This past Thursday night, the Toronto Underground theatre held another instalment of its wonderful Defending the Indefensible series. The premise of the series is simple, two individuals, be it critics, bloggers, or a combination of the two, get in front of an audience and debate why they either love or hate a particular film. The film is then screened for the audience. Afterwards the audience can ask questions to the participants based on what they just saw. The best part is that all the proceeds go to charity. This week's edition featured Sasha James defending Equilibrium and Matt Brown slamming Ghostbuster II.
In this science fiction action tale, the world has suffered through three World Wars and cannot live through another one. The leaders of the dystopian city of Libria, see the elimination of human emotion as the only way to prevent another war. Using medication to suppress desire and expression and an elite task force, known as Cleric to seek out anyone who may be violating the "Sense Offense" laws, the Council keeps its citizens in check. When Cleric John Preston's (Christian Bale) partner, Errol Partridge (Sean Bean), is found guilty of violating the laws, Preston is a assigned a new partner Brandt (Taye Diggs). They are commissioned with finding the underground resistance movement, who are promoting the right to feel, and destroy them once and for all. Yet when Preston begins to interrogate a beautiful resistance member, Mary O'Brien (Emily Watson), the lines between what he has been told is right and what he is starting to feel are blurred.
Equilibrium is a film that was clearly influenced by The Matrix and practically every science fiction film ever made. I remember being on the fence, in regards to my feelings towards Equilibrium, when I originally viewed the film several years ago. I had enjoyed the stylized gun play, referred to as "Gun Kata", but found elements of the story lacking. This time around, I realized just how silly Equilibrium really is, and the film take itself way too seriously. Having said that, I must say that I had a lot of fun watching it with an audience, I originally saw it on DVD, as the majority seem to revel in the absurdity of it all. To say that Equilibrium has some potholes would be a huge understatement. The leaps in logic throughout the film are just astounding. Scenes are sloppily thrown together to form a bridge of sorts between all the Gun Kata.
Original Reaction: I have no emotion (Grade C)
On Second Thought: I feel like taking Gun Kata on this whole production. (Grade D)
Picking up five years after the events of the previous film, Ghostbusters II finds our fun loving paranormal fighting team on hard times. They have been sued by the city of New York for all the destruction they caused while saving the city. Bankrupt, The Ghostbusters have been forced to close up shop and take jobs, some of which are rather demeaning, elsewhere. However when they discover a river of ectoplasm flowing beneath New York, the team is determined to find its source. Little do they know that the ectoplasm is linked to a 17 century sorcerer, Vigo the Carpathian, looking for a new body to host his spirit. Fortunately for Vigo he does not have to look too far as Dana’s (Sigourney Weaver) infant son fits the bill perfectly.
Having a fondness for The Ghostbusters series I was interested to see how Matt Brown would take it apart. While he made some solid points against the film, I found that my love for the film did not waiver enough for me to consider it a bad film. Yes, the last act of the film is much weaker than I had remembered. It really does squander all the energy that the film had built to that point. Yet I find that the first half is the film’s saving grace. Bill Murray is hilarious in this section as he generates big laughs with the simplest of facial expressions. Everything from when his character, Dr. Peter Venkman, is hosting the physic centric television show to his attempts at winning back Dana’s heart is comedic gold. In fact the entire cast is solid in the first half of the film; I even enjoyed the relationship between Louis (Rick Moranis) and Janine (Annie Potts) a lot more this time around. Despite the obvious flaws with the last act, I still think Ghostbusters II is an entertaining comedy that still offers plenty to enjoy.
Original Reaction: Who am I going to call? Ghostbusters! (Grade A-)
On Second Thought: Who am I going to call? Ghostbusters! (Grade B)