The amount of backlash the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot faced from fanboys is especially baffling when you consider they’re defending the sanctity of a franchise that includes Ghostbusters 2.
This is not just a movie with plot holes and logical leaps, it’s a movie with a basic premise that doesn’t make sense. In the five years since the original ended, with the Ghosbusters celebrated as heroes after defeating the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, they are now pariahs and outcasts. Whatever caused popular opinion to turn against them so that they are now generally considered frauds, is never explained. Let’s not forget, in the first movie, these guys were on the cover of Time magazine, USA Today, and their heroics were celebrated on Larry King’s radio show. How does the public once again not believe in ghosts, given the way ghosts ran in the streets and a giant marshmallow man attacked the city?
But all of those points are fairly obvious. It’s easier to overlook the many career changes the major characters have undergone.
Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) is still investigating the paranormal. Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Winston Zedemore (Ernie Hudson) are now doing kids’ birthday parties dressed up in their Ghostbusters jumpsuits. So at least they’re still Ghostbusters, I guess. But it’s not clear why anyone would want them at a kid’s birthday party if they’re such frauds. (Also, there’s no explanation why the Ghostbusters logo on their sleeve now has the ghost in the logo holding up two fingers.)
Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) has gone from a Ph.D. scientist to a schlocky TV host, still peddling the paranormal. Wouldn’t academics like Stantz, Venkman and Spengler move on to another university, either in the U.S. or in another country? How long have they been basically unemployed and hanging around New York?
Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) was the nerdy, lovestruck accountant who lived down the hall from Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett. Yet when we catch up with him in Ghostbusters 2, he’s a lawyer. To become a lawyer takes three years of full time study followed by one year of an articling apprenticeship. But we’re told he earned his law degree going to night school and specialized in tax law. Given the timeline, it’s almost impossible for him to have become a tax attorney in five years.
At least Louis’s new career is a complement to his existing career. Being a tax attorney would enhance his abilities as an accountant. Dana Barrett’s career change makes the least sense of any character in the series. In the first movie, she’s a professional musician and member of a prestigious New York orchestra. It’s an extremely competitive position that itself would have taken years of education, training and practice. But by Ghostbusters 2, she’s working in a museum as an art restoration expert.
She serves under the direction of Janosz Poah, head of the restoration department, so at least she has a junior position. But to be qualified to hold her job, Dana would have had to complete at least a two-year university program. So it’s entirely possible that she could have done that and earned some experience to gain the position she has in Ghostbusters 2.
However, late in the movie, she tells Janosz, she’s thinking of returning to the orchestra. If she’s just taking a break from her music career, does it make sense that the job she takes in the meantime would require a whole new course of training? And if she was serious enough about working in art restoration to get a degree in it, would she then just decide to change course again and go back to music? Given how competitive she says the orchestra is in the first movie, is it realistic that she could just decide to go back after a few years off and return to the position she was in?
I’m a Ghostbusters fan, and I still have fun watching Ghostbusters 2, but it has a lot of problems. The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot is a much better movie than Ghostbusters 2, and it’s not even close.