2016 saw the arrival of a new Ghostbusters movie. It starred some of comedy’s hottest stars and was directed by a celebrated comedic director. Yet it fell flat at the box office and only received a Luke warm reception by fans (5.3 on IMDB at the time of writing). I am a long time Ghostbusters fan, and as such, I have always had an idea where I would like to see the franchise go. Here is an idea for a Ghostbusters movie that honours what went before, but hands off to another generation...
In the 1980’s the Ghostbusters were blue collar workers, ordinary guys placed in extraordinary situations. It was a ‘80s thing. From Indiana Jones to John McClane, we loved to see versions of ourselves up there on the big screen, getting into adventures we could hardly even imagine. Today, in an age of start ups and reality TV, it would seem fitting that the blue collar paranormal investigators would go on to be a ‘thirty year over night success’ and that their “start up” would hit the big time. So my Ghostbusters would have kicked off with some high-end appearances.
Imagine this: the original Ghostbusters have clawed their way back to success following the events of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. In fact, they have partnered up with a giant corporation (think Apple or Facebook) who have helped Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddmore franchise Ghostbusters into every city in the US. Like Starbucks, there is a Ghostbusters on every corner, manned by the kind of free spirit you might see behind the counter in a coffee house or wearing flip-flops and a giant beard in an Apple Store. Ghostbusters is where you work whilst waiting for something else to happen in your life.
We join our heroes at a ceremony honouring their recently passed friend, Egon Spengler at the campus HQ of Ghostbuster Inc. There, the new CEO (imagine Gillian Anderson in Ice Maiden mode) waxes lyrical about the OG Ghostbuster and everything he has given the world, from the proton pack to the ghost trap. Our heroes are deeply moved as they prepare to slip quietly into retirement.
At the event several of the new Ghostbusters, staff chosen to represent their region, meet the Ghostbusters. This is where the old meets the new, and where I'd imagine and skilled comedienne like Melissa McCarthy would shine. McCarthy’s character, let's call her Abby after her 2016 character, is something of a psychic and, upon meeting Ray, comments that she knows Ray has been seeing Egon since his death. Ray, taken aback by this, admits, reluctantly that Egon has been visiting him and in a sixth sense style, we cut to see Egon standing with his friends (a CGI Harold Ramis) looking tired and frustrated. Egon has a message for the team of retired Ghostbusters, but Ray just won't hear it.
We follow the Ghostbusters as they tour some local “firehouses” to meet some of the new Ghostbusters. This would give us an opportunity to drop in cameos from some new talent like Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, along with the rest of the 2016 cast, Wiig, McKinnon and Jones. This is where Abby sees Egon, who uses her to relay the message Ray has been trying to ignore.
Gozer is coming back...
It has been thirty plus years for the Ghostbusters and the people of our dimension, but it has been mere seconds for Gozer and she wants revenge. Egon reporting from the other side helps the team put together a Ghostbuster’s super group. The best GBs from around the US will come together to form a team ready to take on the returning Gozer.
In the way the Ghostbusters were always screwed over by the authority figures in the original movies, here we have Gillian Anderson’s character attempt to monetise the return of Gozer by turning the affair into a pay for view reality TV event as our heroes kick some undead butt, whatever form it may take.
My pitch for this movie comes at a time where we are hearing renewed interest in the franchise from original director Ivan Reitman. It would serve to send off the characters we love in a way that frames them as successful heroes, whilst making the most of the fish out of water template that would best reflect the clash between old and new Ghostbusters. The introduction of a Ghostbusters Inc franchise across the US would enable the filmmakers to make spin off films that take advantage of the new comedic talent out there, and play with some story structures that reflect the world we live in. Using Gozer as the returning antagonist, would appeal to the original fans and use the current “nostalgia trip” trend to soft reboot the franchise.
I didn't like the 2016 Ghostbuster a whole lot, although I loved the creatives involved. I simply felt I missed a few of the elements that made the original one of the most charming movies of its time.
Thank you for reading,