If you’re a fan of the 1984 Ghostbusters film like I am, you made an emotional connection with Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddemore and Egon Spengler. As a Child of the ’80s, these were some of my favorite characters to behold on the big screen. Throughout the years, I longed to see more supernatural adventures with this crazy crew, only to be denied time and time again.
While Ghostbusters II debuted five years later, it was enjoyable, but it was closer to a letdown than a movie that topped the original. While it had some cool scenes and funny oneliners, it wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination. For years the main actors and filmmakers attempted to work together to fan the flame of another strong storyline, but one never arrived. Eventually a script was written that became the unofficial third story of the franchise, later released as a video game. I still haven’t played it, but I’ve heard good reviews from friends.
Other than some animated adventures and an all-female reboot (which I didn’t mind, but I didn’t love), finally a filmmaker comes up with an idea that’s more an homage to the original film, a love letter to the fans, which offers so much fan service (and all the Easter eggs!), that you almost forget about the previous missteps. So, it’s not too surprising when that writer-director just happens to be Ivan Reitman’s son.
Paired with Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman brought a loving tribute of Egon Spengler and as an extension, Harold Ramis, to the big screen, developing a storyline that brings together his extended family, along with his previously close friends. This selective sequel is more like a spiritual one, as it skips Paul Feig’s 2016 remake and digs up ghosts of the past. And wouldn’t ya know, there’s a lot of familiar faces who appear, turning this nice tale into something truly memorable.
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver’s presence on the screen is incredibly nostalgic, but sadly the only other ones missing are Rick Moranis and Slimer (and obviously Ramis). Ivan Reitman, appearing solely in the producer’s role, was wise to allow his son free reign to the franchise he helped build.
Jason’s proved his abilities as a filmmaker throughout the years, as Up in the Air and episodes of The Office which he directed were incredible experiences, but it was Juno that truly made me sit up and notice what he brought to a film. (I’m still smitten with Juno after all these years…)
In the mid ’80s, I was a loyal viewer of Saturday Night Live. If I couldn’t make it home to watch the show live, I somehow managed to program my family’s VCR to actually record every week’s episode. As such, I’ll always be a fan of Aykroyd. But it was the big-screen appearances of Murray that drew me into Ghostbusters. Ever since, I’ve simply been a fanboy to many of their projects…
I was truly disappointed that Sony released Ghostbusters: Afterlife during the pandemic. I really, really wanted the movie to break the COVID box office and possibly get nominated for some season-ending awards. (Jason gave his #HauntLife Best Actress Film Award to Mckenna Grace and Jason Reitman for Best Director, although I wish there were many more prizes by other organizations given to this film.)
Recent revelations confirmed that Sony Pictures has already given the greenlight for an Afterlife sequel and I cannot be more excited. I only hope that Gozer (or another familiar character) doesn’t return as the antagonist once more for our heroes. While the callback was convenient, a newer, less-powerful villain would have been preferable for this sequel, but bygones will be bygones.
And after watching Afterlife‘s post-credits scene, I hope the surviving legacy characters have a little more to do the next time around. It’s totally possible that you can only catch lightning once and the next selective sequel won’t pack any emotional punches. And if that’s the case, I’d rather it just be a memorable adventure with the crew once more, while the actors have an interest, and their health remains. It could be a really fun experience that will hopefully involve large crowds in movie theaters, just like the original.
As if you couldn’t tell already, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is My Guilty Pleasure.