At this point, it’s fair to say that Paul Feig’s upcoming all-female Ghostbusters reboot has become one of the most contentiously debated films in recent memory, despite the fact that it still has yet to be released to theaters. That said, no matter what one thinks about Feig’s version, something most franchise fans can probably agree on is that it sure would have been cool to get a third Ghostbusters film with the original team. Unfortunately, that obviously never materialized, and Harold Ramis’ death in 2014 effectively put the kibosh on it ever happening in the future.
Of course, while Ghostbusters III never made its way to multiplexes, fans got a pretty cool substitute back in 2009, in the form of Terminal Reality’s Ghostbusters video game for PS3 and Xbox 360. For those who never played it, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was set in 1991 — a mere two years after the events of Ghostbusters II – and featured the return of Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Bill Murray to their roles for the first time in decades, at least in voice form. The story — penned by Ramis and Ackroyd — cast the player as a new recruit to the team, who is being trained by the veteran foursome. When evil architect Ivo Shandor returns to Earth to complete Gozer’s unfinished business from the first film, it’s up to the now five-man squad to save the world once again.
At the time, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was cited by many as the third movie that always should have been made, but never came together for various reasons. With that in mind, a dedicated fan of the franchise has taken the time to edit together and combine all the story cutscenes with relevant gameplay footage in order to create a full-length, plot-coherent Ghostbusters III animated movie.
Beginning with film-like studio logos and a nicely done opening credits sequence complete with title graphic, the full cut runs for a rather lengthy two hours and 22 minutes. That’s nearly 20 minutes longer than the first Ghostbusters film, and over a half hour longer than Ghostbusters II. Still, one has to admire the effort involved in putting this together, even if the final product comes with flaws inherent to the footage being made for a game and not a movie.
For instance, the gameplay footage is all from a fairly zoomed out, mostly static third-person camera angle, which works great in the interactive realm but isn’t so compelling to just sit and watch unfold visually. At the same time, the story is quite amusing, full of classic returning characters — voiced by their original actors — and mountains of inside jokes and fan service sure to delight those who can’t get enough of the first two films. Is this as satisfying as a real third movie would have been? No, but for diehard fans, it’s certainly better than nothing.
Ghostbusters arrives in US theaters on July 15, 2016.