There’s something strange in the neighborhood these days… that being the new Ghostbusters movie, Frozen Empire. With the return of this classic 80’s movies along with its cast, many are looking back at the previous installments. With four films, an animated show, and a massive legacy, Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters is an iconic franchise. Hopefully with the latest film, the Ghostbusters won’t have to go on ice again.

Ghostbusters (2016)

While the rest on this list at least had some goodwill, the same can’t be said for 2016’s reboot. The 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters received criticism from the very moment its trailer dropped online. It earned one of the worst dislike ratios to a major trailer in YouTube’s history. The problems with the film are the usual fare for classic reboots; rehashed plots, unoriginal ideas, and over-reliance on nostalgia rather than an original work. Additionally, the film had far too much of an emphasis on low-brow comedy, failing to balance out the more serious elements that gave the original gravity. The maelstrom of internet debates surrounding the film did little to help it.

Ghosbusters II

Despite being a direct sequel to the original film, Ghostbusters II remains a rather lackluster continuation. This is best demonstrated with simply how little attention the film receives compared to the other films in the franchise. The film at least works because it keeps not only the original cast and crew of the first film, with an interesting plot of needing to bring the team back together. However, at the same time the sequel does little to actually add to the franchise either. Despite this, Vigo was at least an entertaining villain that fit with the spirit of the series.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife

As a surprise hit, Ghostbusters: Afterlife was the reboot that many fans were actually looking for. For instance, the film was directed by the late Ivan Reitman’s own son, Jason, passing the franchises’ torch. As a counter to 2016’s overly goofy tone, Afterlife returns to the element of darkness that made the original films feel real. Furthermore, Paul Rudd and Finn Wolfhard’s casting was perfect to capture the comedy and 80’s nostalgia the film needed to get off the ground. Lastly, the change of setting to a more rural setting helped expand the world of Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters

Topping off the list is the groundbreaking original film, Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters. The original film went down as a classic for combining its dry wit, the darkness of the horror genre, and whacky hijinks. In a way, the film was a comedic response to the horror genre, showing a bunch of scientists banding up to hunt them down as a job. Furthermore, many have noticed the film’s underlying message about the deregulation of private enterprises, as demonstrated by the detestable Walter Peck. All of these elements combined to create an 80’s classic that audiences remember to this day.

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