Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ghostbusters VS Men In Black


                                                                TALE OF THE TAPE

               Title: Ghostbusters                                                     Title: Men In Black
               Tomato Meter: 93%                                                    Tomato Meter: 91%
                IMDB Rating: 7.8                                                        IMDB Rating: 7.0
               Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd                              Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones
               Director: Ivan Reitman                                                Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
               Box Office: $229 million                                              Box Office: $250 million
               Academy: 2 nominations                                            Academy: 1 win
               Year: 1984                                                                   Year: 1997

Out of this world Sci-Fi Comedies seek to annihilate each other with slapstick special effects in this Showdown match-up. 

Ghostbusters is a comedic juggernaut. Take a couple SNL alumnus, a fantastic screenplay, and comedy director Ivan Reitman, and you have a winning formula. Three 30-something Science Majors get kicked out of the university, and go into business for themselves. Their business? Catching ghosts. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis aren't just excellent in this film, but arguably put in the performances of their careers. The screenplay is so well written, not one line seems forced or artificial. The dialogue is organic, and probably improvised in places. Ivan Reitman balances this film between pseudo science and gadgetry that actually makes the plot believable, and farcical whimsy that generates one laugh after another. Special effects are top notch. What the Lightsaber did for Star Wars, the Proton Pack does for Ghostbusters. The interpersonal relationships are fully fleshed out, including the love triangle between Peter, Louis, and Dana. Egon is totally oblivious to the fact that their secretary Janine has a crush on him. Walter Peck, from the EPA, is looking to shut the Ghostbusters down. And Winston is just a blue collar joe that's hired on, looking for a decent paycheck. Things escalate as an inter-dimensional portal is opened, and a demi-god named Gozar enters our world looking to destroy mankind. Gozar chooses a form for itself to destroy us with that just have to see it.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones play Agents J and K respectively. While chasing a thief through the streets of New York, Officer James (Will Smith) corners the thief who displays strange behavior and warns him that the planet is in danger, then leaps off the building. Agent K sees this and is impressed with James, offering him a job with the M.I.B. James soon learns that space aliens indeed walk the Earth and live among us, and the M.I.B. are here to police any and all alien activity. James takes the assignment and becomes agent J. Tommy Lee and Will Smith crank up the buddy cop, veteran/rookie relationship to a new level as J is introduced to dozens of alien races and unique devices like the noisy cricket and the "flashy thing." Like Ghostbusters, high tech gadgets and out of this world bad guys make up the bulk of this situational comedy. From day one, J's on the job training is a trial by fire, as he must do everything from an alien shakedown, to delivering a baby alien in the back of a taxi cab, to stopping a giant mad insect from starting an intergalactic war. Will Smiths obnoxious loud mouth persona first introduced in The Fresh Prince Of Bell Air complements Tommy Lee Jones' deadpan delivery and straight-man style comedy.

Both films come out of the gate strong, scoring several knock down blows. MIB pulls ahead during round 6 with its endless amount of aliens and cool gadgets that dazzle the audience. However, with deeper characterization, and a more satisfying ending, Ghostbusters refuse to go down and delivers a powerhouse uppercut scoring the Knock Out by round 13.

Winner: Ghostbusters

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