Ghostbusters II screenshot

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Having faded into obscurity since defeating Gozer, the Ghostbusters are back to save the day from a new threat, and not even all the cynicism in New York can stand in their way.

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Ghostbusters established funny, interesting characters and left the door open to tell any number of subsequent stories, which is why this sequel manages to disappoint in a lot of ways. But while Ghostbusters II may not be as memorable and timeless as the original, it is a solid, entertaining, and uplifting followup.

The Ghostbusters have mostly gone their separate ways, but a river of pink "mood slime" flowing beneath New York City causes enough trouble to bring them back together. Their investigation leads to a mysterious painting of a long-dead Carpathian named Vigo (Wilhelm von Homburg, voiced by Max von Sydow) and a plot to take over the world. Once again, it's up to the Ghostbusters to save the day.

Ghostbusters II screenshot

Ghostbusters II retreads much of the same ground as Ghostbusters for the sake of making a sequel that's similar to the original. The stakes feel lower and Vigo's defeat is a foregone conclusion. Perhaps most obviously, Bill Murray (returning as protagonist Peter Venkman) often seems distant and disinterested. Yet in spite of all this, it manages to have moments as funny as the first film and be infinitely more heartwarming.

For a movie about ghosts and slime, the warning that Ghostbusters II gives us is all-too realistic. Allowing so much negativity to exist in the world opens the door for evil men like Vigo to gain power and control. Negativity is everywhere, and it can spread like wildfire. Of course, positivity can be equally contagious, but that's much harder to see when you're already surrounded by bad vibes. The Ghostbusters' usual tools aren't enough to defeat the Carpathian; instead, the same slime that allows him to enter our world is used to cast him out of it, and all it takes is a positive charge instead of a negative one.

Ghostbusters II is a call for all of us to come together as a community, as a family, and as a team. The Ghostbusters get back together because the world needs them more than ever, but it's only with the support of their fellow New Yorkers that they're able to once again save the day.

Ghostbusters II poster Ghostbusters II title screen

Director

  • Ivan Reitman

Cast

  • Bill Murray as Peter Venkman
  • Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz
  • Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler
  • Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore
  • Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett
  • Rick Moranis as Louis Tully
  • Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz
  • Peter MacNicol as Janosz Poha