- Jason Reitman continues the family heritage on and off the screen in a safe and deliberate soft reboot.
- Afterlife, which opens in theatres on Friday, is a film anchored in the past and made in the image of its contemporaries.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is haunted by a large Stranger Things specter. After all, the Netflix series has become the current pop culture gold standard for children battling evil supernatural beings.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife not only abandons the Ghostbusters film series’ previous adult-teaming-up structure, but director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) has even cast a Stranger Things to star in Finn Wolfhard in his kids-focused Ghostbusters. The new Ghostbusters film, like the Netflix series, is set in a fictional small-town America.
Hawkins, Indiana, is taken over by Summerville, Oklahoma. The story takes place today, but Reitman employs a ruse to remove all modern technology. According to all accounts, Reitman who also co-wrote Monster House with Gil Kenan conceived Ghostbusters: Afterlife after viewing Stranger Things.
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The Hawkins crew dressed up in Ghostbusters costumes in Stranger Things season 2, which was set in 1984. The year the first Ghostbusters film was released in theatres as a meaningful tribute. Stranger Things isn’t the only famous sci-fi franchise that inspired Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is set three decades after the events of the original film and follows a family of three: single mom Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon of The Leftovers) and her two children, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Jamie Chung) (Mckenna Grace, from Gifted).
Yes, they are the late Egon Spengler’s (Harold Ramis) daughter, grandson, and granddaughter, all killed onscreen after the actor’s death in 2014. But no one remembers Egon kindly Callie despises him because he abandoned his New York family and moved to Summerville, never to be seen again. Everyone in Summerville referred to him as the “Dirt Farmer” because he plowed his property but never cultivated anything.
If only Sony could be as resourceful as the other Hollywood studios. While watching Ghostbusters: Afterlife, I couldn’t help but think that director Jason Reitman should have completely embraced both Stranger Things and Star Wars as inspirations.
Of course, I’m talking about making a TV series out of Ghostbusters. Stranger Things is great because it takes its time to develop its characters; Ghostbusters: Afterlife could have benefited from that.
While Star Wars films have struggled, the transition to television (with The Mandalorian) has been an enormous success. But, considering Sony’s absence of a streaming service in the United States, I’m sure that concept never occurred to them.
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