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Filmmaker Mr. K
Ghostbusters II (1989)
It's slime time...
Okay, after posting a rather unfavorable review for "Blues Brothers 2000", I thought the least I could do is make a positive note to Aykroyd's other sequel.
I enjoyed "Ghostbusters II" very much. It was released in the middle of a film frenzy, competing with such films as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids", and the powerhouse blockbuster "Batman". GB2 held up pretty well. It delivered in every way that I hoped it would and continues to be a perennial favorite of mine. It has a different style and flair from the original, which isn't a bad thing. In fact, it benefits the film in many positive ways. The only gripe I have is the music score continuity. Elmer Bernstein's score for the first film fit Ghostbusters to a tee. I was sorry to see his contributions missing in the sequel. I see he has two other selections for the year 1989. I can only assume he wasn't available. This really is a minor gripe, especially since Randy Edelman provided a fine score for the film anyway. That said, I again throw in my nod to director Ivan Reitman and his remarkable cast & crew for making us scream and laugh at the supernatural one more time. Fantastic followup. I can only remark how much this film makes me yearn for a third outing. Unfortunately, it appears things aren't looking too well for getting the ball rolling on it.
Mr. Aykroyd, you've got this fan's support. For what it's worth, I would love to see "Ghostbusters III". I sincerely hope you can find some way to cut through the red tape. This is a great film series. It deserves another addition.
An inspired stinker
This sit-com is really far too mean-spirited to be taken humorously and too sappy to be taken seriously. It tries to stimulate nostalgia, but instead gives us a frustrating look of the world through the eyes of a helpless, hopeless, horny young man. Oh, he's a fine performer and does a remarkable job with the role he's offered, but the character itself receives little sympathy from me. The writing is banal at best. The concept doesn't lend itself to much longevity that I can foresee. However, this looks exactly like the type of show that would burden itself with the introduction of another kid, or a new dad, or something further down the line to help boost forthcoming sinking ratings (if it even survives long enough for that to be a concern, probably a moot point). I was interested to see Katey Sagal's name in the credits. I was more interested in just how much I can't stand her character. Of course, it was designed that way. I'm not supposed to like her. But, good Lord, I think they need to let off the gas with the 'evil aunt' element. She didn't have to be so hate-inducing. We want to like her on some level. This show won't work if we don't. Otherwise, we'll just go through the paces of Tucker vs. Aunt like Oliver Twist plowing through unhappiness with his evil caretakers. This show needs to be more human in regards to its characters. It needs charm. Otherwise, this show will soon be a parting memory.
Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
I know you love the music, but you folks have to make a movie workable first...
Ah, "Blues Brothers 2000", this hotly anticipated sequel had my immediate interest, as I was a huge fan of the original, and I have a lot of respect for Mr. Aykroyd and his work. Unfortunately, this effort left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The fault wasn't in the music or performers. The problem wasn't the missing element of Belushi's charm. Nor does the problem lie in the execution. It was very well made. I expect nothing better than top-notch direction from Mr. Landis, and "Blues Brothers 2000" delivered. The problem with this film is the shoddy story, humor (or lack thereof), and unforgivably unsatisfying ending.
I was very pleased to see so many returning faces, such as Kathleen Freeman, Frank Oz, and Bob- and of course the musical legends James Brown, Aretha Franklin, etc. They were completely in their element with this film. The performances were of the highest caliber and was a joy to watch. The car chase scenes, although scarce, were very entertaining. I especially loved the scene following the Blues Brothers encounter with Bob, the disgruntled bar owner from the first film (a restauranteur in this sequel). The Blues Brothers magic was in full form during this car chase sequence. This film needed more of it, much more. SPOILER ALERT The story however....let's break it down and see where we went wrong. The opening is fine, Elwood is released from an 18 year stint. What's unbelievable here is that he would have NO idea of the fate of his brother Jake. Next up on the no-no meter is the revelation that, despite all the effort the Blues Brothers made to save the Penguin's orphanage in the first film, it was closed down and sold anyway! Everything the Blues Brothers had achieved in the first film was completely shot to hell. A minor thing that I find amusing is how Cab (Morton) has an EXTREMELY short conversation via phone with his mother regarding his lineage. He plops the question on her like a ton of bricks, gets his answer, and hangs up on her with total ease. What the? I understand the pace of the film has to be given precedence, but damn! And finally, the ending...what a shame this is. We journey with Elwood to perform a concert contest for the Voodoo Queen (definate Landis influence here with Aykroyd flair). Why does he need to be there? We don't know, but we'll root for him anyway. Here's the bummer- he loses the contest. Very unsatisfying. We want Elwood to win this contest. We appreciate the rival Louisiana Gator Boys' immense list of talent, but come on! This isn't who's supposed to win. Anyhow, the film ends precisely with what we want to see more of...hundreds of cops chasing the Bluesmobile down the road. We're only treated with this at the very end, and it doesn't but a minute. A shame. "Blues Brothers 2000" is mostly populated with the kinds of elements that we fast-forward on the original. Too much of the bad stuff and definitely not enough of the things that made the original such a fun treat. And most disappointing of all was the poorly executed humor. This film had nothing but forced gags which left audiences chuckling only due to the fact that they felt they should. I can only identify two times that this film got genuine laughs. One line of Goodman's concerning a medical college, and another from one of Aykroyd's wonderfully mind-boggling monologues concerning the fall of the Romanovs.
I'm not in the business of badmouthing people, and I still have immense respect for Aykroyd, Landis, and the various cast/crew/performers from this film and I know they will continue to achieve great things in their careers; but I won't hesitate to point out bad performances and bad mistakes. "Blues Brothers 2000" is ridden with too many bad mistakes that SHOULDN'T have happened.