Does The World Really Want Ghostbusters 3?

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The internet is abuzz today (it’s always abuzz about stuff – frickin’ abuzz factory, this thing is) about rumors that a third Ghostbusters movie is written and ready to go, pending the approval of one holdout actor who hasn’t yet read the script:

“That would be the famous Bill Murray — Mr. Venkman,” Reitman says…

Reitman, 64, adds that he feels the latest installment is better than the previous two movies. “I’m really jazzed about it,” he tells CNN.

And if Murray doesn’t like it? “We have a very complicated deal,” says Reitman. “Let’s just put it that way.”

Several sites seem to be reporting this news with the implicit endorsement of the idea, as if to say “All we need is Murray on board and hoorayy!!! More Ghostbusters!!!!!”

Remember, though, that we’ve been hearing about a possible Ghostbusters 3 since the days of Geocities rumor mills — right alongside rumored future Mortal Kombat 3 characters and guarantees that the Arrested Development movie is a go — and despite the talent involved, I just have a very hard time getting excited about another Ghostbusters movie in the year 2011.

Let’s discuss:

Ghostbusters is one of the best movies ever, period. It’s arguably the most watchable and most quotable movie ever made, and I doubt I’m in any controversial minority with any of these statements.

Ghostbusters 2 came out five years later — a relatively long delay for a sequel — and while it certainly isn’t as legendary as the first, it’s still a worthy film with a lot of funny parts and I’ll always remember it fondly.

But a third Ghostbusters installment, coming out more than twenty years after the second one which already featured the Statue of Liberty coming to life via Jackie Wilson music and saving New York from a painting? I don’t believe I’m tarnishing the talent involved here when I say that I’m highly, highly skeptical of this turning out well.

I’m also not sure that Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis all being eagerly on board necessarily counts as a reason to assume the project is good. Ivan Reitman is a legend and continues to lend his hand to quality projects, but the last three films he’s directed have been Evolution, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and this year’s No Strings Attached — why wouldn’t he jump at the opportunity to direct a film that’ll spit gold out of its title?

Harold Ramis wrote and appeared in plenty of classic films, but his involvement here seems ancillary, and as for Dan Aykroyd, well, yeah. As for the script, it may indeed be good — two U.S. Office writers apparently wrote the bulk — but of course Reitman is gonna say it’s better than the other two movies; he’s not gonna be like, “I’m pitching this new movie and trust me, it definitely has some jokes that I believe are on par with some of the ones in 2!”

I don’t mean to suggest this far in advance that Ghostbusters 3 will automatically be bad, just that we should probably reserve some caution for a sequel to an untoppable 20+ year old film when all the actors are nearing or in their 60s, the film’s been in development for seven presidential terms, and we’ll all be watching it with the collective pressure of begging it not to strip-mine the legacy of its pristine predecessor (and its also-fine sequel).

For now, though, everything depends on Bill Murray. I’m sure if they can’t convince him to eagerly reprise his decades-old successful thing, they can always just get Eric Idle.