Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recap: "Ghostbusters" Part 3: Crossing

And so, Judgment Day arrives. You know, odds are, should the armies of heaven arrive to usher the righteous humans to Heaven in some kind of Rapture, some poor fool's literally going to be caught with his pants down. Poor guy.

And that's why you should always wear clean underwear. You never know when the Rapture will strike.
The sun shines down on Ghostbusters HQ, as Walter Peck leads a cop and an electrical worker inside. Janine tries to stop them from going too far.

Janine: "Oh no, hold on, I've seen TV, I know you can't come in here without a warrant, or writ, or something."
Peck: "Cease and Desist all Commerce Order, Seizure of Premises and Chattels, Ban of the Use of Public Utilities for Non-Licensed Waste Handlers, and a Federal Inspection and Entry Order."

That’ll do it.

Egon and Vinz are in the basement as Janine goes down to warn Egon about Peck.

Janine: "He says they have a warrant!"

Peck comes down and demands that all the various things in the basement be shut off, which Egon warns them would be extremely hazardous. But Peck gets to throw his metaphorical penis around (despite being most well-known as “Dickless”) and list all the reasons why he can authorize the shutdown of all the equipment, while Vinz mimics the way he's pointing and gesturing.

It's hard to not watch him once you notice it.
Egon tries to explain that one does not simply turn of a laser grid. Basically, they've got a bunch of negatively charged particles (the ghosts) contained by a grid of positively charged particles. Shut off the positive particles, and all that energy has to go somewhere. Egon likens the effect to dropping a bomb on the city.  But Peck continues to insist. And as we saw in The Avengers, bureaucrats seem to be completely a-ok with bombing New York to solve a problem.

Cut, cut. Rick, can you stop laughing?
Peter comes in and is unfailingly polite to the police officer, offering to cooperate in any way he can.

Peck: "Forget it, Venkman. You had your chance to cooperate, but you thought it'd be more fun to insult me."

"And I was right."
Peck: "Well, now it is my turn, wiseass."

Peck demands that the ConEdison guy shut the grid off. And with reluctance, he does. An alarm blares. Zuul awakens. Light streams through between the cinder blocks in the wall. Everyone rushes outside as a light erupts into the sky, sending a huge burst of energy into the air that would only be rivaled once Loki got his hands of the Tesseract.

Oh, no! Too much pink energy is dangerous!
The crowd outside watches in awe as the energy streams into the air.

Including Ron Jeremy, who may not be a ghost, but still slimes people on a regular basis.
...I apologize for that joke.
Vinz: "This is it! This is the sign!"
Janine: "Yeah, it's a sign, all right! 'We're going out of business!'"

Ray and Winston arrive and get filled in real quick as Egon realizes that they lost the Keymaster.

Egon: "Oh, shit."

As they try to run after him, Peck stops him and yells string of charges for the cops to arrest the ghostbusters on.

Peck: "Captain, these men are in criminal violation of the Environmental Protection Act! And this explosion is a direct result of it!"
Egon: "Your mother...!"

Mick Smiley's "Magic" plays as the dead disperse into the city, causing havoc in the streets and converging on Dana's apartment in a massive explosion, which Vinz follows.

Well, I say "havoc."
And leave this ghost alone; he's just a literal working stiff trying to do his job.
The ghostbusters soon find themselves in prison. Winston, being the new guy, tries to get out of there, or get a phone call or something while the others go over the blueprints to Dana's apartment building.

Egon: "The structure of this roofcap is exactly like the kind of telemetry tracker that NASA uses to identify pulsars in deep space."
Ray: "Cold riveted girders with cores of pure selenium."

This wasn't accidental.

Ray: "I mean, the architect was either certified genius or an authentic wacko."

At Peter's urging, Ray puts it in simpler terms while the extras in the background act for all they're worth, pointing at the blueprints and making "What the heck is going on?" gestures.

Some top-notch background acting, there.
Ray: "You never studied. The whole building is a huge super-conductive antenna that was designed and built expressly for the purpose of pulling in and concentrating spiritual turbulence. Your girlfriend lives in the corner penthouse of Spook Central."
Venkman: "She's not my girlfriend."

Oh, just kiss, you two.
Venkman: "I find her interesting because she's a client and she sleeps above her covers. Four feet above her covers."

But Egon interrupts Peter to tell him that everything's been building up to this... building. He explains that the architect, Ivo Shandor, is also mentioned in Tobin's Spirit Guide. Apparently, he was also a doctor who did a lot of unnecessary surgery and formed a cult of Gozer worshippers in 1920. After WWI, Shandor decided that humanity deserved to die. And I can only imagine WWII put more fuel on the fire. So he and his thousand followers would regularly go up to the roof of that building to conduct rituals meant to bring about the end of the world. And if things keep going this way, they just might succeed.

Peter reacts by singing, Ray reacts by trying to figure out how to get out of there, and Winston reacts by taking stock of the situation.

Winston: "Now, we're actually gonna go before a federal judge and say that some moldy Babylonian god is gonna drop in on Central Park West and start tearing up the city?"
Egon: "Sumerian, not Babylonian."
Venkman: "Yeah, big difference."
Winston: "No offense, but I gotta get my own lawyer."

Luckily for them, an officer arrives to get them out because the mayor wants to talk to them about all the panic in the city as of late. Meanwhile, the Keymaster arrives at the apartment of Dana Barrett, finding the Gatekeeper within.

I'd imagine she was expecting something like this, though.)
Smooching happens, and they head up a flight of stairs that was once hidden behind Dana Barrett's fridge. The Ghostbusters are taken in front of the mayor (David Margulies) alongside Walter Peck. Peck gets to make his claims first, where he claims that the Ghostbusters are con men who use hallucinogens to convince people that they're seeing ghost before "saving" the day with a fake light show.

Ray: "Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here."
Peck: "They caused an explosion!"
Mayor: "Is this true?"
Peter: "Yes, it's true. This man has no dick."

"Eh. You get used to it."
After another quick round of fighting, the incident is broken up and the mayor is no closer to figuring out a solution. The police are claiming that the morning's events couldn't have just been a light show, and even stranger stuff has been reported.

Advisor: "The walls in the 53rd precinct are bleeding. How do you explain that?"

Suddenly, a priest comes in to talk to his buddy, Lenny the Mayor. He tells the mayor that, officially, the church is staying neutral on the phenomena. But he personally thinks it's a sign from God. Winston walks up to say his piece. After all, he's got to have some reason to be in the movie.

Winston: "I've only been with the company for a couple of weeks. But I gotta tell you, these things are real. Since I joined these men, I have seen shit that'll turn you white."

But the more time they spend talking, the more time a Sumerian god spends accumulating power and influence over the mortal realm. So the others put it in simple terms. Either Walter Peck is right, and everyone will be shrugging off the effects of hallucinogens in no time, or things are going to get bad. Like, biblical bad.

Mayor: "Whaadaya mean, 'Biblical'?"
Ray: "What he means is Old Testament, Mayor. Real wrath-of-God-type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the seas, rivers and seas boiling!"
Egon: "Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes...."
Winston: "The dead rising from the grave!"
Venkman: "Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats! Living together! Mass hysteria!"

But the mayor still can't put all his eggs in one basket. What if they're wrong?

Peter: "If I'm wrong, nothing happens! We go to jail! Peacefully, quietly, we'll enjoy it. But if I'm right, and we can stop this thing... Lenny... you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters."

And with the situation put in terms the Mayor can appreciate, he gets Peck thrown out of the room and asks the ghostbusters what they need. What they need is apparently a police escort to Central Park West and Alessi's "Saving the Day" playing in the background, because that's what they get.

When they arrive and suit up, the forces of Hell conspire to rip fixtures off the building and open up the ground, swallowing the team up into the obviously-foam fragments of the street. But after a few tense seconds, they climb out to the cheers and applause of the crowd.  It was actually this scene that led them to work on getting the rights to the "Ghostbusters" name. After shooting a few variations on "ghostsmashers" and "ghostblasters," they decided enough was enough.

Once inside, they discover their greatest obstacle yet: stairs. They have to walk up about twenty flights. Slowly. Painfully. Agonizingly.

An experience which players of the Ghostbusters NES game know all too well.
Venkman: "Where are we?"
Ray: "Looks like we're in the teens somewhere."
Venkman: "Okay, well, when we get to twenty, tell me. I'm gonna throw up."

On the roof, the Keymaster and Gatekeeper, both disheveled and with clothes suggesting they recently got done putting the key in the lock, if you know what I mean, take their posts for the end of the world.

Well, we already had the earthquake, so next up is birds, snake, and aeroplanes.
The ghostbusters finally end up on the 22nd floor and find Dana's apartment, along with a staircase that Peter didn't know about when he was there earlier.

Ray: "Hey, where do these stairs go?"
Venkman: "They go up."

The team heads up the stairs to a set made up to look like the roof of the building. Lightning streams down from the skies and flows through the bodies of the Keymaster and Gatekeeper, opening up a gigantic door to the other side, as well as turning them both into their natural hellhound forms.

Peter: "Okay. So. She's a dog."

The hellhounds take their places at the sides of what appears to be a stairway to heaven, but probably leads to something more like the other place. As the ghostbusters look on, a figure emerges from the crystal doors of the pyramid. Originally, it was going to be Paul Reubens in a business suit, playing Ivo Shandor, the current host of Gozer. But that was eventually changed to what we have here, pretty much at the last second.

"Who's a good hellhound? You are! Yes, you are!"
They took a body stocking, makeup, and bubble wrap and threw together a costume for Slavitza Jovan. And you know what? It freakin' works.  I really do love this design. The bubble wrap suggests that Gozer's body has bubbles of... something poking through. Almost as if its true form could barely be contained by the mortal flesh it has chosen.

I'll admit, though, it doesn't look as good in still frames.
But the gender of Gozer is what fascinates Winton the most; this whole time, he assumed "Gozer" was a man.

Egon: "It's whatever it wants to be."

Obligatory joke.
But it's time for action. If the library only taught them one thing, it's that they need to come at these things with the proper tools and a proper plan of action. And Peter has one.

Venkman: "Go get 'er, Ray!"

"It's your favorite plan, right, Ray?"
And so, Dan Aykroyd gets to launch into one of his trademark serious speeches. (See also: The Blues Brothers)

Ray: "Gozer the Gozerian? Good evening. As a duly designated representative of the city, county, and state of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension."
Venkman: "That oughtta do it; thanks very much, Ray."

But Gozer has one simple question for these flesh things that have dared to approach him/her.

Gozer: "Are you a god?"
Ray: "...no."
Gozer: "Then.... die!"

And Gozer shoots purple lighting out of his/her/its hands, which fail to kill them and fail to knock them off the edge of the building. Though they are a bit angry.

Winston: "Ray. When someone asks you if you're a god, you say yes!"
Venkman "All right. This chick is toast."

The team activates their proton packs, grabs their wands, and fires.... completely missing Gozer as he/she/it/they jumps over their heads and lands behind them. But they manage to hit Gozer the second time, who reacts by simply disappearing.

Venkman: "Wasn't so hard."

They take a look at the aftermath and Ray surmises that Gozer was "neutronized." Basically, they shot him/her/it/they/ze until his/her/its/their/zer/thons very particles decided that they didn't want to stick together anymore. The team is happy to call it a day until Egon takes some readings and realizes that they might as well be in a Final Fantasy game, because they've only defeated the final boss's first form. As the roof crumbles a bit more, the voice of Gozer demands that these mortal "sub-creatures" shall have the honor of choosing the form of the Destruct-or.

Venkman: "Whatever we think of. If we think of J. Edgar Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover will appear and destroy us. Okay, so empty your heads! Empty your heads, don't think of anything, we've only got one shot at this."
Gozer: "The choice is made."

Oh, God, J. Edgar Hoover's going to destroy them all. Great going, Peter.

Actually, they dodged a bit of a bullet, because the choice was made even before Peter mentioned J. Edgar Hoover.

Venkman: "Nobody choosed anything! Did you choose anything?"
Egon: "No."
Venkman: "Did you?"
Winston: "My mind is totally blank."
Venkman: "I didn't choose anything!"

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out who's to blame.

Ray: "I couldn't help it. It just popped in there."
Venkman: "What? What just popped in there?"

The answer comes in a physical form, walking down the streets of New York like a fluffy kaiju.

Ray: "...It's the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man."

It's like Bibendum joined the navy.
Venkman: "Well, there's something you don't see every day."
Ray: "I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay-Puft."

Should have gone with Baymax. Now there's a puffball who can’t hurt anyone.
Ray: "We used to roast Stay-Puft Marshmallows. By the fire at Camp Wauconda."

Isn't that where the Black Panther's from?

Venkman: "Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon. What have you got left?"
Egon: "Sorry, Venkman. I'm terrifed beyond the capacity for rational thought."

The enormous, gelatinous man rampages through the streets. But stepping on a church is the last straw, so the team takes aim and roasts the marshmallow man. Which means that now, the rampaging monster is on fire while attempting to climb up to them like King Kong. The ghostbusters take refuge elsewhere on the roof and discuss strategy.

Venkman: "We've been going about this all wrong. This Mr. Stay-Puft is okay. He's a sailor, he's in New York. We get this guy laid, we won't have any trouble!"

But Egon gets a better idea.

Egon: "The door swings both ways; we could reverse the particle flow through the gate."
Ray: "How?"
Egon: "...We'll cross the streams."

Now, if you've been following the fairly-accurate-but-still-made-up science that this movie operates on, this makes sense. Crossing the streams runs a risk of creating a chain reaction that forces every proton in the universe to repel every other proton, turning reality into one big proton haze. The goal is to make it happen on purpose to a different universe.

Venkman: "You're gonna endanger us. You're gonna our client. The nice lady who paid us in advance, before she became a dog."
Egon: "Not necessarily. There's definitely a very slim chance we'll survive."

And with no other options, they eagerly decide that slim hope is better than no hope and quickly go to put the plan into action.

"Oh no, they di-in't!"
The combined might of four proton streams combined into one creates a massive explosion, streaming out of the hellgate and melting Mr. Stay-Puft into marshmallow fluff, a massive glob of which glops all over Walter Peck, down below in the streets.

According to William Atherton, they were going to drop 75 pounds of the stuff on him until he protested, likening it to Middle School science class; a pound of rocks and a pound of feathers weigh the same amount. They tried to assure him that it was just shaving cream, but still tested the stunt with a professional stuntman, who was flattened. And then they agreed to only drop about 30 pounds on him.

So, Atherton dodged that bullet, at least.
The ghostbusters are covered in marshmallow, but generally fine. Except for the barely-covered Peter, who may be clean, but has to deal with pain of another kind when he finds an upturned statue of a hellhound.

Still, at least he doesn't smell like a s'more.
An offhand comment from Ray about the place smelling like barbecued dog hair quickly turns apologetic, with Dan Aykroyd's Canadian accent peeking out with every "Sore-y." But a claw breaks off, revealing a human hand beneath. And the team busts apart the statue to reveal a very-much-alive Dana Barrett as the music swells. Peter takes care of her as the other ghostbusters save Louis from the head of the statue he was trapped in. As he emerges, taking a look at the destruction of the rooftop....

Louis: "Boy, the superintendent's gonna be pissed."

Looks like everything's back to normal.

Ray: "You know, Mr. Tully, you are a most fortunate individual."
Louis: "I know." Ray: "You have been a participant in the biggest inter-dimensional cross-rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909."

1908, Ray. You’re not good with numbers, are you?

Louis: "It felt great."
Egon: "We'd like to get a sample of your brain tissue."
Louis: "Okay."

Winston looks around at the aftermath of the near-apocalypse and comes to his conclusion.

Winston: "I love this town!"

And the film... kind of ends as the credits roll over the epilogue to the familiar theme song. Peter and Dana kiss for the crowd as Ray lights up a smoke. Egon emerges safely, to Janine's relief, and Louis gets taken away and gets his blanket wrapped around him tighter by some emergency workers.

He must be in shock. He has a blanket.
As the team drives off, Slimer rushes the camera and the movie ends.

Alas, this little guy eluded the team and was free to ruin the animated series by taking over as the main focus.
Now, this movie is obviously a beloved classic. But why? What makes it work so well? Well, let's review.

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