In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it.
I will never forget my fifth birthday party. To date, it is the only surprise party ever held in my honor. It is also the only Batman themed party I’ve ever been a part of (a situation which will be corrected, I assure you). There was “Mom’s ‘Bake at home'” pizza, a cake with the Joker’s smiling mug on it, and everyone who I had ever met in my short life was in my house celebrating my existence. It was wonderful. But the highlight of the whole thing was my big gift: the Ghostbusters Fire House play set. Supplemented, of course, with a few cans of slime AND my very own ‘ghost trap’. These gifts were my new prized possessions. For as far as I was concerned. I was destined to be a Ghostbuster when I grew up.
So it is from a place of true, deep love for the Ghostbusters franchise that I give Ghostbusters 3 my full blessing. The talent behind it is incredible, and I trust that the production team is fully aware of the enormity of the sandbox in which they are about to play. That being said, there are a few things that I sincerely hope the filmmakers would consider.
1. There are no jokes in the original movies.
If you go back and watch Ghostbusters, you’ll see that the script doesn’t have any jokes. 100% of the humor is derived from strong character work. If played seriously, the movie would still be complete (albeit inferior) without changing a word. With Ghostbusters 3, the four actresses at the center have strong backgrounds in both live comedy and improv comedy, and a few of them are straight from SNL, just like the original lineup. If the filmmakers allow room for them to utilize these abilities rather than cram their mouths with undercooked jokes (I’m looking at you, Dumb and Dumber To), the world of Ghostbusters can be updated without betraying the style of the original.
2. There’s a unique opportunity to explore the fallout of the original movies.
I’ve always wanted to see a scene in a monster flick where, after the beast has been dispatched, the characters struggle with the idea that monsters exist. If I were Lara Croft, I’d have stopped raiding tombs after my first encounter with a rock monster. Rock monsters are real?!? This knowledge is worth infinitely more than any treasure. I digress.
One of my favorite things about Ghostbusters 2, is that there is not a reset. The New York they serve is in a post-paranormal state. This manifests in a few ways: Politicians, fearing a loss of sanity, are pushing the public towards denial. Citizens who witnessed the Stay Puft event are already dulled to the idea of ghosts, and are happy to leave their saviors in the dust. Even the Ghostbusters themselves are feeling the effects of this new world, having gone their separate ways, reduced to hosting schlocky television or performing at birthday parties. It is in this vein that I hope Ghostbusters 3 explores a world where the events of the first two movies are a part of human history. In a world of Holocaust deniers, 9/11 truthers, and blind-faith worshippers, this could have spawned a social divide that could provide for a lived-in, textured world with parallels to our own.
3. Rick Moranis is still alive and well.
Don’t bother bringing back any of the original cast. If we’re updating this franchise, let’s go all the way and update it completely … except for Rick Moranis. If the film gods are good, perhaps our new team of paranormal warriors could consult a “paranormal survivor.” Someone with inside knowledge of how the metaphysical world works. And who better than Louis Tully? Plus, wouldn’t it be nice to see Moranis again? He’s a real class act, and I’d hate to think he’s already made his final movie.
At the end of the day, even if the movie is terrible, it doesn’t nullify the existence of the originals. Your childhood is intact. Movie attendance is optional. Always will be. And even though I’d prefer to see this tremendously talented team in an original property, I see no reason why they shouldn’t give Ghostbusters 3 their best shot. Sure it could be terrible, but it could also be brilliant! Oh, and if you’re really mad that the cast is female, you’re a jerk. It’s not “about your childhood.” It’s about you being sexist. You deserve to miss out on the fun.