Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by The Nth Doctor, Nov 19, 2021.
Saw it last night and loved it.
Finally saw it now home release is here. Watching it again tonight hopefully (I watched it throughout the day on iPad cos I just couldn’t wait)
It’s really good and well done, couple of janky bits where you can feel edit decisions, and it’s not as good as the first or second… though it is a very different kind of sequel than 2 was, so it’s not the fairest comparison.
In terms of production and performances though, it’s pretty damn flawless.
Just had a weird kind of epiphany about this franchise/movie.
Was talking about watching it with little one, and thinking about the scare element and… here’s the thing.
In ghostbusters, nobody dies. (One, if we consider the cab driver in the montage possibly)
In ghostbusters 2, nobody dies.
In ‘answer the call’ at least three people die, I think, and it most cases it is treated as a joke, or otherwise handled poorly.
Afterlife… there is one death, and it’s very important, and forms the backbone of the story… in part because it is in many ways one which cannot be avoided. (Not to mention the posoble suicide angle is very very sensibly downplayed, to the point it may not even be noticed) Even then, by the end, it is sensitively handled and gives a kind of uplifting message.
The odd thing is, GB are actually ‘scary’ ‘supernatural horror’ films, but because of their nature they also take a hopeful approach.
I wonder if this is one of the reasons Afterlife is doing what Answer The Call didn’t.
I had to look up what “answer the call” is. I’ve never heard it being called that before.
Yeah Sony rebranded it for the home release. In hindsight, this was clearly in anticipation of switching the franchise back to the original continuity.
Interesting. They didn’t do that in the UK.
I am curious how Afterlife will hold up to the test of time. It's a decent first watch but I think the other movies have more meat to them for multiple watches.
I think a simple way to sum up my fundamental problem with the '16 movie is that the humour was for the most part, very mean spirited (no pun intended.) So yeah, I'd say that tracks.
As for age appropriateness: what it's worth, between the Library Ghost and the Terror Dogs, Ghostbusters scared the ever loving crap out of me as a kid (I still remember the Terror Dog nightmare), though granted I was only 4 or 5 at the time. That said, it never ceased to be endlessly fascinating as a concept, and by the time the cartoon, the toys, and the sequel were out, I was hooked.
Indeed, as much as I consider myself a sceptic in regards to the paranormal these days, I still credit any interest I have in science and critical thinking to the way Aykroyd & Ramis approached this material as quantifiable, comprehensible, and testable phenomena. So overall I'd say it was a positive influence.
I'd not put the original movies too high on a pedestal, the story is a rather simple good vs evil tale where the heroes are misunderstood until they save the day.
They have one thing truly going for them - their humor is stellar but also no surprise given the cast. These are indeed big shoes to fill and question is if it even should be tried because you just don't have that many comedic stars in Afterlife.
Afterlife was mostly a set up movie for a possible new franchise, it connected to the old movies and moved the story forward in a charming, decent and respectful way and if given the chance i hope they make it their own thing without dragging the old movie baggage around.
A lot of that (or all of it) comes from Aykroyd's personal beliefs and studies of the paranormal.
I’m in the UK.
It’s one of those subtle things, like the way ‘Independence Day’ is called ‘ID4: Independence Day’. Schrodingers Titles.
This is pretty much how Ghost Busters worked for me too, at the time. I think the majority of the adult humour, and similar, jokes just whooshed over my head.
And the scary stuff is helped by everyone being ok in the end. (from a kid perspective)
Even the ‘villains’ are either banished or covered in goo, and no-one dies. I think it’s summed up in just that (well acted) scene of Breaking Dana out of the ossified Terror Dog, Lewis and Stantz, and the just ending on Zeddemore’s cheery shout. It’s a fairy tale ending, because we still did those back then.
I've pointed this out before, but one of the reasons Afterlife could never be as funny as Ghostbusters, regardless of cast, is that a fair amount of the humor of the original came from the ridiculousness of the concept. Scientific Paranormal Exterminators used to be funny, but now it's just a thing we accept and is no longer a source of humor.
I don’t think Ghostbusters is a comedy. Probably why the 2016 one failed. They tried to make it one.
It’s many different kinds of film, that stars comedians, who are funny.
I don’t think the concept in itself is inherently funny.
What the 2016 was trying to do was make Ghost Busters in the style and approach of Police Academy.
Ghost Busters was never that, outside of its slightly dishonest blurb description. It may be from the guys who made Stripes, but it was not stripes.
It is also something that is different things to different people… to anyone in their thirties/forties, it’s more in line with Indiana Jones. Older people may see it as just a sit-com. (Though I would argue they realised in production it wasn’t that, and that’s why things like the drunks in the park were cut out, and Peter’s character changes radically across the course of the movie.)
That’s what Feig is on record as not getting, and what Reitman (the younger) absolutely gets.
Afterlife is *even less of a comedy* than the original, but still works (and is still funny when it wants to be) because it gets that.
It’s an FX Heavy adventure film, with plenty of comedy elements… just like the originals, and just like Indy.
The situation is played arrow straight, by people who know how to get humour into and out of that, without ever pushing it too far.
I think it would be very hard to credibly deny that 'Ghostbusters' was intended to be a comedy in a similar vein of other mad-cap comedies of the time like 'Stripes' and 'Meatballs'. Somewhere along the way though it kinda morphed into something more than just a comedy.
Indeed you only have to look at the deleted material to see the artefacts of this shift, which seems to have happened as much in the editing process as in the mad 10 month dash the get the thing out the door. There are a few scenes like the married couple in the hotel room that show this off, but IMO none more so than the two bums in the park bit. As you can see that's pure sketch comedy; Murray and Aykroyd playing different (and very broad) characters basically just riffing and adlibbing off each other, and it has that Second City & SNL style written all over it. More to the point, there's nothing else remotely like it in the rest of the movie.
I know, and Ramis was very much NOT a believer. It's that specific confluence of those two outlooks working together rather than in opposition that gives the whole thing a grounded feeling.
I think it depends how you look at it. "A team of paranormal investigators wages battle to prevent a supernatural invasion" is not an inherently funny concept but "A group of slacker schlubs are the only hope to stop a supernatural invasion." is. The humor comes from the "who" as much as the "what".
Scientific Paranormal Exterminators is still a funny idea if the "Exterminators" part has focus and it's like calling the pest control guy. Not Orkin but the random guy listed in the phone book. I guess "comedy exterminator" itself is more of a classic sitcom trope than today but just a couple of weeks ago I was watching Larry David do the same kind of joke with a handyman he hired to fix his roof.
I wonder if it would have stayed that way if they hadn’t ended up with Murray (who was already looking to be ‘serious’ by this point) after Belushi’s loss, and Moranis over John Candy? That whole ‘big dogs, German accent’ stuff would have killed the movie. Moranis improvisations however kind of helped ground his character.
Certainly by the end of filming (which I am pretty sure was the actual Gozer-showdown if I remember right) the performances are a lot more in ‘drama’ mode over ‘goofball’ mode (as typified by the whole Dana/Peter apartment investigation… which I think was early in the shoot)
There’s just a sincerity as the film unfolds, which I think really helps with the deeper stuff in 2, and definitely gives rise to where we are with afterlife.
Edit: just to say, I never argued it was never ‘intended to be’ and, it was definitely marketed as ‘Stripes guys do spooks!’ and was basically saying the same stuff you highlight here, where it shifts into that very eighties styled thing.
I always read that as Candy wanting to be "uncast" but not really willing to straight up quit and let people down. Clearly he wasn't right for the role and I think he knew that before they did.
I think it’s like there were two Ghostbusters that could have happened… one looks a lot like 1941 and is Dan’s original concept, and the other is the Ramis Stripes approach. When they hit each other and they did the rewrite, it made this other version, which is the one we got. Somewhere in the making of it, it kind of transcended genres/audience. I think it caught a lot of people by surprise. Usually (including with afterlife, very much) I kind of always want to see the longer cuts of films, with deleted scenes back in place, but with GB there’s very little I would want back in — it would tilt the tone of the movie too much. The exception is, ironically, the Egon/Janine stuff, which of course a small part of is now back in the screen-canon.
Again, it’s something 2016s entry could have benefit from, but it… just didn’t have the same care or alchemical luck in the making of the movie. I they strangled any chance of that film growing into something good by obsessing over reacting to things, particularly a version of GB 84 that only existed in their heads. (Not to mention spending a fuckton of money on ill advised stuff like the dance number that was then cut from the film. And a fuckton on the whole ‘time travel rollback’ that… why was it even there? That film was screwed sideways and then some before it was even really in the can.)
We don’t really see many of those accidental hybrids anymore, but arguably it’s DNA is very much in summer blockbusters, especially the MCU stuff we get now. (Which are also out-there things being treated pretty seriously, all laced with humour that comes from dialogue and chemistry/charisma of the leads)
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