Despite the box-office underperformance and critical shellacking of 2016’s female-led take on Ghostbusters, the franchise cannot be completely vanquished. Jason Reitman, son of the original film’s director Ivan, has whipped up a reboot to the reboot set for a release in 2020 and sub-titled Afterlife.
The first trailer surfaced online just this morning, promising a film that will evoke the memory of Ghostbusters while being its own straighter-faced thing. The representation of something long since past, physically re-manifesting in the present albeit in a distorted form – if only there was a situationally appropriate metaphor for this.
The new take on the material joins a group of small-town kids as they discover and must consequently reckon with the supernatural, featuring an ensemble of fresh faces that most notably includes Finn Wolfhard (known for playing a small-town kid discovering and consequently reckoning with the supernatural in Stranger Things). They receive guidance from a kindly local science teacher (Paul Rudd), who remembers the ’80s on behalf of the next generation, which cannot.
The trailer stands out from the original, sequel, animated spin-off, and pseudo-feminist reworking that have come before by virtue of its militant humorlessness; one with no outside knowledge would be surprised to learn that the original Ghostbusters was a comedy, judging by the steady stoicism of the newest iteration. The latest film goes more the broad route of genre-tinged studio blockbuster, with all the CGI creations of a big fantasy project and none of the eccentricity.
It poses the question of who, exactly, this movie will be for. Those with fond recollections of the original Ghostbusters may not take kindly to this attempt at extracting more money from this vein of nostalgia. The new crop of viewers won’t have a grasp of the meta-context that justifies the references to the franchise’s past, such as the spectral suit once worn by Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman and now taken up by his son.
Murray and original cast members Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver have all been slated to return in this new installment, but they’re nowhere to be seen. They’re only invoked, seemingly the raison d’etre of this trailer and film.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife comes to cinemas in the UK and US on 10 July, 2020.
Published 9 Dec 2019
By Leigh Singer
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