Out of all the major 80s blockbusters built around spectacle, Ghostbusters might be expected to be the most dated, not just because its spectacle tends to be driven by computer generated technology - rather than, say, the animatronics of Gremlins, or prosthetics of Carpenter and Cronenberg - but because of the sheer extent to which it's driven by that spectacle, as evinced in a refreshingly brief conclusion, in which any expected or projected action sequence is subordinated to a very short stand-off with a series of computer generated images. However, this is offset by the naive wonder with which Reitman delivers his spectacle - a naivete that channels the 50s comic ghost films that served as inspiration - meaning that it doesn't really matter that the special effects have dated, it just reiterates their quaint credulity. This isn't anachronism either - quaintness is a critical part of the film's aesthetic, its unwillingness to properly feel or contemplate the present, perhaps explaining why it bypasses the present altogether, projecting a fragment of the deep past into an apocalyptic future, in the form of the supernatural Babylonian force that unleashes a plague of ghosts on New York City, and turns a team of paranormal investigators (Harold Ramis, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray) into the men of the hour. It's this positioning of the past as a special effect, something that can only be computer generated, that forms the film's charm, and contributes to its inability to think beyond the architectural and topographical contours of 80s Manhattan, with the result that anything built or envisaged before that time is collapsed into the hyper-Gothic building around which the action revolves, and which becomes a kind of synecdoche for the city itself, a city-within-the-city. Yet this image of Gothic pastness also references the film's apocalyptic anxieties, its cake-like structure gesturing towards a latent fear that the entirety of Manhattan will, at some point, become a disposable-consumable object - when asked to remove everything from his mind, the only thing the mayor can't expunge is his anticipation of his next marshmallow - and explaining why most of the ghosts, and discussions of them, tend to revolve around fast food in some way: "Let's say this twinky represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area." It's this recognition that fast food consumption has reached paranormal levels that comes to be the film's most enduring joke, paving the way for the parallel connection between paranormal and sexual service and, by extension, for Murray's performance of Dr. Venkman, one of the strongest in his career (Ramis and Ackroyd are little more than his vehicles), and the point at which his dry, laconic charisma took on its edgier, associate-professiorial pedantry.