Returning to the Classics

Two of my all time favorite 80’s movies are both receiving a new movie to complete trilogies. Both received their sequels relatively quickly after the original. Then went dormant for a long time. One had a pseudo remake in 2016 and the other just a whisper of rumored return.

“We came, we saw, we kicked it’s ASS” as a quote easily describes Ghostbusters for me. The first of the two movies, you may have even been able to guess it prior to the big reveal based on my brief information above. Ghostbusters took what some might consider spooky, threw in a sci-fi elements and sprinkled in comedy to make an instant classic.

As a kid of course I needed a proton pack and pretended to be out there along side them busting ghost of my own. The sequel was not as admired as the first movie by general audiences. In my opinion they were wrong. Now am I saying that is flawless? No, but it deserves more love than it was given.

Dan Akroyd and Ernie Hudson start the movie off by singing the beloved theme song, only to be revealed to be nothing more than gimmick party entertainment for a child’s birthday party. Revealing that they have been seen as frauds and banned from practicing any form of busting and investigation for spooks, spectre, or ghost, even after saving the city in the previous movie. Bill Murray’s Dr. Venkman has become a talkshow host on paranormal, which fits the character so well. An excellent re-instatement in the courtroom fight, topped off with people covered in slime almost seemed like something off of Nickelodeon.

While not a perfect sequel strong enough in my opinion to always have had hope that a third may follow. Over the following decade it seemed like it was less and less likely. Rumors would emerge here and there, but nothing came of it, until 2009, when Ghostbusters the video game came out. It was described as the closest thing that we would get to a third movie. In 2014 it seemed the final thread of hope snapped with the passing of Harold Ramis.

Skip ahead to the 2016 spiritual reboot of Ghostbusters with a female lead cast. Due to poor reception (even before the movie launched), it seemed too much had changed from the source and was torn down by critics and fans alike. Skip ahead just a bit further to 2019, and everyone is surprised by a surprise teaser and announcement of yet another Ghostbusters movie. This time it is a continuation from the original two. Bringing Ivan Reitman’s son, Jason, as the director of this new film along with many of the original cast returning.

The film will take place in present day “based on the trajectory” of the previous films and not acknowledging the 2016 reboot at all. Paul Rudd was later announced as a cast member but no details on the capacity. While Rudd has demonstrated leading chops as well as supporting work in such recent blockbusters as Antman [and the Wasp] or Avengers: Endgame, the question still remains, what does he bring to the role and will it be relevant? Only time will tell.

Now for the second movie, it may not have the same following as the previous but it’s cult following would argue that it is as important. This movie is more accurately described by it’s own quote “-Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.” Oops! I mean “Excellent!” The one and only Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

A movie that introduced us to a young Keanu Reeves and his best friend Alex Winters. Based in San Dimas, California our titular characters struggle to save their friendship and more importantly their band, the Wyld Stallyns [insert air guitar here]. After finding out they are failing history, they are given their final oral exam as the last chance to pass the class.

To say the least these stereotypical 80s characters are not the most stellar students and struggle with the efforts to study. Just when it seems that Keanu Reeve’s Ted should start packing his bags to be sent to Military School in Alaska, Rufus [George Carlin] comes to save the day in his time traveling phone booth (no not that phone booth!).

Long story short, the teens travel through time and learn much about themselves as well as history, rocking the history exam in a way only they could. This movie was followed up by a [Bill and Ted’s] ‘bogus journey which was just that in a lot of ways.

From being replaced by robots, murdered by said robots and then sent to hell and meeting death, the movie has a darker feel out the door. While again it’s hard for me to say that the film is bad, I feel the original was far superior. I must add that the comic spin offs following the two movies did an excellent job of balancing the dark tone of the sequel with it’s predecessor.

Now let’s focus back on the films, since the sequel came out, Alex and Keanu have always said they would return to the roles. Almost thirty years later and Keanu has pivoted his roles toward a much more action packed, dog revenging, kind of hero, and it seems extremely unlikely they would ever step back into that photo booth of his past. It was when it was most unlikely that he and Alex announced that it was happening and in fact starting to film the movie this year.

Once again I am left scratching my head, wondering is it too late? Has the story ran out of runway, or can this duo still take off and re-invigorate these 80’s cliches? Can they teach us once again [in a time when we need it most] to “be excellent to each other”.

I have a soft spot in my heart for both of these series and characters and I can only hope that I am not let down when they both come out next year.

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