Another big summer 2020 movie dropped a trailer yesterday, as we get our first look at Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the Ghostbusters movie that will restore this hallowed franchise about ghost-hunting nerds to the true fans, the toxic bros who wouldn’t let anyone enjoy a version about ghost-hunting nerds who happen to be girls. And what are we getting with our franchise restoration? The dark and gritty Ghostbusters. Hoo raaaaay.
The vibe here is definitely Stranger Things, aided by the presence of Finn Wolfhard as one of two children relocated to a small town where weird things are happening. The other child is played by an unrecognizable McKenna Grace, one of the most prominent young actresses working right now. I assume they did that to her hair to make her look more believably like Finn Wolfhard’s sister, but it just makes your famous young person unrecognizable, which defeats the purpose of hiring a famous young person. Alternatively, they could have dyed Finn Wolfhard’s hair blonde, and then he would have matched his mom, played by Carrie Coon. But alas, instead we get McKenna Grace with a bad brunette perm.
I actually like the setup of this movie a lot. The events of Ghostbusters back in the 1980s have largely faded into obscurity, and the only person—at least in this trailer—who remembers is a teacher played by Paul Rudd, who is old enough to recall the heyday of the OG Ghostbusters. The kids apparently never knew their grandfather, Egon Spengler, so their adventure means rediscovering ghost activity and fulfilling Spengler’s legacy. (This should have been the setup for the 2016 movie, but FOR SOME REASON, they were not allowed to tie that movie directly to the original Ghostbusters. Hmmm, wonder why.)
What I don’t really love about this trailer is how self-important it is. Ghostbusters was cool, but it was also goofy and nerdy and weird, and as funny as it was scary. It was also FOR CHILDREN. As with almost every pre-1990s property regurgitated in the 2010s, this is actually made for the grown-up fans of the original, and not actual children today. As such, it can’t be silly and goofy, it has to be dark and serious. I hope the movie itself has more humor, but it says a lot that the trailer is choosing to emphasize a gloomy tone, where even the discovery of a gunner’s chair in the Ectomobile doesn’t feel fun, it feels weighted with responsibility. Hunting ghosts should be thrilling! But this feels somber. Gee, just what I always wanted, grimdark Ghostbusters. We are now catering to the two worst elements in fandom: the people who ruined Ghostbusters, and the people who can only process “quality” as “dark and serious”. What a fun time to be alive.