It’s a simple follow-up based on comics that makes 1984’s Ghostbusters succeed in the past. Beginning with a grandiose and ridiculous open: ghosts actually exist and they are the sign of an event related to catastrophe. And normally viewers will wait for a sci-fi action hero to save the world in a pure sci-fi action film. The humor in Ghostbusters is that you have four main characters who are included in the movie just for business purposes only at first. Instead of being the most heroic characters as in other films; in fact, they’re just a bunch of losers. They’re ex-academics who launched a business after failures and became famous in their community. The paradox is that the filmmakers took the great supernatural theme and leave it beside casual folks who sort of stumbled their way into rescuing the world. Thanks to that, Ghostbusters has the chance to be flexibly humorous and to make use of the many comedy abilities of its main characters.
Unfortunately, there’s something unexpected happening: Ghostbusters was getting more and more adored, not the same as how viewers love the other 1980s comedies, but how a genre property, and, more crucially, Intellectual Property (IP), becomes cherished. Ghostbusters has no longer been only a famous comedy in the 80s, while Trading Places, Coming to America, and Stripes aren’t movies that depend on massive VFX and don’t have iconic graphics that can be sold uniquely in comparison with others in the same field. And when they open for sale a sort of items related to “the thing” to their fans, the context itself will become lost. In an ironic twist, it becomes a kind of sacred scripture separated from what the script actually says. As a result, Ghostbusters, a comedic story involving four shmucks who wind up protecting New York City from a huge marshmallow and how they stated “He’s a sailor, he’s in New York; we get this guy banged, we won’t have any issue!” has turned serious.
That is how viewers have been introduced to Ghostbusters: Afterlife, in spite of the fact that it is directed by Jason Reitman, who is both Oscar nominee and son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, who appears to completely miss the target in its fanatical adherence to the notion of what Ghostbusters represents to fans rather than the film itself.
That is likely an inconsequential dissimilarity to several viewers, but then you soon recognize you’re gaining something much worse than nostalgia when you watch it happen in the movie Ghostbusters: Afterlife. You’re receiving fan service that has nothing to do with the plot or even the idea of the article people are meant to like. Ghostbusters: Afterlife sadly isn’t a comedy while the original Ghostbusters was known as a comedic one. While the original Ghostbusters is about unusual heroes, heroism as a natural state of humans is the main content of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The first Ghostbusters is openly wicked, even mocking its own concept, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, on the other hand, is all about veneration.
Two teenagers Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) who is known as a genius have been expelled from their own house with their struggling mother, Callie (Carrie Coon). Callie’s bizarre and estranged father has just passed away, leaving his land farm in Summerville (Oklahoma) to her, all the family members now are going lost without knowing exactly how to deal with everything next in their lives. Trevor devotes his time to fixing an ancient Cadillac he discovered in the barn and at the same time he pines for Lucky (Celeste O’Connor), a waitress at a nearby diner. Meanwhile, despite her intellect, Phoebe only attends a casual summer school, where Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd) and her meet each other. After Phoebe discovers some of her grandfather’s old gadgets, such as a PKE Meter and a ghost trap, they shortly become friends, also connect with one other student who’s called “Podcast” (Logan Kim). Summerville is seeing an increase in supernatural events as Phoebe learns about her family’s history.
Character arcs aren’t really present in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. There’s a rough idea of Phoebe, who is meant to be an outsider because she’s geeky, gaining respect and a sense of identity after discovering her grandfather was a ghostbuster. You can witness Callie’s metamorphosis from someone who felt her dad left her to somebody who understands her dad was a fantastic man.
Viewers can watch Trevor appear in this film because if the main characters were just the two Phoebe and Callie, the viewers who were upset in 2016 about Ghostbusters edition including female leads only, would feel outraged again, and we just need to continue to indulge the most poisonous section of any audience loving the movie because they are the most vociferous. Regretfully, those individuals do not develop or evolve that much throughout the storyline of the film; instead, they merely learn about the past.
And the fact that the lack of any form of characters growth isn’t definitely an issue for a Ghostbusters film. Besides that, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and the rest of the cast remain the same at the end of the film as they were at the start. Since Ghostbusters is a comedic movie, the circumstances of characters and what they have been through don’t actually change or compel them to mature. Instead of melodramatic metamorphosis, it features amusing characters. Fans don’t really need them to change since they’re hilarious at the start and humorous at the ending. In case Peter Venkman fails to show his irreverent perspective, the scene that the woman he’s pursuing (Sigourney Weaver) begins acting weirdly like a dog because she’s been possessed by a demonic entity will be less humorous. However, if you want a movie that has no character evolution and isn’t hilarious, you get Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which feels its primary purpose is to honor.
This is an unusual way to place a Ghostbusters film, but it is a very regular approach to pitch any new edition in the franchise. Since the tremendous success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the inheritance has been a strong sight for movies in long term. From the perspective of the studio, it’s a straight but logical calculation: the original casts are not young and/or not famous enough to lead a follow-up part by themselves. Nevertheless, because of the principle transited, if we give the original movie our respect, we have also made the fandom feel respected. We can recruit newer actors into the starring parts to carry the brand forward, that’s how to hand the torch. The history has been honored, the future has been protected, and the franchise, which is the most crucial point to the people who are financially supporting the film, may continue to be beneficial from it.
This method does not always perform well. Since Luke Skywalker sought to discover what occurred to his dad in A New Hope, Star Wars’ core value has always been about family. It fits with Creed thanks to its character-driven story about a boy who seeks a substitute dad figure while dealing with the lack of his physical father. Ghostbusters, on the other hand, is a spooky comedy about four guys who are not responsible for rescuing the world but manage to do so regardless. It’s a movie that capitalizes on the comic abilities of its actors before immersing them in a mystical storyline. To genuinely “respect” that—humorous people battling against ghosts—you’d get something like Ghostbusters: Answer the Call from 2016. Yet, the film sparked “controversy” in the sense that a large portion of the fandom was outraged on online platforms and did not feel suitably respected because this mythical profession cannot include women or whatever. In any case, sufficient reverence was not attained, which hampered the series’s capacity to generate revenue, and thus we return to Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife does not commemorate the original film but celebrates its fans. These are the folks who own jumpsuits and replications of the proton packs and can quote any lines of the first movie chapter. For them, the commodification of the item, rather than its essence, is what is important about Ghostbusters. It’s all well that ends well with a paranormal comedy, but it’s even more crucial that the major names admire and cherish the old stuff as much as the fans do. But in this continual reverence, they lose sight of the heart of Ghostbusters, which was to bring laughter to audiences. Afterlife contains lots of jokes, but my audience was mostly silent during the showing. The humor in Afterlife takes a back seat to reverence.
It’s totally possible to have characters appreciate the past (again, we see the same thing in The Force Awakens), but owning strong arcs of their own where the investigation of the past drives them forward on their own path is necessary. Despite being purportedly a family, Callie, Trevor, and Phoebe were treated like visitors to a Ghostbusters museum. We cannot find any texture or nuance to these three characters’ relationships, and Afterlife directs them fast in their own paths, with Trevor having fun with Lucky (and having almost nothing to talk about), Callie only appears every time other characters summon her, and Phoebe really acts and move forward in the sense that she’s the one dissolve every matter and is obviously illustrated as the heir of Egon. However, that kind of family is not “genetic descendants to who I bequeath my stuff.”
With this film, Jason Reitman appears to be at a crossroads as a director. Reitman, who was doing thrilling creations with Thank You for Smoking, Juno, and Up in the Air, hasn’t truly had a major success in over ten years, but I would assume that movies like Young Adult and Tully are absolutely amazing while people treated Labor Day and Men, Women, and Children quite unfairly. Both Reitman and Sony Pictures need a bomb, they need Ghostbusters to remain a continuing franchise, and fans like to be treated with respect, not for what 1984’s Ghostbusters stood for, but for what it has grown to signify to them over the years. However, because of this combination, everyone loses their qualities time by time. Outside of Mckenna’s famous work and Reitman’s name, this Ghostbusters has no individuality, and fans really enjoy where satisfaction is reliant on appearances and identifying Easter eggs rather than appreciating the audiences enough to offer them a decent tale. I wondered many times if Jason Reitman truly wanted to do this film or he felt compelled to make it at this stage in his profession.
In any case, the film’s message is that Ghostbusters is too necessary to be thrown into just anybody’s hands; it must be given to individuals who will honor and appreciate it. You might even get away with that if you’re dealing in the realms of epic myth or character drama, but 1984’s Ghostbusters is none of those. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is “for the fans” in the worst meaning of the phrase since it celebrates being a fan rather than the film that is intended to be appreciated. That’s a terrible commentary on the state of fandom, since although Ghostbusters doesn’t necessarily have to be a comedy about four average people battling ghosts, it seems odd to have it be a family dramedy that’s not actually about family, isn’t humorous, and has dramatic stakes. All that remains is a collection of allusions meant to be respected. It’s a brought back-to-life corpse waddling around, pleading with you for your acceptance.