Look, I could be cynical about a re-release of Ghostbusters. I could talk about pandering to the same 80s nostalgia that makes people blow their money on the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, or I could complain that the fact that a studio is putting a 30-year-old comedy back into theatres on what's historically the calendar's slowest box-office weekend as a way of promoting the Blu-ray special edition that comes out next month.
But here's the thing: it's Ghostbusters. And Ghostbusters is not a cynical movie. It is, in fact, delightfully pure - a movie that understands cynicism and drives the Ecto-1 straight through it.
It's a movie about a supernatural apocalypse that actually engages with the ramifications of paranormal activity on a philosophical level ("Do you believe in God, Ray?" "Never met him") and still finds room for Bill Murray goofing around with Sigourney Weaver. (He's a slacker parapsychologist who uses his technobabble to get laid, she's a Lincoln Center cellist who sees right through him and kinda likes him anyway.)
When Harold Ramis died earlier this year, I got to write a little bit about why his rewrite of Dan Aykroyd's script is what makes Ghostbusters so special. Aykroyd was fascinated by the elaborate mythology of Zuul and Gozer the Destructor; Ramis refocused the narrative on the Ghostbusters themselves, making them a trio of academics who luck into a private-sector application of their spectral-busting technology.
That's what's at the heart of Ivan Reitman's 1984 blockbuster, for all the elaborate ILM chaos and manic energy and whatever it is Rick Moranis is doing as hapless accountant Louis Tully. It's about a bunch of friends saving the world. It's a hangout movie, maybe even the first one - you watch it because it's just so pleasurable to be around those guys as they do their thing. That's why Ghostbusters was the biggest comedy hit of its day; that's why it stuck around on home-video and cable, and why it's worth checking out on a big screen now.
You must have one friend who's never seen it; take that friend out this weekend, and watch his or her face instead of the movie. Trust me, it's fun.