What is more fun than watching a documentary about something you love? Documentaries can be informative and tell a story as well. We want to connect to this story and feel like you are learning something new that speaks to us. Sure, there are profound documentary films that might be the ones that push the limits of what filmmaking can do but sometimes you just want something to sit and enjoy. As a cinephile, I am always excited to learn more about my favorite films and I am in luck! In honor of the (potentially) nearing release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, we get to see behind the curtain of the original film.
What does Anthony Bueno’s new documentary bring to the table? In general, Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters is not a particularly bold or ambitious film. The visuals are flat, and the footage is standard (specifically from a time from when the late great Harold Ramis was still with us). The documentary also takes a straightforward approach to the story with the pre-production commentary then it slowly walks through the film scene-by-scene (more or less). The two-hour plus runtime can also be a bit daunting which causes the pacing to drag from time-to-time. It is safe to say this is not a perfect film.
But how much do all those things matter when you just want to learn about one of the best horror-comedies of all time? To be honest, it is easy to get past. As a fan of Ghostbusters, it was great to hear from the cast and crew themselves about the film. Dan Aykroyd’s perspective on where this idea came from and how paranormal research is so significant to his family. Honestly, I would pay immediately to see a film of his original script. You also get to hear from Ivan Reitman (the director), Ramis (one of the creative forces and stars), and so many of the minor character actors as well. Unfortunately, there are no scenes with Bill Murray but there is representation from almost literally everyone else. There is plenty of insight from all those involved in the film creating a fun new experience that helps broaden the perspective of the original classic.
Would this film feel out of place on television networks life A&E? Honestly, it would feel right at home on one of their series focusing on classic movies. But that doesn’t really matter because it is enjoyable and will make all of the Ghostbusters fans out there happy. When it comes down to it, that is what matters, right?