Ghostbusters: Afterlife Teaser Trailer
This morning, the first official trailer for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” dropped with an ectoplasmic sploosh on YouTube. And, I don’t know what the general reaction even is, yet, but it looks great to me, and I have a few thoughts on why.
Before I start, though, one quick thing: I am not going to waste my time slagging off the all-female remake. It happened. I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t not enjoy it because of the casting, and we’ve had years to talk about it, so I’m done talking. Feel free to sound off in the comments, but there are other places that will be better suited.
Alright, awesome, let’s take a look at this trailer:
An Actual Vibe
When the sun eventually collapses into a supersized ball of flaming plasma and destroys the world, people will still be talking about why the original Ghostbusters movie was as great as it was. Maybe it was the time. Maybe it was the comedic chops of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. Or just that theme song.
But I have a theory about why, and it’s pretty simple: the movie packed on hell of a vibe. It made choices, like putting four New York ghost hunters in overalls, with cigarettes and an abandoned fire-house as a home base. It said, “Here! Look at this thing we made, where the ghosts have pot bellies and one of the heroes is literally going to get molested by a specter. Look at it!“
And that’s what was missing with the sequels (both of them). They basically tried to recreate that first movie’s exact aesthetic from top to bottom each time, hitting the same notes, saying the same things, and trying to be cool in the same ways. And we, as viewers, are actually smarter than that. Which is why this trailer looks great: because it’s got its own shape! It’s nothing like the first movie (not that there’s anything wrong with that movie, don’t @ me) except for some basic elements. They picked the entire thing up and moved it out to the midwest. They made the heroes kids, and they’re uncovering ghosts in wells and moving slide puzzles around. It’s its own thing, and that’s worth something because, like it or not, the argument that we’re a “popcorn audience”, just looking for the next big action hit or easy laugh is often not true.
This, right here? This is a whole new vibe, and that’s really refreshing.
A Smart Departure
I said I wasn’t going to slag off the female-led sequel, and I won’t, but it has to be said that that movie earned a lot of derision from critics, fans of the original movies, and others. So it stands to reason that they’d just pay the original remaining cast more money and crank out a direct sequel with “the boys” (TM) back in their original roles.
Only, they’re not. At all. There are hints that our new characters are related to the original ghostbusters, but this is a younger cast telling a different story, and that’s bold in such a great way. They distanced themselves from what wasn’t working about the remake but did it by making a new, tangentially related story. That takes us out of the unhappy muck we were in and plops us in the middle of something new and exciting.
Now they’ve just got to pull it off.
Ghostbusters Afterlife: An Original Idea
My last point has already been kind of made, but I’m going to do it again. They haven’t made this Ghostbusters movie already! I haven’t caught up with any extended universe Ghostbuster mythology, but I’m willing to bet anything to do with kids has probably been one-for-one analog versions of the original four. Cool, skateboarding versions of the “old school” GBs.
But this is something entirely new. Well, not new. We’ve seen Finn Wolfhard in roles like this before. The misfit kid in a small group of young untouchables, fighting his way awkwardly out of a sticky situation with monsters or aliens or whatever. That’s been done, already, but not like this. Not with the toys from our Ghostbusters toybox, the iconography that’s so valuable to us as fans. It’s a bankable aesthetic that hasn’t been seen in a franchise where the same story comes out over and over.
Imagine that same kind of basic creativity being applied to the Terminator franchise, and you’ll understand why this is just the breath of fresh air we needed. I, for one, can’t wait.