Saturday, September 27, 2014

Give up the Ghostbusters sequel (a fan's plea)

... And with it, spells out why there should not be a Ghostbusters III.

It pains me to say this. Growing up, I loved the original movie. And the sequel. And the book of the sequel. And the soundtracks. And the cartoon show. And the sticker albums. And my official Ghostbusters II suit. And the cereal. And Ecto Cooler. When I read in 1997 that Ghostbusters III was in the pipeline for 1999 and would star the original cast and Chris Farley, I couldn't wait. Even after Farley's death, any glimmer of hope for a sequel was good news. As long as the original cast had a hand in it, any new stars (provided they were as well-selected as their predecessors) would only help propel the franchise forward.

But 25 years later, Harold Ramis is dead and Bill Murray is a no-go. So it should not happen.

Here's why: At this point, any sequel will seem like a blatant cash-grab and star vehicle. The much-maligned Ghostbusters II, at best, delivered a decent story that stuck close to the source material and also to the time frame. At worst, it suggested that the well wouldn't be particularly deep for future episodes without some evolution. Reimagining the franchise with so many key players gone would practically constitute an act of hijacking, regardless of who the cast is. (It's entirely possible that the Murray, being the mischievous scamp that he is, is fully aware of this.)

Murray said he'd like to see Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Linda Cardellini and Emma Stone as Ghostbusters. That's some star power. But who could watch a Ghostbusters film starring McCarthy and Wiig and not think about Bridesmaids? (Or if, say, Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper got involved, The Hangover?)

Part of the appeal of the original Ghostbusters was that it was the first real chance to see the combined brain trust of Saturday Night Live and National Lampoon go nuts with their own material, unconstrained by the censorship limits of television. Most of them were big (or rising) stars at that point, but Ghostbusters was their statement.

Pretty much anyone cast for a Ghostbusters seqreboot would ether distract with their star power and underwhelm, or be unknown and underwhelm. There's no reason to do this. It's a trap!

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