Call it fate, call it luck, call it karma, but after years, no, decades of waiting, Ghost hunters Fans finally get a proper sequel to the original Ghost hunters via Jason Reitmans Ghostbusters: Afterlife – at least judging by this incredibly cool (and incredibly cheesy) new trailer.
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Except, I say “correct continuation” loosely as life after death is more like a large-screen version of the amazing The real Ghostbusters Animated series that ran from 1986 to 1991 as the 1984 classic starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and the late Harold Ramis.
That’s not bad.
Look, the original Ghost hunters is an adult comedy full of sex jokes, ambiguities and characters who drink, smoke, swear, chase women and belittle their secretaries. The story follows a standard dishwasher to millionaire formula, but never portrays its paranormal investigators as more than a few guys doing their job. As Peter says, they’re basically just exterminators looking for a giant cockroach.
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Oh sure, New York City worships them like heroes, but we never see Peter, Ray, Egon, or Winston among young children. During the “hero montage”, director Ivan Reitman cleverly cuts a sequence in which Ray receives a, um, special visit from a very “annoying poltergeist” who opens his pants and … well …
These are not “heroes” in the traditional sense, but a group of guys who happen to get caught up in a lucrative (and downright dangerous) endeavor.
Peter especially loves to play the media and certainly enjoys the attention, but uses his newfound fame to meet women and make money, as he did while working at Columbia University. The guy literally gets Ray to take out a third mortgage to finance the operation and does two squats over the very costly interest:
Later, during the big climax, NYC cheers for the Ghostbusters, and Peter characteristically soaks up the spotlight, but then the film cuts to the exhausted team walking up a flight of stairs, only to remind us how out of place these guys are this particular situation:
Even Ecto-1 is presented as a clever visual gag – it’s a 1959 Cadillac hearse driven by guys who literally knock down the dead. Got it?
The big highlight can be seen with dogs, a flat-top athlete, and a giant marshmallow man. Peter and the gang are not saving NYC because they are heroes, they are saving the city because there is literally no one to do the job – that’s the joke!
In fact, as this brilliant comment reveals, their entire ghostbusting venture is based on very specific supernatural events related to Gozer. So your deal only comes off because an evil god happens to stop by Central Park West and start destroying the city. Once they flatten old Gozer, no more ghosts to be destroyed and no more history.
But here’s the thing: after that Ghost hunters premiered, some marketing genius somewhere decided that the whole ghostbusting concept would play and create really well with kids The real Ghostbusters 1987. That thing was huge. Or at least I remember it was huge. There was Ghost hunters Toys, merchandise, t-shirts … but everything related to the cartoon. As a kid I liked Ghost hunters the film, but absolutely loved The real Ghostbusters. When I defeated evil demons and ghouls with my friends, we imagined fighting villains from the cartoon; and were less concerned about what character we were impersonating than trying to keep our umbrella-and-neutrino wand from falling off our backpacks-of-proton packs.
I always found the coolest episodes of the animated series in which our title characters, Stay Puft, had to ask for help because, as a kid, I thought the big guy was cool. In fact, it wasn’t until years later that I understood the joke and recognized the giant marshmallow man as a visual gag rather than a Godzilla-sized superhero.
In the cartoon series, the Ghostbusters always helped and mingled with the children and used their weapons more to help society than to exploit them. The show featured cool gadgets, cool villains, moral messages, and great action – and it completely destroyed the big screen Ghost hunters Franchise.
As many of you will recall, in 1989 came the release of Ghostbusters 2 and the results were, well, not quite as spectacular as five years earlier. In terms of sound, the extremely carefree sequel, which culminates with the whole of NYC learning to be nice to one another, contrasts sharply with the synopsis of the original “Four horny slobs get rich by destroying funny-looking ghosts”. There are a few “scary” scenes, especially in the subway tunnels:
But mostly Ghostbusters 2 is much more child-friendly than its predecessor. There’s less swearing, no drinking (as far as I can remember), no smoking, no sex jokes, no lewd humor … Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston are all held in a more heroic light. In fact, Venkman’s need to put a woman in bed is suddenly replaced by the urge to not only marry Dana, but also to be the father of her bastard child, Oscar.
Even Elmer Berstein’s classic comedy score has been replaced by a heroic fanfare from Randy Edelman:
In other words, Ghost hunters went from adult comedy to generic kids franchise practically overnight. Gone were the sluts drinking cheap beer, chasing ghosts and dancing the night away with some of the lucky ladies who witnessed the riot.
Fast forward to 2021 and we have Jason Reitmans Ghostbusters: Afterlifewhich, to be honest, looks more like it The real Ghostbusters than, well, Ghost hunters. Of course, trailers can be misleading, however life after death treats his subject with the same dizzying exuberance that I treated the cartoon in the late 1980s. The proton packets look cool. The ghosts look cool. Damn, Ecto-1 has a damn jump seat and looks more like this:
So far, the first two trailers have prioritized the classic weapons, gadgets and vehicles over the characters, new or not. While the ending raises a cameo of some of our old friends, in all likelihood the movie’s focus will be more on ghostbusting than the ghostbusters, if that makes sense.
Plot Twist: I’m fine with that direction.
Look in my opinion Ghost hunters is a perfect film. You can’t get much better at comedy. I love the concept. I love the characters. I love the weird FX. I love it all However, I acknowledge that the original film doesn’t build a franchise better than, say, animal shelter or Caddyshack.
The ghostbusting concept, on the other hand, has quite a bit of franchise potential to offer. The real Ghostbusters recognized this and released 140 episodes over the course of five years. 5 years! Ghostbusters 2 also recognized the potential, but failed in his attempts to mix old with new – the film was neither for older viewers (fans of the original) nor spectacular enough for young people (fans of the cartoon).
Ghostbusters: Afterlife looks like a franchise starter. The film shows teenagers (one of them from Strange things) Driving a car, shooting lasers and fighting demons; and also features the always personable Paul Rudd, a larger-than-life spectacle, heroes, villains, great visual effects, cool action, and a lot of other material to draw in audiences.
Yes, yes, Peter, Ray and Winston will appear in some form, as will Stay Puft and Gozer (probably), to attract fans and older audiences who have been waiting for a proper sequel for so long.
In all honesty, however, I think they will be disappointed because there is no way to deliver a proper sequel Ghost hunters. It is not possible.
So instead of expecting a direct follow-up Ghost hunters, prepare for a remake that uses the basic concepts of this film as a starting point for a much larger world.
In other words, prepare for it The Real Ghostbusters: The Movie – which means a lot of it:
And very little of it:
It can’t make a classic movie, but it could turn out to be a really fun franchise.