Akroyd on 'Ghostbusters 3'

DanAkroyd_Ghostbusters1 Cinematical reports that Dan Akroyd is currently at work on the script for GHOSTBUSTERS 3. 
Bill Murray had mentioned in an interview earlier this year that he had little faith in the script submitted by YEAR ONE writers  Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (writer/producers on the TV hit, THE OFFICE), due to what he’d heard about the quality of that feature.
Aykroyd defending Stupitsky and Eisenberg’s draft:

“I think he was concerned that the writing on GHOSTBUSTERS 3 by these guys would not be up to standard, but I can tell you firsthand, I’m working on the script now and those two—Stupnitsky and Eisenberg—wrote Bill the comic role of a lifetime, and the new Ghostbusters and the old are all well represented in it…we have a strong first draft that Harold (Ramis) and I will take back, and I’m very excited about working on it.”

Since Akroyd and Harold Ramis wrote the script to the 1984 original and the `89 sequel, this could be a good sign.  Talking about why the project is still viable and how his character (Dr. Raymond Stantz) relates to the new film, he had the following to say.

“Look, Hollywood is in love with any kind of nostalgia that can prove itself to be commercial—but it has to evolve.  Now,  my character’s eyesight is shot, I got a bad knee, a bad hip. I can’t drive that Caddy anymore or lift that Psychotron Accelerator anymore—it’s too heavy. We need young legs, new minds, new Ghostbusters; so I’m in essence passing the torch to the new regime, and you know what? That’s totally okay with me.”

Bill Murray on 'Ghostbusters 3'

Ghostbusters_Team–What Happened to the Horror-Comedy Sequel?–


In an interview at GQ,  actor Bill Murray gives an explanation of why there’s been no real movement on the long-promised GHOSTBUSTERS 3.

“It’s all a bunch of crock. It’s a crock. There was a story—and I gotta be careful here, I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. When I hurt someone’s feelings, I really want to hurt them. [laughs]
Harold Ramis said, Oh, I’ve got these guys, they write on THE OFFICE, and they’re really funny. They’re going to write the next GHOSTBUSTERS. And they had just written this movie that he had directed… YEAR ONE.
Well, I never went to see YEAR ONE, but people who did, including other Ghostbusters, said it was one of the worst things they had ever seen in their lives. So that dream just vaporized. That was gone.
But it’s the studio that really wants this thing. It’s a franchise. It’s a franchise, and they made a whole lot of money on Ghostbusters.”

Murray also confirmed his ghostly appearance in the proposed film:

“Well, I hadn’t wanted to do the movie. They kept asking, and I kept saying no. So once upon a time I said, just joking: “If you kill me off in the first reel, then fine, I’ll do it.” And then supposedly they came up with an idea where they kill me off and I was a ghost in the movie. Kinda clever, really.”

Read the entire wide-ranging interview at the link above.
It’s always possible that GHOSTBUSTERS 3 will materialize someday, but at the moment, it doesn’t look like that will be anytime soon.

Laserblast DVD & Blu-ray: Ghostbusters, Strangelove, Lost, Friday the 13th, Rifftrax

Feast or famine? This week it’ a feast! After two weeks of almost no worthwhile horror, fantasy, and science fiction home video releases, we suddenly find ourselves deluged with more titles than we can count. This week’s big seller is a new GHOSTBUSTERS Blu-ray disc, which replicates most of the bonus features found on the 2005 double-feature DVD box set (reviewed here), which also included GHOSBUSTERS 2. The re-cycled bonus features are presented in Standard Definition: there is an Audio Commentary (starts slow but gets better), nine minutes of deleted scenes (mostly trivial), a ten-minute on-the-set featurette, an eleven-minute cast and crew featurette (recorded for a 1999 DVD release), a special effects featurette, a multi-angle featurette, and storyboard comparisons. The new high-def bonus features include Cinechat, Blu-Wizard, Slimer Mode, BD-Live, A featurette titled “Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car,” a featurette on making the Ghostbusters video game, a slideshow of photos, and a videogame preview. Also included is a set of theatrical trailers, presented in high-def, for films like CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and THE DA VINCI CODE.
Other Blu-ray discs topping the sales charts this week include Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; Mel Brooks’ SpaceballsLost: The Complete First Season; and Lost: The Complete Second Season. All were previously available on DVD. The new Blu-ray discs offer improved audio and video quality, while porting over old bonus features and adding one or two new tidbits to entice you to buy your favorite titles again. View an excerpt from one of the “Making of the Pilot” bonus feature from Lost: The Complete First Season.

FRIDAY THE 13TH

Jason is back on DVD and Blu-ray this week. The Friday the 13th remake emerges with even more gore in an Extended Killer Cut, available on DVD and on Blu-ray; the later includes both the new cut and the theatrical version, an Amazon Digital Bundle, and a Digital Copy.
In case that’s not enough hacking and slashing for you, five old titles are back: Parts 2 and 3 are on Blu-ray; Parts 4, 5, and 6 are on DVD.
Paramount’s new Blu-Ray of Friday the 13th, Part 2 contains a lovely 1080p transfer that freshens up the 18-year-old film considerably. We didn’t see the DVD release of the deluxe edition last year, but the image on the Blu-Ray is light years ahead of their previous bare-bones issue. It’s still a low-budget horror picture, and folks should set their expectations accordingly, but we noticed improvement in color stability and detail over the Blu-Ray release of the original film. Read a complete review here.
Paramount Blu-ray disc of Friday the 13th, Part 3 contains both the 3D and flat versions of the film (2 sets of 3D glasses are included). The flat transfer is superior to previous home video editions, but not as demonstrably so as the Friday the 13th, Part 2 Blu-Ray release. The print appears to have weaker colors and somewhat more dirt and print damage than the other titles in the series, though this could easily be a side effect of the 3D photography that more technical savvy people might be able to confirm. It’s not a quite a bad transfer, but if the 3D version were not included it would be difficult to recommend an upgrade from the standard DVD edition. Read more here.
It’s a shame that Paramount didn’t deem Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter deserving of a Blu-Ray release (yet), but the new Special Edition DVD looks quite nice. Though inflation would drive the budgets of future installments up, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter seems practically epic when compared to the poverty row entries still to come, and the DVD’s image reflects the higher production standards. To make up for the lack of commentaries on the previous two Friday the 13th discs, there are actually 2 tracks included here, plus a load of bonus features. Read all about them here.
We hope to get back to you later with reviews of the new DVDs for Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning and Part VI: Jason Lives.

RIFFTRAX

RiffTrax – the latest spin-off of the late, lamented Mystery Science Theatre 3000– is releasing ten DVD titles this week.  An Internet venture, not a television show, Rifftrax consists only of audio commentary, with no host segments showing the gang doing skits based on the film. The RiffTrax website sells these down-loadable audio tracks that you can synch up with DVDs you already own. This allows RiffTrax to take on movies without securing the broadcast or DVD rights, so they have extended their reach quite a bit beyond what they could do as Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
The DVDs don’t have this advantage, so the titles being released are older, low-budget films, many of them in the public domain: Night of the Living Dead(reviewed here), Carnival of Souls, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Missile to the Moon, House on Haunted Hill, Little Shop of Horrors, Reefer Madness , Swing Parade, and two sets of short subjects. The budget priced DVDs (under $10) lack bonus features of any kind, but they do offer you the option of watching the films with or without the acerbic barbs of MST3K alumni Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy (interviewed here).
We have only seen the RiffTrax take on Night of the Living Dead, which was better than we feared but still did not convince us that the film warranted the treatment. Others may feel the same about Carnival of Souls, House on Haunted Hill, and Little Shop of Horrors, but probably few will object to subjecting Missile to the Moon, Reefer Madness, and Plan 9 from Outer Space to the usual slings and arrows of outrageous sarcasm – although we worry that Mike Nelson might be running out of jokes for Plan 9, having already provided an audio commentary for Legend’s 2008 colorized DVD (reviewed here). 

BABYLON 5 AND BEYOND

As if that were not enough, the five seasons of Babylon 5 have been repackaged for DVD release, one box set per season. The old DVDs from 2004 are still available at less than half the price. The Warner Brothers website promises that the discs have been “digitally remastred for upgraded picture and sound as well as enticing Exclusive Extras,” but we would like to hear more specifics before recommending that you replace your old collection with this new set.
Also out this week: the animated Transformers – The Complete First Season; the direct-to-video Little Red Riding Hood and Other Stories(starring Christina Ricc); and The Sender,an obscure 1998 film with an all-star cast consisting of Michael Madsen, R. Lee Ermey, Robert Vaughn, and Dyan Cannon.

Andrew Fitzpatrick contributed to Friday the 13th section of this article.

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Ghostbusters – 2005 DVD Review

This is one of the best comedy-horror spoofs ever made. Not only is it riotously funny; almost as important, the humor is never used as an excuse for feeble work. The special effects are as technically good as anything seen in a serious film; the plot is almost as tightly structured as genuine thriller; and director Ivan Reitman does a good job of conveying atmosphere — he even manages a few genuine scares along the way. In effect, this is a textbook example of how to handle a genre parody: do it as well as (or better than) the target, and then add the laughs.
There are lots of great scenes: the Ghostbusters’ initial encounter with a ghostly old woman in a library; their first successful trapping of a phantom (“a real nasty one!”) in a hotel; and of course, the climactic appearance of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, striding down Broadway like King Kong. (The scene is not just funny; it is also one of the most perfectly realized giant-monster-attacks ever filmed.)
In the leads, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis play off each other like a classic comedy team. Providing support as the serious scientists of the group, Aykroyd is the enthusiastic boy at heart, and Ramis is the stoic, logical one (a New Age Mr. Spock, in his own words). First among equals, Murray is the under-achieving mouthpiece of the group, the one who relies on charm and/or wit to compensate for his weak academic credentials. Sigourney Weaver is great as the damsel in distress, a role that starts out as almost a thankless “romantic interest” but which mutates into a hilariously seductive vixen, along with a parody of THE EXORCIST. Moranis gets lots of laughs as the nerdy accountant who constantly locks himself out of his apartment. And Atherton is fantastic as the man you love to hate, the officious EPA official who shuts off the Ghostbusters’ power grid, precipitating the release of their captured spooks.
To some extent, the straight-man role in this film is played by the ghosts: the special effects throw a variety of monstrous apparitions at the titular heroes, whose characteristic reactions then provoke the laughter (for example, when Gozer’s sky-high back-flip evasive maneuvers prompts Murray to quip, “Nimble little minx.”) But some of the effects are quite amusing in and of themselves, particularly the green “Slimer” ghost seen in the hotel (rumored, though never verified, to be based on John Belushi’s Bluto character in ANIMAL HOUSE).
Filled with spectacular apparitions and lots of laughs, GHOSTBUSTERS is a career highlight for most of the talent involved. Unlike many comedies from the period (STRIPES, CADDYSHACK), it does not work in fits and starts, stumbling from one comedy set piece to the next in search of the next big laugh. It really does work as a movie. If only most serious horror films were this good…

DVD DETAILS

2003’s single-disc DVD of GHOSTBUSTERS has some interesting bonus features, but it is not quite a must-have. There is a “video” commentary (that allows you to see the commentator’s silhouettes [a la MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000] by using the multi-angle function on your DVD player); subtitled trivia, production photographs, featurettes, storyboards, and deleted scenes.
Presented in isolation, the storyboards are only mildly interesting. To the average viewer, this kind of thing is only notable when framed by an article discussing the development of the project from script to screen. You do see that the accountant Louis was drawn as a much heavier character, but nothing in this section explains why (John Candy was planned for the role before Moranis stepped in). Likewise, you see that Gozer was originally conceived as a man in a business suit (not the New Age punk woman seen in the film), but you will learn nothing about why the change was made. Fortunately, some of the storyboards are of some interest because they represent scenes that were not filmed. Also, a few of them are presented as before-and-after comparisons, with a split screen showing the boards above the finished sequences. Again some kind of audio commentary explanation of why changes were made would have made this more interesting.
The deleted scenes are disappointing. The film went through some fairly major pruning from script to screen with several sequences never completed (for example, the dream scene with Aykroyd and the beautiful blond floating ghost was originally supposed to be an actual haunting), but none of this is represented. What we get instead is mostly trivial little transitional bits that seem to have been edited out at the last minute. These clips look as if they were preserved on videotape, so the image quality is poor.
The featurettes include a promotional film made when GHOSTBUSTERS was released in 1984. There is also a cast-and-crew featurette with several of the stars looking back on the film and discussing its impact on their careers. And finally there is a special effects documentary that starts out rather stiff and stodgy before getting into some amusing behind-the-scenes anecdotes. There is also a before-and-after feature that allows you to use the multi-angle function to view a handful of scenes with and without the final optical effects.
The “Video” commentary for GHOSTBUSTERS (provided by director Ivan Reitman, writer-actor Harold Ramis, and co-producer Joe Medjuck) is amusing and often informative, but not completely satisfying. Even with three speakers, the conversation goes dead a couple times early on, before they hit their stride and begin relating a series of fun anecdoates. After this point, the only real drawback is that they sound a bit like insiders discussing material they all known so well that they do not necessarily explain it to us. For example, during the climactic confrontation with Gozer (Slavitza Jovan), they begin joking about “Jews and Berries.” No one bothers to explain clearly that this line was a Bill Murray ad-lib in response to Jovan’s Hungarian accent, which distorted Gozer’s line “Choose and Perish!” into what sounded like “Jews and Berries.” (Murray’s ad-lib didn’t make the final cut, and Gozer’s voice was dubbed by another actress to make it more intelligible to the audience.]
The GHOSTBUSTERS Double Feature Gift set released in 2005 is basically a repackaging of the old GHOSTBUSTERS DVD along with GHOSTBUSTERS II. The film is presented in widescreen only, and the menus have been slightly changed. Except for the subtitled trivia and the “video” commentary (which is now audio only), the new disc includes most of the old bonus features, plus a 26-page “Ghostbusters Movie Scrapbook.” This contains profiles of the cast, storyboards and stills, and a few tidbits about the making of the movie. It’s a nice souvenir, but it’s no replacement for Don Shay’s book “Making GHOSTBUSTERS.” Perhaps the best thing about the booklet is the back cover, which features a full-page mock-up add for Stay Puft Marshmallows (“Melt ’em! Roast ‘Em! Toast ’em!)

Copyright 2005 Steve Biodrowski

Ramis talks Ghostbusters 3

ghostbustersDuring a press junket to plug his new movie with Jack Black, Harold Ramis discussed plans to fashion a second GHOSTBUSTERS sequel. The sequel is being scripted by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (THE OFFICE), in consultation with Ramism Dan Akroyd (who created the franchise), and Ivan Reitman (who directed the originals). Judd Apatow will produce. Actors Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen have been rumored as possible new ghostbusters. No director has been signed.
Ramis, who co-wrote the previous flms and co-starred as Dr. Egon Spengler – reports that the original cast will return as supporting characters:

“We’re all going to be in it in different kinds of roles,” Ramis said. “We’re going to be the sage mentors. There are going to be young Ghostbusters.”

[…]
“Bill Murray is just waiting for the truckload of money to arrive to get him out of his office,” Ramis joked.
After taking a jab at his old friend,* Ramis assured us that Murray is definitely “in,” even though the two haven’t communicated directly about the project. “I haven’t talked to him about it,” Ramis said. “I want to talk to him about it eventually. I think we just need a script, because he’s the thorniest of the group.”
Whichever actors end up portraying the fresh crew of wisecracking ghost fighters will be in for a challenge. “Someone asked Seth [Rogen], and he said, ‘What?’ ” Ramis recalled. “He said, ‘That’d have to be one great f—ing script for anyone to touch that.’ He’s right about that.”

FOOTNOTE:

  • The article puzzyfoots around the fact that, having successfully collaborating on several films in the ’80s and ’90s, Murray and Ramis had a falling out after GROUNDHOG DAY (1993).