Film critic Dominic Corry celebrates, clarifies and justifies his love for all things movie.

Dominic Corry: Can the success of Ghostbusters ever be replicated?

Many films have tried to replicate Ghostbusters success, but very few have succeeded. Is that the problem with the new reboot?

Now that the new Ghostbusters film is being seen, the conversation around it is finally (fingers crossed!) moving beyond the infantile gender rage that permeated the internet following the announcement it would be a female-centric reboot.

While some critcs are loving the new Ghostbusters, some definitely aren't and not because it has ladies in it.

The new film's apparent inability to recapture the universal appeal of the original speaks to the degree to which the 1984 film captured cinematic lightning in a bottle. Many films have tried to replicate its success, but very few have succeeded.

The 1984 Ghostbusters delicate balance of wry humour, massive production values, genuinely threatening supernatural shenanigans and a New York attitude more or less created a new genre.
The 1984 Ghostbusters delicate balance of wry humour, massive production values, genuinely threatening supernatural shenanigans and a New York attitude more or less created a new genre.

The Ghostbusters reboot is simply the latest, and its variable reception shows that replicating the success of the original Ghostbusters is as difficult a task as it has ever been.

The 1984 film's delicate balance of wry humour, massive production values, genuinely threatening supernatural shenanigans and a New York attitude more or less created a new genre. This was a fresh narrative well that many subsequent films would attempt to drink from.

The most obvious example being 1989's Ghostbusters II, which reunited all the principle talent from the first outing. Although I maintain a secret affection for the film, the overwhelming consensus is that the sequel failed to recapture the spirit of its predecessor, showing that even the same ingredients don't necessarily create the same outcome.

Director Ivan Reitman would make another attempt at replicating the magic of Ghostbusters with 2001's Evolution, a noteworthy failure starring David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott and Orlando Jones.

Although the script began life as a serious thriller about rapidly evolving alien organisms, the project pivoted into a big Ghostbusters-esque comedy when Ivan Reitman took over the reins. The film's attempts to Ghostbuster-ise itself are shameless and unsuccessful, yet somehow captivating.

The 2013 stinker R.I.P.D. tried and failed spectacularly to be a Ghostbusters for a new generation, barely bothering to juice up the concept by having Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges play ghost cops.

R.I.P.D. also felt highly derivative of what is arguably the only film to successfully follow in Ghostbusters' footsteps - 1997's Men In Black.

Different enough to be its own thing, yet undeniably a spiritual successsor to Ghostbusters, Men In Black succumbed to diminishing creative returns with two crummy sequels.

1997's Men in Black successfully follows in Ghostbusters' footsteps.
1997's Men in Black successfully follows in Ghostbusters' footsteps.

It's difficult to imagine 1988's Beetlejuice existing without the success of Ghostbusters, but few compared the films thanks to their wildly differing tones.

Perhaps there in lies the key - a large part of Beetlejuice's success can be attributed to its embracing of the specific comedic persona of its lead actor (Michael Keaton) - the same could said of how Ghostbusters hung its tone on the comedic voices of its three leads.

The four leads of the new Ghostbusters movie all have very strong comedy credentials, so perhaps the film will rest on the degree to which the spectacle is informed by their comedic voices.

I love every single person involved, and I cannot wait to see it.

- NZ Herald

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Film critic Dominic Corry celebrates, clarifies and justifies his love for all things movie.

A film critic and broadcaster for fifteen years, a movie and pop culture obsessive for much longer. Favourite films: The Lady Vanishes (1938), Ace In The Hole (1951), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Vertigo (1958), Purple Noon (1960), Emperor of the North (1973), The Parallax View (1974), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), Aliens, The Three Amigos (1986), House of Games, Robocop (1987), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Talk Radio (1988), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Midnight Run (1989), Metropolitan (1990), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Dazed and Confused (1995), The Game (1997), The Last Days of Disco (1998), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Primer (2002), Drag Me To Hell, District 9 (2009), It Follows (2015) and The Witch (2016). See more at www.TheGoodInMovies.com.

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