Who You Gonna Call for Ghostbusters 3?

Posted by: Jerrica

To say that "Ghostbusters" is anything less than an American institution of the 80s culture comedy classics would be like calling "Jaws" an old shark movie. There's still nothing like the fun of vintage Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson running around with proton packs and pulling out of the firehouse to the sound of Ecto-1's wailing siren. It's a horror comedy like only 1984 could have done it, and the 1989 sequel brought them back for a second hilarious round with the paranormal.

It's been 17 years since "Ghostbusters 2," and "Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent" has been waiting in the wings to bring the 1980s phenomenon back to theaters for the legion of fans as well as a new generation of moviegoers who missed out on the original real deal. "Ghostbusters" has never been duplicated, not in premise or success. And, there's only one person who would be bold enough to try to revitalize the series with a new movie, and that's actor/writer/director/producer Harold Ramis, one of the stars of the original two movies.

Egon Spengler (AKA Ramis) has become a notable filmmaker since his Ghostbusting days. Besides his small role in the Oscar-winning film "As Good As It Gets" with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, Ramis wrote and directed the quirky and sharp comedies "Analyze This" as well as its sequel "Analyze That" with Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, and "Bedazzled" with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley. He also wrote and directed the brilliant comedy "Groundhog Day," which starred fellow Ghostbuster and most successful of the four, Bill Murray.

While Ramis is very interested in revisiting his Ghostbusting roots, Murray doesn't share the wish to relive his reign as everyone's favorite Ghostbuster, the sarcastic and cool Dr. Peter Venkman. At the time of the two films, Murray was emerging as one of the kings of comedy in an era of such monarchs as Steve Martin and the late, great John Candy. Today, Murray is a Hollywood force all his own, doing projects as diverse as indie drama that translates to Oscar-worthy gold in "Lost in Translation" (for which Murray earned a Best Actor nomination) to voicing Americana's most recognizable orange fat cat in CGI form for the big screen realization of "Garfield." Among other things he's done across his career, Murray has gone from "Scrooged" to "Ed Wood" to "Wild Things" to "Charlie's Angels" to "The Royal Tenenbaums" to "Broken Flowers." But, much to the disappointment and dismay of Venkman fans everywhere, he will not be going back to his Ghostbusting glory.

Without being able to call Bill Murray back to the fire station, "Ghostbusters 3" (last reported as being titled "Ghostbusters in Hell") has an extremely large void to fill. It's hard to imagine how to plug up a black hole like that one, because there are very, very few people that could salvage this movie for those disillusioned by the news that Murray isn't interested in reprising his role. But, the name Ben Stiller certainly should instill hope in worried "Ghostbuster" groupies. Ramis seems to have Stiller in mind to play a new member of the Ghostbusters team.

If Ramis can achieve his goal of a returning cast that would include Rick Moranis and Dan Aykroyd, then the third movie may be worth its wait. Aykroyd wrote the script in which the Ghostbusters are transported to Hell via a portal, and in a twist completely befitting a "Ghostbuster" film, Hell will closely resemble New York City. IGN quoted Ramis as he described this vision of Hell they had in mind.

"What Danny had originally conceived was sending us to a special-effects hell, a netherworld full of phenomenal visual environments and boiling pits. But what works so well about the first two [films] is the mundane-ness of it all. So my notion was that hell exists in the same place as our consensus reality, but it's like a film shutter. It's the darkness between the 24 frames. So we create a device to do it, and it's in a warehouse in Brooklyn. When we step out of the chamber, it looks just like New York, but it's hell. Everything's grid-locked; no cars are moving and all the drivers are swearing at each other in different foreign languages. No two people speak the same language. It's all the worst things about modern urban life, just magnified."

Anyone who appreciates the two "Ghostbuster" films can see the genius in the way this all sounds when put together. Of course, any true devotee will also be disgruntled over Murray's absence. But, accepting the subtraction of Peter Venkman from the big picture, of all the possible additions to the cast, Ben Stiller is probably the only one I would trust to know and show "Ghostbuster" quality. If any funny man in Hollywood can prove himself "Ghostbuster" material, I would definitely have faith in Stiller to do it and do it well. And, Ramis and Aykroyd are cultivating a hell of an idea, especially since they both respect the ingenuity as well as the cult following of the films enough to be sure they do it justice. Stiller's got the talent, and they've got the coolly "mundane" concept. If this falls into place like Ramis wants, the Ghostbusters will be breaking back onto the scene in a new millennium.


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