After viewing the recent trailer for the latest Ghostbusters feature, titled Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the only thought that crossed my mind was: Now is the time to go full-on animated series. Like, The Real Ghostbusters circa 1986.
I had hoped Ghostbusters: Afterlife would shed the weight of Ivan Reitman’s classic original feature and bask in the weirdness that defied the animated series, charting a unique course in a new direction. Alas, that film clung to the original Ghostbusters like a ghost to a haunted house, resulting in a shallow retread about as exciting as a picnic with Bella Swan.
There were rumors and even suggestions from Jason Reitman that the sequel would focus on Vigo the Carpathian, the big bad from Ghostbusters II. Thankfully, writer/director Gil Kenan (of Monster House fame) pivoted from the norm and introduced an all-new bad guy that freezes its victims (and all of New York) with the Death Chill.
That’s more like it.
Ghostbusters will forever remain a pitch-perfect comedy. As I’ve said several times before, that film didn’t need a sequel. It’s a perfectly fine stand-alone entry with simplistic characters and a story that wraps up succinctly before the credits roll. The guys reunited for Ghostbusters II, a bland sequel that more or less killed the big-screen iteration of the franchise.
We should have left well enough alone.
However, when Ghostbusters II rolled around in 1989, the animated series turned the property into a viable product. The Real Ghostbusters expanded the lore and successfully reimagined the characters for the small screen, morphing the adult franchise into a child-driven commodity, for better or worse.
I own every season of that damned cartoon, and I still watch it on occasion. It holds up well. Particularly the early seasons, ripe with terrifying monsters and a surprising amount of thrills. For me, it’s as iconically Ghostbusters as Ghostbusters ’84.
This is the direction the films need to embrace. Stop trying to appease fans of the 1984 feature. That film is impossible to top. (No, seriously, it’s perfect.) Instead, Sony needs to wrap its giant corporate arms around The Real Ghostbusters and allow the property to cater to kids who spend their free time running around the backyard with a plastic proton pack strapped to their back.
Luckily, according to co-star Kumail Nanjiani, this is precisely what Frozen Empire seeks to do.
“Also, I am a huge fan of The Real Ghostbusters (the animated series), and that show was a point of reference for this movie. The filmmakers wanted to make a long episode of the animated series. So if you love that show as I do, be excited,” the actor tweeted.
Look, I don’t think we need more Ghostbusters. The original needed a sequel about as much as Caddyshack did, which is to say, not at all. Why mess with greatness? However, if the Hollywood marketing machine insists on giving us more, following the same path as the animated series is the way to go. Give it to the kids and let them keep the spooks, specters, and slimers alive for the next decade.
If I were in charge, I’d bring in the Boogieman, Sandman, Samhain, and Ghash — and keep their unique designs! Embrace the weird Sony, and let the animated Ghostbusters live on in the real world.