Sunday, May 24, 2015

FilmLight - Why Ghostbusters For New Generation? An Expanded Universe

Article author: Alwyn Ash
"At the right time, in the right light, everything is extraordinary"

Ghostbusters Image

Lately there has been much discussion - and argument - relating to the announcement of brand new Ghostbusters movies. For many years most of the original team who gave us the 1984 supernatural hit had tried to revive the franchise with a second sequel - Ghostbusters 2 isn't to everyone's liking, so it kind of felt like unfinished business, perhaps? Ghostbusters 3 could have satisfied existing fans while gaining a new, younger audience. However, instead of the straight forward route, we are now faced with something slightly different: the potential for a Ghostbusters "universe". Or, as some people see it, a battle of the sexes!

Director Paul Feig, whose only cinematic hit may be 2011's Bridesmaids, will work with writer Katie Dippold in reimagining one of the greatest sci-fi and fantasy film franchises of all time; already cast for this venture are Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. However, it looks like a second movie will be produced, focusing on a more "traditional" approach, whatever that means. To be written by British-born Drew Pearce, this other Ghostbusters is thought to have been conceived due to a negative tide of comments directed at both Feig and the whole idea of a female-centric movie. Whether this is true or not, it is a welcome idea to expand the franchise in multiple directions...

Sony has set up Ghost Corps, a company with a vision to do just that! And it will have people like Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd on board to see that every possible angle is covered. Just think, in addition to new movies there could be a television series, an official line of novels, and a toy range that won't just be available for a collector's market.

An argument for embracing this new approach? Is it such a negative thing to have a much broader universe for Ghostbusters to explore? Agreed, there are so many movies that should never be touched, remade or given a genesis storyline. But, as proven with The Real Ghostbusters, a spin-off cartoon series that ran from 1986 to 1991, there is much fun to be had from allowing much flexibility to a world that Aykroyd and Harold Ramis made real with the release of the 1984 film.

For those who didn't enjoy Ghostbusters 2, a motion picture that manifested after pressure from the studio to repeat the success of its predecessor, it could be that the official sequel just wasn't seen to take any great steps from its first outing, disregarding the outcome of Ghostbusters entirely by resetting the bar at a low: they saved New York - hell, the world! - and what thanks do they get?

Exploring just what their team - or a network of teams - could have accomplished if given adequate funding and support might have been a blockbuster of an idea. Instead, fans were left with a long wait as scripts were written, rejected, rewritten, and talks held regarding a possible comeback, only for certain parties to make it clear that they were unlikely to return... and, Harold Ramis' death in 2014 came as a shock to fans, closing the doors to any possible sequel featuring all four Ghostbusters for good.

For a franchise that is now over thirty years old, toys, comics and video games have fared well. Sadly, the only novels that exist (unless you count a few published by Knight Books for The Real Ghostbusters) are adaptations of the films, though they seriously need a reprint; author Larry Milne wrote for the first, while Ed Naha adapted the sequel. More is needed. It is not about saturating the market, but giving fans old and new an opportunity to experience an expanded universe.

Back in March 2015, Pearce tweeted, "Don't worry, the tone we're aiming for is pretty 'human-centric'. Except for all the ghosts". Whatever Sony has planned for the future, let us hope that the 2016 reboot (Feig) succeeds. If only Kenner Products was still around to reproduce the original wave of Real Ghostbusters figures..

Image source courtesy of Article © Alwyn Ash 2015. Quotes (if applicable) used for publicity purposes only; no infringement of copyright is intended.