Blast from the past

“Ghostbusters” franchises risks successful series with a new sequel


Columbia Pictures

Movie poster for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” was released 32 years after the original movies, risking the quality of the franchise. A stellar cast and a heartfelt throwback help the latest Ghostbusters film succeed where other sequels have failed.

Addie Ellison, Staff Writer

When a movie production studio announces a sequel for a popular franchise, the response from fans generally varies. Some feel that a sequel will give more light to beloved characters and expand the universe, but some feel that it is a one-way ticket to destroying a franchise. 

Both opinions are formed from experience. Fans of the “Jaws” franchise, the “Halloween” series, and the “Mortal Kombat” franchise have all seen how a sequel can destroy a beloved franchise. All of these were released 2-3 years after the original films and were received badly by fans, and all three have sequels on the “The 50 Worst Sequels of All Time” list by Rotten Tomatoes. 

Can a successful sequel be made decades after the originals? “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” proves it is possible.

The original “Ghostbusters” film that premiered in theatres in 1984 was a hit with fans. Its comedic timing and everyday heroes scored well on Rotten Tomatoes, and won the hearts of critics and fans. “Ghostbusters II,” released in 1989, was met with decent reviews from critics and good reviews from fans. Some audiences found it to be lacking the magic the original had, and some say it was far better than the original.

A reboot of the series was attempted in 2016 with “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.” Reviews swing from awful to amazing with no seeming pattern. This movie does not fall into the original Ghostbusters timeline, and instead tries to flip the original’s storyline into the 21st century with four female leads and new characters played by the original Ghostbusters. For this reason, it is not counted as a “sequel” to the films of the 1980s.

The first two films have become ‘classic’ in the eyes of moviegoers, so the risk of ruining the series with a new sequel was a real possibility.

— Staff Writer Addie Ellison

It has been 32 years since the last film in the Ghostbusters timeline. The first two films have become “classic” in the eyes of moviegoers, so the risk of ruining the series with a new sequel was a real possibility. 

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” follows a single mother and her two troublemaking kids as they learn the truth about their lineage, love, and the paranormal. The success of the movie comes from the balance of callbacks and new material. By doing this, the audience does not feel overwhelmed by the new exposition.

Headlined by multiple talented stars, new characters feel well-rounded and likable. Mckenna Grace who plays Phoebe Spengler, the misunderstood child genius granddaughter of Egon Spengler, steals the show. Grace grounds the fantastical world of the paranormal in the 21st century well and allows the rest of the cast to shine in their own ways. 

One of the most memorable moments in the film comes at the end when the ghost of Egon Spengler is revealed to his family and the remaining three Ghostbusters. Although Harold Ramis, who played Spengler, passed away in February 2014, his likeness was created by two body doubles and CGI imaging taken from past films. 

The moment is one of the most heartfelt moments in the film as the Ghostbusters right their wrongs, his granddaughter gets the validation she craves, and his daughter gets the hug she always wished for as a child. The movie ends with a beautiful dedication to him and his life.

The legacy of the Ghostbusters is now the question on most fans’ minds. As the film ends with no obvious plans for the future, it can be assumed that the kids kept their flight suits and will continue to protect the town from the paranormal. 

No sequel has been officially announced, but an end-credit scene makes it very possible that the Ghostbusters will be back. Besides, who else are you gonna call?