It has been said several times before, but 1984's 'Ghostbusters' is what I consider to be my favourite film of all time. So there's going to be quite a lot for me to get through and express with this review. First, I will go through on a critical standpoint, as I can see a lot of reason that the critics aren't as keen as the fans. Then, I will go through as a fan, and eventually draw my conclusion. There's a lot to unpack here, so let's just start with our basic plot.
The film opens 30-someodd years after the events of 'Ghostbusters II'. I don't want to say too much about how the film opens, as to me, it was one of the more intriguing parts of the movie. But we do eventually meet Egon Spengler's estranged family; daughter, Callie (Carrie Coon), and grandkids, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard). While Trevor is a bit more what one would consider a "normal" teenager, Phoebe largely takes after her grandfather - not only in the ways of science, but she has his dry sense of humour and general attitude as well.
They find out that Egon is no longer with us (just like in real life, may he rest in peace), and further find out that the only inheritance he left them was a creepy old farm house in the middle of a quaint little town called Summerville - home to the Shandor mining operations. One may remember the mention of Ivo Shandor in the '84 movie - an architect, and head of the cult of Gozer. Well, again, not to spoil anything, but there's definitely a reason that this old farmhouse is located where it is.
Phoebe ends up taking a summer science course, "taught" by seismologist, Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), whose method of teaching is basically to throw on a horror movie for the kids who don't wanna be there. Phoebe also meets "Podcast" (Logan Kim), who quickly becomes her lab partner, and kudos to the movie for not forming a romantic relationship here! Podcast is sort of the Venkman-like comedy relief here, and does a pretty good job of it. I can't deny getting a few genuine chuckles from the kid. Although Phoebe gave me the biggest laugh with a certain joke she tells about a hamster and a cigarette (you might already know it. It's terrible but hilarious.)
In the meantime, Trevor meets a waitress named Lucky (Celeste O'Connor), and gets a job at her diner in an attempt to get to know her better. The two kids slowly reveal their discoveries around the house, giving us great shivers of nostalgia. While Phoebe finds a PKE meter and, eventually, a proton pack, Trevor finds Ecto-1. Eventually, it all comes together, and the kids find themselves in the midst of Gozer's potential big comeback. Can they keep Gozer at bay? But more importantly, where are the guys!?
Now, critically, I can tell you right off the bat some of the problems with this film. Whether you agree to them being "problems" is totally up to you, but just to recognize where critics are coming from, I'm gonna play devil's advocate here. For starters, it's extremely nostalgic, and loaded with easter eggs for us hardcore fans. Some are subtle, like a Nestle Crunch bar found in Egon's flight suit pocket, referencing the moment Venkman gives it to him in the beginning of the '84 film. Others, almost cringeworthy. The way the line "who ya gonna call?" is brought into play here is honestly kind of ridiculous, and borders on a bad Dad joke. One might even say this is the 'Force Awakens' of 'Ghostbusters' movies.
Now, with all that said, as a die hard fan, none of this was actually that big of a problem for me. I had to consider certain things, especially with the famous line. It's really not like the first two movies didn't have moments like that. What about in '2' when they do the "Do, Ray, Egon" gag? And the first one? You can't honestly tell me the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man isn't corny as all hell. That's kind of what makes it all work though. So there's a part of me that might feel incomplete without a nice chunk of cheese. And as far as the nostalgia goes, I feel like that's absolutely necessary here - at least to a certain extent.
'Ghostbusters' fans have been waiting for this "Ghostbusters 3" for a very long time, and it's already technically happened twice, but also technically hasn't. At one point, the video game was actually considered your 'GB3', complete with the proper voices, and taking place earlier on. One might also say the same for the '16 film, but I'd never consider that a sequel of any sort, simply due to the fact that the original cast returns to play cameos, and other characters. This is about as "true" as a 'GB3' has ever really been (although I honestly think the game was more what we were looking for).
This wait has been so long that I can't really deny that there was a part of this that felt "too little, too late". But with that said, I certainly enjoyed the film quite a lot. Being that the '84 film IS my favourite, it's not about to be dethroned by any further GB material because of what it means to me. 'Ghostbusters' was lightning in a bottle that cannot be recaptured quite as well, so I already knew I wasn't going to be as blown away as I may have hoped. But I will say that this does provide an almost perfect love letter to those original movies - namely the first. There's no reason for a 'Ghostbusters' fan NOT to enjoy it, in my opinion. But just know that it won't be as special as that original movie.
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