‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ Trailer Forgot the Jokes
I had forgotten that they were making another Ghostbusters until a trailer dropped today and sure enough, there they were — Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson working alongside Paul Rudd to take down a new generation of spooks in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.
Chilling! But while watching the preview, I couldn’t help but think something was missing — I mean, besides the late Harold Ramis. Let’s see here. Ghosts? Check. The Ectomobile tearing through the streets on the way to bust some ghouls? Yep. Reliably funny actors? There’s Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt and Kumail Nanjiani — they’ll work. So what’s the misplaced element here?
Oh yeah — jokes!
The original Ghostbusters trailer had a similarly creepy set-up — a lonely librarian moves through a deserted library as eerie things start happening around her. The place is haunted! It’s a job for the Ghostbusters! But once the phantasms are established, the old trailer lets us know that this is indeed a comedy.
- “Hey, anybody see a ghost?” hollers Murray’s Peter Venkman, lecherously eyeing an attractive young lady who happens to be passing by.
- The nervous Ghostbusters blast their proton packs at anything that moves, nearly taking out a hotel maid and leaving smoking rolls of toilet paper in their wake.
- “Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously,” warns Ramis as Egon, “and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.” Venkman considers this. “Right, that's bad. Important safety tip.”
- How bad would it get if the ghosts weren’t stopped? Venkman warns not only of fire and brimstone but of “dogs and cats living together.”
It’s a movie that actually looks fun. “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!” cheers Venkman in what is clearly a comedy. But other than Murray, Aykroyd, and Hudson showing up as aging, solemn Yoda figures, the trailer for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire looks like a teaser for a humorless episode of Stranger Things.
Maybe that’s what the producers of this next generation of Ghostbusters are after — more chills, fewer laughs. Most critics found Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the version that introduced Rudd to the family, to be funny enough so maybe it’s the Sony marketing folks who decided to emphasize the horror this time around. There’s got to be jokes in the actual movie, right? Don’t get me wrong — ghosts are a crucial part of Ghostbusters. But would it kill the filmmakers to inject a little anarchic comedy as well?