Image via IMDb

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Trailer Pays Respect to Harold Ramis

Ramis’ character Egon Spengler is felt throughout the first trailer for the upcoming sequel.

Say what you will about Ghostbusters (2016), but it wasn’t anymore below par than Ghostbusters II. Since 1984, the lightning in a bottle magic of Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters has eluded the franchise. After the merely okay 2016 reboot failed to light up the box office and succeeded in awakening an army of sexist internet trolls, it seemed like the Ghostbusters franchise would be forgotten about for another thirty years or so. But, this clearly isn’t the case, as Ghostbusters: Afterlife arrives in theaters next summer.

With the wave of ’80s nostalgia sweeping over Hollywood, there was just no way that they were going to let one of the decades biggest hits go untouched. Enter Jason Reitman, son of Ivan, to bring a new life to the franchise his father birthed. The younger Reitman, known for dramedies like Juno or Up in the Air, has a very different voice than his father, but as it turns out, it works well in the world of Ghostbusters. Watch the first trailer below:

First of all, this trailer excited me in a way that I didn’t think was possible. The tone is different from all three of its predecessors, more in line with Steven Spielberg’s output from the 1970s-80s than the dry humor the franchise is known for. The vibe adds to the nostalgia, which Spielberg has notoriously utilized throughout his career, but Ghostbusters: Afterlife doesn’t feel like a hollow cash grab.

Having the film centered around Egon Spengler’s grandchildren gives the film a distinct advantage; it grounds the nostalgia in something very real. I suspect I’m not alone in favoring Egon above his colleagues. The character, brought to life by the late Harold Ramis, was as memorable as characters come. Now, it looks like he is the door through which a new batch of busters will arrive. This trailer has his finger prints all over it.

Image via IMDb

Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard are perfectly cast, and the character design for both of them — particularly the hair and costuming for Grace — make it easy to believe they are the grandchildren of Egon Spengler. Seeing them uncover their grandfather’s legacy gave me chills and tugged at my heartstrings. Jurassic World tried to do the same, but was unable to be more than a cheap imitation of its predecessor. The way the trailer presents this discovery feels rooted in emotion.

That being said, there are a few elements from the 2016 film that are incorporated here. The color scheme, favoring deep greens and blues, seems ripped straight from the female-led film. The action also favored GB16 is teased here in a car chase through a downtown street. Yet, the one thing that truly sets the action apart is the setting. Ghostbusters: Afterlife looks like it will be set entirely in a small, rural town, a wonderful new angle for a franchise that’s always been set in New York City.

Image via IMDb

As if none of this had sold me enough, the trailer also features Paul Rudd — almost more than the kids at the center of the story. Rudd plays a schoolteacher to one of the children who has an enthusiasm for the Ghostbusters. He comes across as an audience stand-in, introducing the kids to the events of the first film and being in awe at a ghost trap. Unfortunately, he also seems to run across Zuul in an intriguing glimpse of the famed monster’s foot. I’m a firm believer that Paul Rudd makes everything better, and this trailer makes a strong case for that.

I wasn’t super keen on a new Ghostbusters film due to the original being so uniquely successful, but this trailer has me hooked. It might be chock-full of nostalgia, but with Reitman’s dramedy chops, I think it could be more than just a hollow cash grab. This trailer feels, in part, like a tribute to Harold Ramis, an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. Ramis was essential in bringing the Ghostbusters franchise to life, and it feels fitting that this film honors him in a big way.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife hits theaters on July 10, 2020.

A film critic with a taste for genre fare, living in Sioux Falls, SD. If you love movies, we’ll get along just fine.

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