Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ghostbusters Retrospective

Ghostbusters Retrospective
By Rob Jefchak

Being a 80s baby, I was born too young to soak up all the truly amazing stuff that was coming out at that name until much later: Nightmare on Elm Street, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and of course…Ghostbusters. A film that is truly timeless even after 30 long years, Ghostbusters hasn’t lost an ounce of its proton blasting magic; it’s still as fresh, funny and fascinating as it was when it first came out. Being a lover of nostalgia, I am often painfully reminded that not everything you watched as a kid is as amazing and awesome as you remember it. Ghostbusters has actually gotten better with age and still influences our films and pop culture media.

I think one of the things that always impacted me the most from this film was the ingenious concept behind the titular job itself. As a child, I always thought that would be the greatest job in the world: running around town with nuclear blasters catching ghosts and being heroes for hire in a sense. Lots of kids aspire for more realistic “hero” positons like policemen, fire fighters or doctors, but not me; I always wanted to be a Ghostbuster and in some ways…I still do (if it were a real job of course). Growing up as a hopeless Ghostbusters addict, I begged my parents with a passion to help get my hands on every kind of Ghostbuster toy manufactured.  I even got toy proton packs and blasters and dressed up as a Ghostbuster once for Halloween.

Surprisingly enough, long running 80’s kids franchises like Ninja Turtles and Transformers have countless incarnations of different movies, TV shows and toys that come out every couple of years. Yet Ghostbusters stands slim in numbers with only 2 films and about 3 cartoon series total. I guess one way to look at it is that the power and effectiveness of the brilliant writing in the films speaks volumes on how well this series stands on its own 2 films; proving great value in circulation without recycling a new show or movie out so often. Even though I was too young to see the movie when it came out on video, I have fond memories of my dad always showing my younger brother and I movies we shouldn’t watch anyway because he was easy going like that.

90% of the time the film wasn’t scary to me as a child (though the devil/demon dogs did cause a few nightmares). I didn’t understand a lot of the more mature jokes until I was much older, but I heard them so many times that I was repeating them like crazy even without realizing what I was saying. It’s also thanks to Ghostbusters that I was introduced to one of my all-time favorite and most beloved fictional characters ever: the Stay Puft Marshmallow man. I remember the first time I saw him; I was totally fixated on the character. Even though he wasn’t on screen for very long and he was easily defeated by the Ghostbusters, something about him stuck with me and to this day; I still have a massive (one could say obsessive) fascination with the giant Marshmallow man monster.

There are many big name, well known films that touch and influence society in a way that it becomes engrained into our culture that it practically becomes required reading (or in this case viewing). Star Wars, Indiana Jones and The Terminator come to mind for instance. But “legendary” films with that kind of hype sometimes divide people with their tastes and expectations, but Ghostbusters unifies everyone with its humor and ground breaking special effects. This is a film that everyone should see multiple times in their life; it is an experience and unique media cultural treasure that will produce many laughs for countless years to come.