4 Reasons You Should Worry About 'Ghostbusters 3'
Back in March I wrote a detailed explanation as to why a third Ghostbusters film was as far-fetched as a reasoned evening with Dan Aykroyd. Not long after that did headlines like this start leaking into my news feed:
Now I'm not one to be wrong or admit any fault of my own. But kicking aside the parade of times a Ghostbusters 3 was "super going to happen" in the last decade, one can't shake off the lingering question these headlines create. What if -- and this is a big if -- but what if someone actually makes a Ghostbusters 3?
When exploring this, I was inexplicably touched with the memory of another film from my birth year, The Terminator. As if some intangible force had darkened my heart (or maybe it was because I was watching T2: Judgment Day at the time), I couldn't help but wonder if a new Ghostbusters film was the end to mankind as we know it. I know it sounds like the ravings of a maniac -- but so did Sarah Connor's harbinger words in T2. The only difference is that I'm physically incapable of stabbing you in the neck with a syringe, so you might as well hear me out ...
Its Entire Conception Is Birthed From Hubris
As late as 2009, there have been people denying the possibility of real-world, flesh-hungry automatons from the mechanized depths of man's follies. These days we have uber-brained inventors such as Elon Musk getting all post-nuke Oppenheimer about the subject because of how feasible devil A.I. has become. Like most technological breakthroughs, this was first birthed in fictional work like the golden robot statues of Hephaestus or that dickwad in Flight of the Navigator. In other words, the whole idea seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Gaze into the unfeeling eyes of our impending doom.
Inversely this type of prophecy is happening for the third Ghostbusters, which began as rumors that there would be an all-female film, followed by Bill Murray giving his ideal cast, followed by that "ideal cast" saying that they are totally DTF for the imaginary Murray project, and confirmation that this film is happening.
Now, I'm all for more ladies being in films or wherever. They have legs, and they can go places. I've written about it on this site before. Whatever. But to dip into classical philosophy, the idea of an all-anything Ghostbusters 3 falls under being so preoccupied with whether or not they could do it that they didn't stop to think whether or not they should do it. Hollywood wants to make a new Ghostbusters -- they want it so bad ... all over their face and in their hair -- but there's no narrative reason to keep telling that story. Heck, there was no reason to make Ghostbusters 2, which basically has the same plot points as the first.
Don't get me wrong -- I love Ghostbusters 2 like I love my limbs, but people getting wasted and extra-murdering ghosts is a single movie comedic concept unless there's an organic way to continue the story. Remember story? That used to be a factor in how these things got made, especially with long-after-the-original sequels where the impulse to bring back fan-favorites can cloud better judgement. Like creating an artificial brain, Hollywood is doing this only because they haven't already yet, and they know it will make money, and Hollywood lacks the moral decency to stop themselves. And if they succeed, it will open up a whole world of hurt ...
This Is Just the Start of Something Bigger (And Terrible)
Anyone who says that sequels or prequels or remakes ruin the original films is filled with fucking fool salad. If you truly love a movie, no additional film will retroactively rape your childhood of that love. Terminator Salvation doesn't suddenly make Terminator 2: Judgment Day unenjoyable. You know, just like how a nuclear winter doesn't ruin your memory of actual winter.
"Honey, sit down. I have some bad news about Santa."
Like a computer hive mind capable of launching the world's nuclear arsenal, a cascade of terrible sequels comes down to hitting that first switch. And as Dan Aykroyd recently jabbered, making a Ghostbusters 3 would absolutely be the beginning to an entire cinematic universe of Ghostbusters stories ranging from TV shows to additional spin-offs. Instead of realizing that people laser-fighting obese phantoms was a one-off story concept, he wants folk to be talking about his creation well into 2050. He wants the story of these four guys stretched thin, branded, turned into multiple TV shows, and given prequels following the Ghostbusters as teenagers and children. Dan Aykroyd is a nutty loaf of banana muffin, the kind of lunatic that you'd see eating a Bible on the subway, and he's also the executive producer of the newest film.
"Tonight, I will only answer questions about geology."
So that's what is at stake here. Because whether or not it turns out to be good, Ghostbusters 3 will succeed as a moneymaker. After all, that's why these endless sequels and remakes exist: because the studios know we will see them based off name recognition. From there, a studio-successful Ghostbusters 3 would open up floodgates more emotionally brutal than watching a puppy get killed by a falling Dumb and Dumber To billboard. It certainly wouldn't ruin the original films, but like the T-1000 taking the form of Sarah Connor, it could totally use the original films to hurt us. And along the way, it might take out our heroes as well.
Its Fate Is In the Hands of One Man
For the longest time it was thought that there would be no Ghostbusters 3 without Bill Murray, who was very on the fence about the whole thing. Much like Miles Dyson was for Skynet, Bill Murray truly held the fate of Ghostbusters. The rumor was that Murray hated every version of the script that forced their now aged characters into the plot. Whether or not the rumor was true, Bill Murray was totally on the ball.
To find the most pretentious old guy reference, when Martin Scorsese decided to sequel Paul Newman's The Hustler nearly 30 years later -- several versions of the script took pains to shoehorn in Jackie Gleason's Minnesota Fats character from the original. The reasoning was that while The Color Of Money had a great continuation of Fast Eddie's story into his later years, everyone wanted to see Fats have a part in it as well. Ultimately, everyone (Gleason included) decided that they were forcing it at the expense of a perfectly good film about Tom Cruise as the fabulous douche-lord of Pomadourium.
"Oww-oooooohhhh .... Werewolves of London ..."
With the risk of pining for a time I wasn't really a part of, the sad fact is that the industry doesn't make decisions like that anymore. If a big actor is willing to do another film, they will put that actor in the film no matter what. Even if the character fucking died, which is what's happening with Sigourney Weaver in the Avatar sequels (James Cameron has even remarked that her resurrection was squarely dependant on her agent). We're also getting another Blade Runner with Harrison Ford, despite that taking a big happy shit on the awesome director's cut where Rick Deckard turns out to be a replicant. And now, after his continued refusal, the studio is still going after Bill Murray to appear in Ghostbusters 3. With all that public persistence ... what if he eventually says yes? It sounds unthinkable, but so did a fourth Indiana Jones until the cast reunited at an AFI tribute to Ford, and those nostalgia sparks ignited for everyone involved.
Man, Egon got hot!
Do we really want that to happen? Do we want Murray to want to do more Ghostbusters? I guess it doesn't matter actually, because the revelation we're getting is that Ghostbusters 3 will apparently happen no matter what Murray does. Not unlike how Miles Dyson was revealed to not be key to Skynet in that Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines.
Wow. Terminator 3 sure was a shitty film, wasn't it? Terminator Salvation was even worse, too. If only they had stopped at-
Oh ... hold on, I fucked this up ...
This Is the Terminator 3 Moment
Hey. Sorry. Sorry everyone.
So all that stuff about how Ghostbusters 3 would trigger waves of despair similar to robots dawning a worldwide flesh-searing judgment day? That might have been off. We're not hovering our fingers over another Skynet. We're hovering our fingers over another Terminator 3. You can see where the confusion came from.
Anyway ... strip down, because we're going back in time.
Wait, on second thought, maybe put on a sweater or something.
Like Ghostbusters 3, T3 was first conceived by the original director and cast of the second and first films. James Cameron eventually dropped the idea, which sparked hordes of offers for Schwarzenegger to reprise the role under another director. He refused until someone came to his door with a wheelbarrow full of cash and the most expensive movie budget ever greenlit at the time. So that's Arnold going from "maybe" to "fuck no" to "I'm getting a new house!" in less than a decade. And now we can't stop him from making Terminator films, the newest going so far as to hastily change the canon so terminators can age and the actor can be crammed in there.
I say just go with it, man. I'm fine with this Arnold.
Unlike Gleason in The Color of Money, Arnold is willing to sacrifice the quality of the film to reprise his role. Because why the heck not? Terminator 3's existence and marginal success signified a world where it was suddenly OK to turn a fully told, two-movie plotline into a messy and nonsensical franchise. If you went back in time to 2000 and told me that one day there would be five Terminator films, I would punch you in the side of the neck in disbelief. Also, way to not warn anyone about 9/11, you fucking monster.
Point is, there was a wonderful time where we could think about The Terminator as two films from the 80s and 90s that touched our hearts and ended gracefully. Not unlike how we can think of Ghostbusters that way now, before some whatever director takes a crack at pasting a third film onto a franchise that was done with back in 1989.
Really, how many moments like this can you create? One? Maybe two?
There's a reason why it seems impossible for a third film to get made. Call it ... fate, call it luck, call it karma. I believe everything happens for a reason, but I also believe that there's no fate but what we make. So this is that defining moment. Our finger is hovering over the Ghostbusters 3 button, a button that will trigger a series of never-ending garbage. How about we just walk away? Just walk away.
And just so you know, I'm so pumped for the new Mad Max. I don't care that it literally goes against everything I just said.
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For more from David, check out 6 Terrible Plans in Movies That Just Sort of Work Out. And then check out 33 Famous Movie Plots Explained in 140 Characters (or Less).