itself, which involves the team strapping on their packs for the first time in five years, is gratifying once they have the two brothers in their trap. There are other moments of creepiness, such as when the Titanic arrives on shore, the bathtub slime scene, and baby kidnapping ghosts, but the movie never forgets to have fun as well.
The cast seemed like they were having a good time throughout the film. The chemistry from the original film is still present, and the comedy the film does have hits more than it misses. The characters have grown from the first film, and it feels like an organic continuation of the series. But there are a few issues with the film that hold it back from being perfect. The first is the villain, Vigo. While Vigo the Carpathian serves as a memorable adversary for the team, the final showdown doesn’t feel as unique as the original. The stakes, despite being high, feel a little blander after the team had already taken down Gozer and Zuul in the first film. The shock and suspense is gone from the concept of four men in over their heads, and that is where the film falls flat.
Ghostbusters is an incredible film that shined because there was nothing like it. Ghostbusters II suffers from having nothing new to add to the original other than yet another adventure for our paranormal exterminators. And with a lot of the story beats repeating, and more focus on scares than the original, the film comes off too different from the original while simultaneously remaining too similar. But despite it’s flaws, and there are a few, it’s not as bad of a film as the recent reputation suggest.
Ghostbusters II, just like the new reboot, had a lot to live up to. And while it tried to bring something new to the table while still maintaining the spirit of the original, it wasn’t able to successfully reach the same level as the first film. But not being as good as the original doesn’t make it a bad film. The jokes may not be as memorable, but the scares, effects, and all around coolness of certain scenes are. Vigo, as well as a few scenes from the film, have remained part of pop culture since the film’s release. And unlike most sequels that are actually bad, such as Highlander II, the second film will always come up in conversation whenever discussing the original. Simply put, a bad movie can not possess really interesting and memorable elements that fans look back fondly on. Because the very concept of a bad movie is exact opposite.
So if your stance on the reboot is that you feel it’s at least better than Ghostbusters II, it’s understandable since it leans more on comedy than the second film did. Also, everyone has their own personal preference. But one film doesn’t have to be lowered to raise the other up. Ghostbusters II, despite not being as good as the original, is criminally underrated. And if revisited without the stigma viewers have recently placed on it, there is a lot to love about the original Ghostbusters’ second and final outing.