While I’m still of the opinion that Ghostbusters III should probably never come to light, the odds are that it’s going to happen sooner or later. With that in mind, the question then becomes what can be done to ensure that it isn’t a travesty and a blemish on the franchise. The Ghostbusters franchise has withstood a surprisingly high number of sub-par spin-offs. Ghostbusters II was okay, but nowhere near as good as a sequel to Ghostbusters should have been. The Real Ghostbusters cartoon was great until it was retooled into Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters and taught an entire generation of children what it was like to watch a series go off the rails. It also had to endure a competing cartoon, Filmation’s Ghostbusters, made possible by Filmation being the original rights-holders to the name. (Filmation had a live-action series in the 1970s by the name; Columbia Pictures licensed the name from them, and when the movie was successful, and Columbia moved forward with a cartoon, Filmation revisited their own series in animation form. Filmation head Lou Scheimer later acknowledged they should have just made a grab for producing the series for Columbia.) Later, in the late 90s, a new spin-off cartoon was created, Extreme Ghostbusters, which rapidly flopped.
And yet, despite none of these spin-offs being unqualified successes, and some being outright failures, nothing has tarnished the legacy of the original Ghostbusters film. People seemingly can’t think of Star Wars without thinking of The Phantom Menace nowadays. The Matrix will automatically bring up complaints about the sequels. Ask fans about Highlander, and you’ll immediately hear “there should have been only one.” But mention Ghostbusters, and all the sub-par follow-ups simply slide away. This, more than anything, is why people are concerned about Ghostbusters III. How lucky can one franchise get? How many bad follow-ups can be forgiven? If the third film is terrible, it’s possible it might finally put a tarnish on the franchise, and make it that little bit harder to enjoy the original film. It’s probably best if the film never happens. But since it’s likely to happen anyway, what needs to be done to ensure that it is, against current expectations, a good film? Last week I shared my thoughts on the characters; this week, I’m taking a look at the plot. Continue reading