It's finally happening. After decades of attempts by the late-Harold Ramis to get it made, Ghostbusters 3 has a release date. This is news for fans of the original comedy, who have long been hoping for a second follow-up to the original film. Following the controversy surrounding the Ghostbusters remake, director Jason Reitman assured audiences that he had the fans in mind when making this film. That this Ghostbusters would be a film for the fans...
But is that really a good thing?
While there are many, many reasons to be excited for this new Ghostbusters film, there are just as many reasons to take a step back and say "Is this really such a good thing?" There are numerous great reasons to get excited for Jason Reitman's Ghostbusters 3, but there are also a few red flags that cannot be ignored.
Ghostbusters 3's director is Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, the man who directed the original two Ghostbusters films, as well as Stripes, Twins, Kindergarten Cop...
For fans of '80s and early '90s comedy, Reitman's style is peak nostalgia. It is a return to form for the franchise that honors the legacy of the original's sense of humor. If anyone can capture lightning in a bottle again, it's the son of the director of the original Ghostbusters.
Franchise comedy has been dead in the water the last few years. The days of the Police Academy, Scary Movie, and National Lampoon films are pretty much over. It feels like a remnant of an era long since past. Even comedies like The Hangover and Austin Powers feel like fading memories.
Ghostbusters 3 feels like a real chance to bring back the franchise comedy series. The series is already a ghost, so why not revive the now dead franchise comedy -- ?
Wait a second...
Ghostbusters came out in 1984. The film is so old that people who grew up with it have had children. It's 2019 now. It's almost the 35th anniversary of the original film's debut. This sequel may have been hyped for years, but it feels like too little, too late.
Ghostbusters 3 should have come out decades ago. It feels like a waste that it didn't come out shortly after the original film.
There is no doubt that Dan Aykroyd will be excited to be in Ghostbusters 3. He and Harold Ramis kept the prospect of a third film alive for all those years. But the only hold-out keeping that film from being made was Bill Murray.
There is no denying that Bill Murray is an incredible comedic talent. He is one of the highlights of the original film. He continues to be a joy to watch in most films. However...
Bill Murray has no enthusiasm for this franchise. He kept killing any chance of Ghostbusters 3 being made until this point. He is, in fact, one of the weakest links of the remake that came out back in 2016. Murray, in all probability, will be the weakest part of this film, possibly to the point where it's hard to watch.
Fans of the original film reacted with rage at the news of the Ghostbusters remake -- which, considering that it was the first new piece of Ghostbusters content after decades of radio silence was more than a little disturbing.
While many fans complained about women being the lead of the film, other fans did have legitimate complaints. They had fallen in love with the characters from the original film. They wanted to see what would come next in their story, not focus on new characters they cared nothing about.
Now, the original group's story can continue.
The remake is incredibly controversial and didn't really prove as much a success critically or financially as Sony probably hoped. Still, it wasn't bad, really, was it?
Many people did like the new interpretation -- or, at the very least, some of the new characters to be introduced. Of particular note, Kate McKinnon will not return to reprise her role in Ghostbusters 3, and, considering she was one of the high points of the remake, that's more than a little disappointing, especially since many fans of the remake would have preferred seeing the new team's story continue. Even a potential crossover between the remake and original franchises would've been preferable to just this exclusionary one or the other mentality, right?
But the fans want a sequel, so that's what they're getting.
The original film has aged incredibly. Even the special effects, though dated, look really good. However, as is the case with a lot of updates to older franchises, Ghostbusters 3 will have access to a far larger array of special effects given the increased budget and modern technology.
However, there is a risk that special effects may take a priority over proper storytelling, which would be a disservice to the film. A lot of modern sequels to older franchises, most notably the Jurassic World films, prioritized spectacle over storytelling. There's little reason to doubt Ghostbusters 3 may have a similar problem.
Harold Ramis is in many respects one of the greatest comedic minds of the 20th Century. While Ivan Reitman directed Ghostbusters, Ramis wrote it. He also wrote Reitman's Stripes and directed/wrote Caddyshack and Groundhog Day -- which are all among the greatest comedic films ever made. And it was thanks to Ramis's passion to make Ghostbusters 3 that the project was even on anyone's radar, since no one else was clamoring for a sequel to Ghostbusters 2 following that film's disappointed audiences.
Beyond the fact that Ramis's talent really did breathe life into the original film, something feels just wrong about taking this man's passion project, waiting until his passing, then remaking his original film before, after realizing they couldn't milk the franchise for a few more dollars by remaking it. It feels strangely cynical in a way that's kind of unpleasant.
But still, even if the motives for making the film aren't pure artistic merit, it's still a film for the fans. It's a film giving fans what they have been clamoring for, which means it's going to at least be satisfying to long-time fans of the franchise, surely.
This film has been hyped up for years. Even if it is just a reunion of old comedy legends, even if Bill Murray doesn't really want to be there, it's another Ghostbusters film. If it's great, it's great. But even if it disappoints, it's still a shot of nostalgia for a film people of the '80s and '90s grew up on and adore.
This may be a controversial statement, but fans don't know what they want.
This isn't to say that fans are stupid or foolish. Far from it. However, sometimes fans think they know what they would like to see, only to react poorly when they get it. Consider Star Wars. Many Star Wars fans were angry with how George Lucas "ruined" the franchise and wanted someone else to take over. So J.J. Abrams gave them exactly that. This led to many fans saying The Force Awakens was too much like the original, and they demanded something that deviated from that path. So, again, they got that. But then fans said that The Last Jedi deviated too much.
All these films appealed to what the fans seemingly wanted, but they hated them.
It's easy to read Jason Reitman's statements about making Ghostbusters 3 "for the fans" as a cynical attempt at marketing to the audience disappointed by the Ghostbusters remake, but even if taken at face value, is making a film "for the fans" ever a good idea? Rather than buckle to popular demand, shouldn't a film try to stand on its own merits rather than arbitrarily fill fan check-boxes? If a film is good, it will find its audience and be good. If it satisfies fans, great, but films don't live or die by fan reaction.
For years, Ghostbusters 3 existed as a passion project of Aykroyd and Ramis's. You get a sense of excitement reading up on their plans and struggles as they tried to get that film made, though ultimately failed. This new project is not the project they talked about for years. Every bit of news about Ghostbusters 3 makes it feel dead on arrival.