I want to feel unrestrained glee over the idea of a new Ghostbusters film from Jason Reitman (son of Ivan, the director of the original two). It’s quite likely the pop culture staple that I most give a damn about. Peter Venkman was the rock upon which I built my (mostly retired) sarcastic slacker persona in my early ’20s and Ghostbuster action figures have been a continuing obsession since childhood. This news should have me levitating off my bed and doing spin moves beside a fountain, but the complete abandonment of Ghostbusters: Answer The Call has me initially feeling a little hollow (while complimentary towards it, Reitman has said that he isn’t going to draw from Paul Feig’s female-team focused film).
Ghostbusters: Answer The Call is not my favorite Ghostbusters movie but it has some fun moments. More importantly, it also has a collection of amazing performances from Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Melissa McCarthy, and Kristen Wiig that were obscured by the noise (and coverage) of the 2016 Ghostbusters Culture Wars where a vocal segment of (mostly male) Ghostbusters fans revolted in response to the idea of the film. Answer The Call also means a lot to a lot of people, which is a cool thing. I know that sounds like virtue signaling, and I guess it is, but I really feel like pop culture moves forward at a higher velocity than I do and that it makes more sense to share my toys than break them so that no one else can enjoy them.
I wanted to see more from the Ghostbusters: Answer The Call cast and their characters since so much time was spent introducing them and running them through scenarios that, at times, felt too similar to the original Ghostbusters film. In a lot of ways, Answer The Call commits the same nostalgia drunk sins as Star Wars: The Force Awakens did, feeling like a cover song in places. And that has some appeal, but we’re never going to get the satisfying The Last Jedi “kill the past” chaser for Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters. And that’s not solely because of that culture war or the film’s middling box office returns.