Mandatory Movie Battles: Ghostbusters: Afterlife v. The OG

Mandatory Movie Battles: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ v. the OG ‘Ghostbusters’

Director Ivan Reitman’s original Ghostbusters came out in 1984. When audiences drove their Chevrolet Cavaliers—which was the best-selling car that year—to movie theaters three decades ago, they did so to laugh at Bill Murray and a gang of exterminators who specialize in New York City’s supernatural population. No one could’ve predicted that those jumpsuits and proton packs would become as recognizable as lightsabers or a Delorean. Now, everyone knows who to call. 

Director Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife introduces his father’s franchise to a new generation. The film follows Egon Spengler’s daughter, Callie, who is forced to move to her late father’s farmhouse in Summerville, Oklahoma after being evicted. Joining Callie are her children, Trevor and Phoebe, the latter of which is the spitting image of Egon. Suffice to say, the pair discover their grandfather’s ghostbusting equipment including the Ecto-1 just in time to thwart a ghostpocalypse. Is Afterlife a comedy like the original? Is it a drama? Exactly how sexy is Paul Rudd? Like comparing Rudd to People Magazine’s previously sexy men, it’s unfair to pit Afterlife against the original. However, we’re going to do it anyway in the latest edition of Mandatory Movie Battles. 

Cover Photo: Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures

Afterlife’s CGI does a (tasteful?) job of paying tribute to Ramis while paving the way for future installments in the Ghostbusters franchise but it often feels shackled by the originals. When audiences drove their Ford F Series pickups to movie theaters this year, they kept being told they were watching a Ghostbusters movie. Those who didn’t get the message (or decide to buy a bunch of Stay Puft Funko Pops!) likely went home afterwards, streamed the original and laughed at Bill Murray and his gang of supernatural exterminators. Five Ghostbusters nuked Gozer (yes, Olivia Wilde plays her/him/it in Afterlife) back in ’84 and five categories bested a threequel in 2021.

P.S.  Did Afterlife really need all that product placement? We’re looking at you Wal-Mart. Pay your employees.

Overall Winner: Ghostbusters 

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