Ghostbusters 2 Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters should have been left as a one-off. Its Casablanca-like commingling of accidents and serendipity couldn't be expected to strike twice in the same place, and so Ghostbusters 2 comes off as both too similar and too different. Similar in that it pathetically reproduces the arc of the original: the Ghostbusters are hated (this time for causing the devastation of the first film), the Ghostbusters become popular, the Ghostbusters find the evil force, the Ghostbusters kick ass and take names. Different in that it is completely slavish to this basic plot thread — where the first was a constant barrage of weird aesthetic digressions, this is sturdily, dependably and tediously plot-driven. And the plot's motor — a Carpathian tyrant trying to reach beyond the grave while amniotic goo flows under NYC — simply lacks the conceptual punch of its predecessor. Having to compete with actual screenwriting this time around, Bill Murray's ad-libs repeatedly fall flat, some lame sentimentality involving Sigourney Weaver's instant son annoys intensely and, worst of all, the ghost design department is cartoon-ish instead of creepy and threatening. One gets the feeling that everybody knows this is a rush job (only Rick Moranis excels as the nerdy Louis Tully), and that they're falling back on the one thing GB1 could be counted on to avoid: cuteness. By the time they've enlisted Lady Liberty as their pinch-hitting Stay-Puft Man, you know the jig is up. The original was a pop masterpiece that constantly dared you to believe your eyes; GB2 is all too believable as coming from the professional mediocrity that is Ivan Reitman, and can't hope to compete with the freak occurrence that was 1984's big ticket. Also included on the disc are two episodes of the kiddie cartoon The Real Ghostbusters, which pull the unlikely stunt of making the feature look brilliant by comparison. (Sony)