Thursday, February 11, 2016

Recap: "Ghostbusters II" Part 3: The New Age

And so, we're in the homestretch. If this movie's streak of reusing the first movie's formula continues, there's going to be a ghost rampage, our heroes will be freed because of said rampage, and the Ghostbusters will save the day, meet the cheering crowd, and the movie will end.

Spoiler Alert: All of that happens. Why do I even need to recap this in full again?
You know, we haven't seen Janosz in a while. At the moment, he's at the museum, sitting in a circle of candles before his favorite painting.

Janosz: "I await the word of Vigo!"

"I keep telling you, leave me alone!"
Vigo: "I, Vigo, the Scourge of Carpathia...."
Janosz: "I know, you told me this, the scourge."
Vigo: "...the sorrow of Moldavia...."
Janosz: "Sorrows, I've heard all of this, yes."
Vigo: "...command you."
Janosz: "Command me, oh, lord."
Vigo: "The season of evil begins with the birth of the new year."

I'll get to that statement in a second; just store that in the back of your head.

Vigo still wants to inhabit Oscar, and if Janosz delivers, then Vigo even promises his minion Dana Barrett as payment. Speaking of her, she, Louis, and Janine are watching Citizen Kane because they refuse to leave her alone, just in case.

As a storm starts a-brewin' outside, Oscar manages to get lured out of a window onto the building ledge. Dana, checking up on him, frantically follows him out, where she can only watch in horror as a spectral Janosz, dressed up as a nanny, nabs him and takes him away.

Movie, you can't even faze me at this point.
Dana heads off to find her baby as Louis vows to find the Ghostbusters. Currently, they're explaining the movie thus far to Bill Murray's brother a doctor.

Ray: "As I explained before, we think the spirit of a 17th century Moldavian tyrant is alive and well in a painting at the Manhattan Museum of Art."
Dr. Murray: "Uh-huh. And are there any other paintings with bad spirits in them?"

Well, there's one by Ralph Cutillo called "Ghost Inside." I wouldn't be surprised if that title was actually a warning.

Egon: "You're wasting valuable time."

So is this movie.

I mean, we all know that their incarceration is quickly going to be reversed after all the ghosts start wreaking havoc, so this whole scene is just a buttload of false tension. I could be doing something more worthwhile, like creating Super Mario Maker levels, or cleaning my cats’ litter boxes.

Egon: "He's drawing strength from a psychomagnotheric slime flow that's been collecting under the city."
Dr. Murray: "Yes, tell me about the slime."
Winston: "It's very potent stuff. We made a toaster dance with it."
Dr. Murray: "Toaster."
Winston: "And a bathtub tried to eat his friend's baby."
Dr. Murray: "A bathtub?"
Peter: "Don't look at me. I think these people are completely nuts."

"Don't look at me, Brian. Harold and Dan are the ones who wrote this mess."
Beneath the city, the slime flow increases as Dana reaches the museum. Once she goes inside, the slime reaches critical mass and pours from every surface of the museum, creating an impenetrable strawberry-flavored shell around it. Her rescue attempt fails, and she ends up with Janosz creeping at her, trying to explain that Vigo will possess the baby soon, making her the mother of the ruler of the world.

Janosz: "Doesn't that sound nice?"

Dana disagrees and ends up trapped in an alcove while Oscar returns to the evil pedestal of evil. Outside, "Flip City" by Glenn Prey plays while the huddles masses of New York panic over the inundation of slime. Basically, it's the inevitable rehash of the mass releasing of ghosts from the first film. Heck, there's even a gag here that was cut from that sequence in the first film, where a lady's mink coat comes to life. Or maybe it's ermine, I forget which one has white fur.

The ghost designs are pretty cool, though.
Ghosts swarm, skeletons attack people, and a Cheech Marin cameo watches the Titanic come in.

Cheech: "Well, better late than never."

I wonder if undead Leonardo DiCaprio walks among them.
The next day, the New York authorities are powerless to stop the swarm of the supernatural. And to round out the cameos, Philip Baker Hall as the commissioner, and Ben Stein. Just... Ben Stein.

The mayor arrives to tell them to bring in the Ghostbusters, which Hardemeyer scoffs at.

Mayor: "Jack. I spent an hour last night in my bedroom talking to Fiorello LaGuardia and he's been dead for forty years."

When Hardemeyer admits that he sent them to the nuthouse, he gets fired as the mayor demands that they be released. Meanwhile, outside, a pink mist coalesces over the museum.

With the mental hospital subplot abandoned, Louis brings the Ghostbusters up to speed as they suit up while leaving Parkview. They arrive at the giant Jell-O mold of a forcefield while, inside, Janosz desperately tries to convince Dana that being his bride would be a good idea. While Dana pretends to agree, the good guys stand outside the forcefield and find out that their proton packs can't even make a dent in it. The negative energy is too strong.

Crossing the streams? That's, like, so 1984.
So who wants to see our heroes massage New York's ego? What's that? Almost nobody outside of New York City cares about how NYC is the best city in the world, suck it, Rome, London, Paris, and Tokyo?

Well, too bad.

Ray: "I mean, sure, it's dirty, it's crowded, it's polluted, it's noisy, and there's people all around who'd just as soon step of your face as look at you.... but come on. There've got to be a few sparks of sweet humanity left in this burnt-out borough. We just have to figure out a way to mobilize it."
Egon: "He's right. We need something that everybody in this town can get behind."

Thin crust pizza? Oh, wait, Ray prefers Chicago-style.

Egon: "We need... a symbol."

A bat.

Ray: "Something that appeals to the best in each and every one of us."


Egon: "Something good."


Winston: "Something decent."


Peter: "Something pure."

...Filtered tap water?

They decide on none other than...

License plates!
...the Statue of Liberty, and make their way there using the power of editing.

Peter: "Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?"
Egon: "Wonder what?"
Peter: "Whether she's naked under that toga. She's French, you know that."

They spend some time hooking up a speaker system inside of the statue, Once that's done they take some positively charged slime they prepared earlier and spray the whitish goo all over her insides using their long, cylindrical slime shooters.

...No comment.
Anyway, Jackie Gleason's "Higher and Higher" echoes through the statue's structure, allowing Egon to control it with a modified NES Advantage controller. Just go with it, we're almost at the climax.
Libby's torch bursts into flame as she wades through the water to the shore, while Janine suits up Louis in Egon's old outfit. Honestly, if you believe that Janine is only interested in Louis as a poor man's Egon, this is just throwing fuel on your fire.

He heads off to the museum, as do the Ghostbusters. Libby walks down the street to the applause of the crowd, and not screaming and panicking, like you'd expect. After all, the last giant humanoid to waltz through town stepped on a church and covered everyone in marshmallow fluff.

"Run, it's happening again!"
"Oh, God, no!"
"She just crushed a police car!"
"Her torch just set a building on fire!"
As they slowly make their way, Louis gets a ride on a bus being driven by Slimer. For some reason.

Still not fazing me, movie.
Louis: "Okay. But I didn't know you had your license."

Inside the museum, it's one minute to midnight, and Dana and Janosz are wearing festive hats as the possession begins.

Kill it. Kill it with fire.
Remember when I told you to remember Vigo's line?

Vigo: "The season of evil begins with the birth of the new year."

Okay. so. Simple question.

Why does Vigo need to enact his plan at the stroke of midnight on the New Year?

Firstly, the idea of "midnight" being the start of a new day is a human construction. We could have decided that the new day began at 1 AM, or even 5:35 in the afternoon if we felt like it.

Second, midnight where? New York? Why? Because you just happen to be there? It's already next year in Europe. However you decide to bring your little "season of evil" to them, it won't be marked by the new year. So why are you so bent on ushering your reign with the new year?

Third, the "new year" is, once again, a human construction with no real cosmic significance. It's just the arbitrarily-decided time when we decide we'll start counting up to 365 days or so. And the Chinese celebrate New Year on a different day, so not even that part of it is universal.

So basically, I'm just wondering what kind of New Year-linked supernatural forces Vigo is supposed to be drawing on here. But before he completely draws on them, the Statue of Liberty breaks in the skylight dome on the museum, giving Dana a chance to remove Vigo from the pedestal. This stops the possession, because the pedestal is apparently important to the process, I guess? It's never explained.

As the Ghostbusters arrive on the scene, they hose down Janosz with positive slime and celebrate an Oscar well-rescued. That's when Vigo wreaks some telekinetic havoc to restrain Dana as Peter hides Oscar in the corner. And then Vigo suddenly has a physical form, which just raises all kinds of questions.

Foremost on my mind: Did the artist actually paint a full background before painting in Vigo?
The proton packs just make him flinch, and he retaliates with some kind of paralytic energy.

Too much pink energy is dangerous.
Vigo finds the baby in the corner and picks him up, grinning evilly about possessing him.

It's the Circle of Life!
So, unable to move, our heroes insult him to keep him from focusing on his plan to actually possess the kid. It's mostly made up of unfunny jokes about his looks and how if Vigo were smart, he'd have gone to California and lived it up. Vigo responds by zapping them again, and I can't say I blame him.

But the positive energy of the assembled crowd outside forgetting most of the words to "Auld Lang Syne" seems to weaken him and interrupt the possession process. Meaning that Vigo's whole plan of doing this on New Year's Eve in New York was going to be a failure from the get go.

And if positive energy weakens him this easily, then I can think of a team more equipped to deal with this particular threat.

Who ya gonna call?
While Louis arrives and prepares to shoot the forcefield surrounding the museum, the team regains the ability to move. Dana grabs Oscar after Vigo drops him and the Ghostbusters force Vigo back into the painting. They prepare to blast the painting once and for all, but Ray gets in their way and just stares at it again because of his abandoned subplot.

"Hey, guys! A camera!"
Originally, Ray would have had bouts of being secretly possessed by Vigo, where he would "accidentally" try and kill the rest of the team. But it was scaled back until all that remained was a few goofy stares and the next bit.

When Ray turns around, Vigo has taken possession of his body. Which, if he could do this the whole time, makes one wonder why Vigo needed a baby. Why couldn't Vigo just possess Janosz?

Well, if my options of forms were "baby" or "demonic old man," I'd pick the former, too.
But Ray gets mood slimed as the painting gets zapped. As the Ghostbusters save the day, the forcefield outside disappears. And coincidentally, it disappears just as Louis shot it with his proton pack.

Louis excitedly celebrates, and runs around yelling "I'm a Ghostbuster!" This whole bit might seem random, but it's actually the leftovers to a deleted subplot. Originally, Louis would start having Ghostbuster envy after seeing Slimer following him around. So after multiple unsuccessful busting attempts, Slimer would bury the hatchet and drive him to the museum, whereupon Louis would "save the day" and finally feel like a real member of the team. Like Ray's possession, it made more sense before they cut most of it out.

The team helps Ray and Janosz up, and they feel great, telling everyone that they love them. Speaking of love, Peter and Dana kiss, and it's all romantic and junk. But what of Vigo's painting?

All right, I got nothing, movie. The Hell is this?
And our heroes emerge to the cheers of the crowd while the credits roll. I don't buy it. The last movie apparently had our heroes breaking up and getting sued after the film faded to black, so why should we think that this time will be any different?

Heck, the Statue of Liberty's just lying there in the road. Who's to say that the Ghostbusters won't get sued for that?

Whatever, we get some clips that weren't used in the movie for the credits...

Man, Slimer got ugly. Er.
...and the team gets the key to the city on Liberty Island, which has its statue in the right place again.

So. Was this movie an utter travesty? An underrated gem? Simply okay? My answer... may actually surprise you. Let's review.


  1. Well, the ghost stuff is affected by emotions, right? So the very thoughts can affect supernatural of this world. Then I can believe that New Year matters to supernatural forces because there is around quite a few people that consider New Year an important event. Similarly, I could imagine ghost that becomes more powerful during Valentines who could lose power if Ghostbusters convinced enough people that it's already February 15th by messing with clocks.

    Also, small request. Remember when you made "set up us a bomb" joke and then joked few times that you can check off that one of the list? You may now very much check off "Too much pink energy" gag. Seriously, you used it like 6 times at least, including last Ghostbusters. Pink energy happens, it no longer meme-worthy.

    - Faceless Enigma

    1. Hmmm.... You raise an interesting point. Still, perhaps the New Year isn't the best time to enact an evil plan if you're weakened by the positive vibes of singing. It might be a cliche, but Halloween seems like the best time to draw on the darkness in people's hearts.

      And... Point taken.