Ghostbusters: Afterlife Trailer (Review & Commentary)

Transcribed directly from an audio recording

The trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife was released Monday morning and I can’t tell you how excited I am for this film to come out in July 2020. This film ignores the 2016 reboot and will technically be a direct sequel to the first two classic films effectively completely a proper trilogy. It’s a breath of fresh air to see Jason Reitman taking the helm on this sequel. He is the son of the legendary director from the first two films, Ivan Reitman who has also stayed on as producer for this film. The trailer this morning looked awesome and I’m intrigued at the premise of continuing the original story thirty years later with Paul Rudd as our lead character. I love Paul Rudd and have spoken about him gloriously many times since his first film, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. He is not only a fabulous and relatable actor, but he is a brilliant writer and contributor as well. I feel that Paul Rudd is one of those actors that is beloved by all. I hardly ever hear any negativity towards his acting or him personally. He seems to be highly regarded by most. This film also promises to include the return of the original actors portraying their original roles. This is much better than seeing another set of awkward cameos like what we saw in the 2016 reboot. Ghostbusters: Afterlife was filmed in southern Alberta which is awesome given that I was born and raised in Calgary. Interestingly enough, I almost had a chance to work on this film, but due to some timing issues, I wasn’t able to make it. It’s really too bad though because I would have had an absolute blast, especially meeting the original actors, and in particular my fellow Canadian Dan Aykroyd. Meeting Paul Rudd would also be a blessing. I knew some people on this set and they all have praised their experience.

On another less positive note, there has been some controversy regarding the choice of not continuing the path of the reboot but instead continuing on as a direct sequel to the first two films. Without naming any names, there have been several displeased individuals that have expressed their disappointment with the fact that the reboot was and will be forgotten. To this end, some have stated that the reason that the 2016 reboot wasn’t overly popular or a box office success was that middle-aged white males didn’t want to see a female-driven film. Being a white male in his thirties, I respectfully disagree with these statements. I love female-driven films and shows. I absolutely love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and of course, this was led by the titular female character. I also love Mad Max: Fury Road which is mostly lead by a strong supporting cast of females and it could be argued that it was also ultimately led by Charlize Theron instead of Tom Hardy as Mad Max. I would provide a compelling argument to say that Tom Hardy was in a supporting role in that film, even though he plays the titular character. I love Tom Hardy by the way and my comment in no way shape or form diminishes his performance in the film. Bottom line, I love female-driven cinema and I’m always excited to see quality entertainment directed and led by females. Wonder Woman that came out in 2017 is a prime example of a film that was highly regarded by a diverse set of fans including white middle-aged males and a film that was also a huge box office success. The fact is simple, the 2016 reboot simply wasn’t a great film. I’ve seen it twice, once in theatres and once at home and it’s definitely not a terrible film, but it’s certainly nowhere near the level of quality that the original two films set for the franchise. More importantly, the negative reception has absolutely nothing to do with the all-female cast. As a matter of fact, I love all of the lead actresses generally speaking. I love Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, and Melissa McCarthy as do most fans of cinema. The film was unfortunately filled with awkward humour, abundant plot holes and cartoonish effects. It definitely wasn’t horrible, in my opinion, and I did have fun watching it, but compared to its source materials, it was not the competent reboot that we needed or asked for. I’m pleased that the producers decided to do this film and properly conclude the trilogy. Having Jason Reitman in the director’s chair is a good choice. This film seems to be heading in the right direction and what I can appreciate the absolute most is the fact that the first trailer hasn’t given away too many details. Far too many films are giving away way too much in their marketing ahead of the release. This trailer is a great example of an effective first taste and a glimpse into the film. On the point of female-led pieces of entertainment, I’m always excited to see new female-directed and female-led films and shows and I hope that we can get past this narrative and dialogue that suggests that white middle-aged males hate seeing female-driven films. The bottom line is that films like Ocean’s 8, Ghostbusters (2016), and Charlie’s Angels (2019) are simply films that aren’t particularly great and frankly films we didn’t really need. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that these were an all-female cast. For the most part, I love all of the actresses and directors in these three films and have cherished most of their past and current work. Perhaps the solution would be to present new and interesting tales with an all-female-led cast instead of these three reboots, two of which were previously led by an all-male cast. Films like Atomic Blonde, Wonder Woman and Annihilation are examples of great action films with strong female leads that aren’t remakes of a male-led counterpart. I hope we can continue to see great entertainment from female talent in front of and behind the camera.

Further to my comments above, I’ve been thinking about the recent controversy and news about the Peloton commercial that just came out. In particular, the controversy surrounding its content and message. I spoke to four female peers of mine over the past two days and asked each of them their opinion on if they felt that the ad was inappropriate or sexist in any way and they all seemed to agree, in their opinion, that they didn’t see anything particularly wrong or sexist with the ad. I would have to agree. Perhaps some of the dialogue is a miss, but ultimately, I just saw it as a husband purchasing a relatively generous gift for an appreciative wife who thanks him for it through a series of personal videos. I’m glad to see that Ryan Reynolds has had some fun with the controversy and hired the actress to appear in his commercial for Aviation Gin. Definitely amusing from the merc with a mouth and as always, a true legend. We live in a sensitive time but I think it’s important to keep things in perspective. We need to be careful to not conflate, misconstrued or take things out of context. I definitely don’t think that Peloton intended to be misogynistic or to portray a narrative of patriarchy. I think some credit should be given here. We, as a society, have seen much worse in regard to blatant racism and/or sexism in ads and on social media. In my personal opinion, I think we can give Peloton a break on this one as well as the actors who were hired for a job. I read that the actor that portrays the husband is taking some flack personally and this seems quite unfair given that he was simply hired for a role. Similar to my thoughts on the Don Cherry situation, I don’t condone racism or sexism in any way, but I hope we can try to see the core message that was trying to come through. I don’t necessarily agree with how Don Cherry phrased his message, but I believe that he was at least trying to convey a thought that was in the right place which was that essentially everyone should support our troops for establishing our freedom and way of life regardless of if you were born here or if you immigrated to Canada. To this end, I also think the message in the Peloton ad was well-meaning and I can at least empathize with the core message, even if it was published or presented in an awkward way.

Anyways, I hope you’re excited to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife in July and when it comes out and I’ll do a more detailed review and analysis of the film this summer.

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Collector, Cinephile, and Pop Culture Historian

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Eighty6Prime (Nicholas)

Collector, Cinephile, and Pop Culture Historian

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