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Ghostbusters: Afterlife Sheds New Light On An Old Franchise

Finally, the Ghostbusters franchise is looking toward the future.


With Ghostbusters: Afterlife hitting theaters, the franchise is getting a fresh coat of paint as it attempts to endear itself to a new generation of fans. Unlike 2016's Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, Afterlife is going after a younger audience. And while it still makes sure to touch on the hits that longtime fans will be looking for, they aren't necessarily the original targets.

Instead, new characters are introduced and become the avatars for an audience not raised on a steady diet of the first two films. The end result is a look at a decades-old franchise through a fresh set of eyes that can hopefully continue on in future films.

"For a new audience, the characters who are carrying us on this adventure are just like them in a process of discovery,' co-writer Gil Kenan told GameSpot. "And so I think, as long as we had Phoebe and Trevor and Podcast and Lucky to tell this story with, that we felt like this was not a mechanical process of balancing, past and present and future, but a sort of organic narrative storytelling process."

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To figure out how to approach the story from that angle, Kenan and co-writer and director Jason Reitman simply looked to their own lives.

"Both Jason and I are fathers," co-writer Gil Kenan told GameSpot. "And we have daughters who were the same age as Phoebe [McKenna Grace] for much of the process, the developing, and making, and editing of this film--almost exactly the same age. So it meant that we were able to think about not just the legacies continuum, or the characters continuum, but our own continuums as storytellers and to think about the sort of characters and adventures that we feel like our daughters should be exposed to that maybe aren't available to them in movie theaters in the same way that they were for us when we were growing up."

Who better to write a Ghostbusters movie for than your own kids--after all, Reitman himself is the son of Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two films.

Still, even with this movie hoping to catch the attention of a new audience, there's still plenty of love for the original movies--including among the cast. McKenna Grace, who stars as Egon Spengler's granddaughter Phoebe, is a self-described superfan.

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"Every day felt like a dream,' the actress said. "Even now, I'm still pinching myself wondering, you know, 'When am I gonna wake up? This is crazy! I can't believe this is my life!' I cry a lot, like happy tears, because I can't believe it. I always want to make sure that everybody knows just how grateful I am to have this opportunity because it means the world to me."

And who could blame her? She went from dressing as a Ghostbuster for Halloween to filming scenes shooting a proton pack with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson. If that's not a passing of the torch to a new generation, what is?

In GameSpot's review of the film, Chris E. Hayner wrote that Ghostbusters: Afterlife "strike[s] a balance between action, family-friendly levels of horror, and a comedic tone that doesn't overpower the story. There are some decent scares in the movie, but nothing that should be too overwhelming for younger audiences. And while the other Ghostbusters films are undoubtedly in the comedy/horror genre, Afterlife is a sort of adventure movie more akin to The Goonies than anything else. It's about the journey these kids go on as they figure out how to be Ghostbusters in order to save their town and the world. And that's when Afterlife is at its strongest."

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in theaters on November 19.

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