Released in 1984, Ghostbusters has become a cult film whose artistic success has never managed to be repeated. Neither by its direct sequel in 1989, nor by the female reboot of 2016. It is the turn of the son of the original director to try the experience, determined to assume his heritage.
“Who you gonna call? “. Whether you are bilingual or not, you inevitably know the answer to this question posed by Ray Parker Jr.’s iconic song “Ghostbusters!” », Or Ghostbusters in our house, is a film directed by Ivan Reitman in the early 1980s which has marked several generations. After an unfortunate attempt to resuscitate the feminine franchise, it’s Jason Reitman, director of Juno or The Front Runner, who seizes the license with only one goal: to pay tribute to his father’s work.
Ghostbusters: The Legacy is presented as a sequel to the second opus of 1989 and takes place years later, when the daughter and grandchildren of Egon Splenger (played by the late Harold Ramis, also screenwriter of both films originals) land in the small town where the former ghost hunter lived as a recluse. Very quickly, they realize that this retreat was not by chance and they will have to take up the torch in the face of an old threat.
It doesn’t get more complicated than relaunching a franchise, especially when the decades have convinced them that its beginnings are second to none. Between the need not to offend the fans and the need for renewal to please a new generation, the dosage is particularly delicate and we can cite a good number of productions which have broken their teeth. Even commercial successes like Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Jurassic World have received cynical (and not necessarily unjustified) feedback on this balancing act between risk of betrayal and the call to copy and paste. But Jason Reitman assures him himself: out of the question to soil the spirit of Ghostbusters, especially since his father was watching over the grain, often by his side on the set.
In short, we are sworn to guaranteed loyalty and we must recognize that the company keeps its promises. The feature film can only be seen as an immense declaration of love from a son to his father’s work, from a director to the fans. Far from the touting use of the past to attract nostalgic crowds – as was the case with many recent productions reverently surfing the 80s / 90s – Reitman junior overflows with sincerity and envy when he summons the codes of Reitman senior. The film assumes passing DNA, in front of and behind the screen, as if to ensure that ghosts will always exist as long as there are people to take care of them.
More than a torch exchange, This Ghostbusters also seeks to pay tribute to the one who is no longer by offering Harold Ramis, through his character, deeply touching farewells. The Spengler family is at the heart of the story, and if there’s one area where this sequel surpasses the original, it’s in its deeply human approach. Far from the humor of the first, this Legacy is not afraid to face his emotions and we let ourselves be fooled, tears in our eyes.
SOS, there are too many ghosts
However, it seems that the pressure not to disappoint has taken too much precedence over Jason Reitman’s own creative ambition. The feature film is thus literally inhabited by the ghosts of the past, real ectoplasms with the original cast come to say hello. And while references abound (to the point where if you haven’t seen the first film, you risk losing 80% of interest), we see that no scene manages to make an impression if it is not wearing the imprint of the original. We don’t like a scene for what it brings to mythology, but for the nostalgia factor that it entails.
Even in its entertainment side, this Ghostbusters only manages to thrill when it brings our memories back to life. The cast, as competent as they are, are themselves just reminders that yes, Ghostbusters first of the name was really great. We are the first surprised, but we come to say that the women’s reboot at least had the merit of taking more risk.
By dint of summoning the father, the son forgets to exist, preferring to isolate himself in a comfort zone within which he is sure not to disappoint. Ambivalent feeling that inhabits us then; that of having taken a real pleasure in rediscovering the Ghostbusters with which we grew up and the frustration of seeing only a legacy, without wanting to go beyond it. Except maybe in a suite?