Another Ghostbusters Post
So I never posted about this, got distracted by other things. Tweeted about it, but never put up a blog post. It may not even be blog-worthy at this point, but that McCain video is really depressing me and I want to put something else up for a bit.
The comedy pedigrees here are interesting. You have two writers from the American version of “The Office,” and according to a number of sources, Judd Apatow is at this point orbiting the project in some capacity, which means that if they go in an “old guys hand the reins to new guys” direction with the flick, we can probably expect Seth Rogen to suit up as one of the new Ghostbusters. According to Aykroyd, that would be “a dream,” as he says in a recent interview with E!
The weird thing, of course, is that all the people who you would expect to be at the core of a GB revival are just shrugging and saying “Yeah, I hear someone’s working on that.” I think all of them have long since let the dream go, but it sounds like they’d do it if it came to fruition.
I won’t go into what I think of Ghostbusters as a whole because I already did that, and I would venture a guess that I was correct in thinking that the anticipation and excitement for the video game is, at least in part, what made the studio realize that there is still an audience, and push the languishing project forward. Though anyone who observes the pattern of studio greenlighting probably would have guessed the same. Instead I’ll comment on the direction things appear to be taking right now.
In short, I think it’s very promising and exciting. Apatow and his crew display a strong understanding of what made 80s comedies “80s comedies,” and that sensibility comes through in movies like Superbad and Pineapple Express, which manage to be both throwbacks and something new and fresh at the same time. I would much rather see the Apatow crew suit up than any other superstar “Dream Team” that’s been rumored over the years (Will Smith, Ben Stiller, Chris Farley and Janine Garafolo were all purportedly going to be the new GBs at some point, and while I loved Mystery Men, it wouldn’t have been right for Ghostbusters).
Ghostbusters is not about arbitrary all-star teams, it’s about funny people in scary situations. You need comedians — not just stand-up comedians but comic actors — and particularly comedians who can riff off each other. The Apatow stable is the perfect fit for that. I would say they’re this decade’s answer to the comic collaborations of the 80s, and I think writers from “The Office” are the perfect choice to create fertile ground for that kind of riffing.
As to that, I find the choice to go with new writers rather than Aykroyd and Ramis to be, honestly, a risky proposition but one that could be tremendously rewarding. We’ve seen what happens when certain filmmakers return to a beloved franchise, and make the movie that shows what the franchise is in their mind, and it turns out that the franchise is a very different thing in the mind of the audience. Aykroyd has had a GB3 in mind for nearly 20 years, and that might make it stale. He might want to make the movie he’s always wanted to make, and not the movie he ought to make in the here and now.
New writers could bring a fresh perspective to it, while ideally maintaining what made Ghostbusters so iconic and lasting — strong characterization and comedy. Writers who grew up with Ghostbusters as a phenomenon would understand that phenomenon from an audience perspective, and potentially have more success at upholding it than the original creators (particularly Aykroyd), who may still not have been able to shake of the vestiges of the original intent.
With fans writing for a franchise, you of course run the risk of it being no better than fan fiction, bringing in or referencing every joke, character, and breakfast cereal ever related in any way to the franchise (and believe me, I know how fanwanky a GB3 script could get). But that’s where the writers being from “The Office” bolsters my confidence. They’ve already shown that they can respect the spirit of a property while breathing their own life into it and creating something new, and I will be paying very close attention to this project as it progresses.
If this does happen, totally going to a midnight show, and totally going in costume. I guess I’ll have to build another proton pack.