Ghostbusters: the heritage, the family spirit is there, between nostalgia, comedy and renewal

CRITICAL – Director Jason Reitman (Juno, On the Air…) takes the reins of this cult saga of the 80s and rekindles the flame of specter hunters with a solid staging, a few pinches of humor, but above all a lot of emotion.

After the critical, public and financial debacle of the Ghostbusters III directed in 2016 by Paul Feig, with a quartet of rather heartbreaking ghost hunters, the franchise Ghostbusters looked rather shabby.

Against all expectations, this sequel-reboot signed by Jason Reitman, the own son of Ivan Reitman (director of the first two films) does justice to this cult saga of the 80s.

Deliberately ignoring the calamitous 2016 film, Ghostbusters: the legacy picks up the story where the second part, released in 1989, had left it.

The plot unfolds when Callie (Carrie Coon), a single mother looking after two children Phoebe (12) and Trevor (15) learn of her father’s death. In debt, she leaves her New York apartment to move her little family to the old house of her late father, not far from a small mining town, Summerville, lost in the depths of Oklahoma.

In Ghostbusters: the legacy, the old Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance from 1959 is back in service (with some rather encouraging new fittings). © Sony Pictures

While rummaging in the old abandoned building, the children are quick to discover ghost hunter material belonging to their grandfather Egon Splenger (played by the late Harold Ramis, also screenwriter of the two original films, who died in 2014).

The ex-ghost hunter was living a recluse in Summerville for good reason. Phoebe and Trevor will soon have to take up the torch of the original Ghostbusters to face an old threat that threatens to resurface.

You had to have faith to meet the challenge of refurbishing a legendary 80s saga such as Ghostbusters. Director Jason Reitman (Juno, On the Air…) accepted this heavy task. And we understand why. No doubt he was keen to wash the honor that tainted the franchise Ghostbusters since 2016. More than thirty years after the first two films, here is again a comedy of ghosts worthy of the name.

Bouffe-tout (Slimer in English) is doing its own thing in this new version of Ghostbusters … always so hungry! © Sony Pictures

Playing the card of nostalgia at the same time as that of renewal, Reitman begins by moving the plot of this sequel-reboot in the countryside, far from New York, which was however the original breeding ground of the series. He does well. Nothing like the great outdoors of the American West to revitalize a myth that we believed to be bloodless.

In the heart of these majestic western landscapes, a mountain dominates. And it feels like suddenly transported in Encounter of the Third Kind by Steven Spielberg. Precisely, if Jason Reitman resuscitates the Amblin spirit, he also stages a modernized version of Goonies, these resourceful kids who will take up the torch of their elders, and relearn how to hunt ghosts to save humanity from the evil specters which threaten to come to destroy it.

In the role of Phoebe, young McKenna Grace takes up the Ghostbusters’ torch with brio and talent. © Sony Pictures

The one who holds the film on her frail shoulders is called McKenna Grace plays a young 12-year-old scientist who takes a lot of her grandfather Egon. Because it is indeed a family story which it is about beyond the spectral adventures and other rather convincing action sequences, removed and well paced.

Legitimate in more ways than one, Jason Reitman revisits the universe imagined by his father and pays him a fine tribute thanks to a respectful and sincere film in the form of a declaration of love.

The final presence of the starting trio, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson certainly attests to it. Thanks to this passing of the torch from one generation to the next, this action comedy, tender and gently horrifying, manages to make peace with the ghosts of the past.

We even see that by bringing together the original team around the benevolent spirit of Harold Ramis, the feature film removes the specter of a cynical mercantile takeover of the franchise. Less carefree, but more moving than the original films, Ghostbusters: the legacy succeeds – as a bonus – the feat of making you shed a small tear, between two bursts of laughter. This is no small victory.


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