Who ya gonna call? BATMAN!
Last week, I established some Ghostbusters/Batman links. Clue: it goes WAY beyond both franchises featuring cool tech, cars and a fire-station pole!
Time to supplement the tie-ins!
1: GHOSTBUSTERS FOREVER?
Look at that third Batman movie from 1995. At the end, Jim Carrey’s Riddler has masterminded a plot whereby brain waves are sucked via machine and back into his own head.
That both empowers and deforms him at once. The waves travel like ghostly beams of light, across a city. He ends up in a skin tight pearly outfit with big hair, confronting the heroes in his newly converted evil hideout.
Now watch GHOSTBUSTERS 1. Zool/Gozer has masterminded a plot whereby all spirits converge on New York, and when the Ghostbusters are forced by bureaucrats to release their spirit traps? All hell breaks loose! Picture lots of swirls of mist of various colours across the city, leading to a confrontation between the heroes and a camp theatrical demonic presence with big hair and pearly suit. Think about it..
2: DANA KYLE?
In BATMAN RETURNS, lovely Michelle Pfeiffer is possessed, in effect, via resurrection from death. By cats. Cue personality change and she becomes a spirit of rage, demonic destruction and visceral sexuality.
In GHOSTBUSTERS, Sigourney Weaver (also lovely; also an early Catwoman candidate) is possessed by a dog like creature. She transforms into a spirit of rage, demonic destruction and visceral sexuality. Say no more..
3: THE ALMOST REBOOTS
GHOSTBUSTERS 2 is to my mind an underrated gem (Bill Murray is a lot funnier and more charming in that second film). GHOSTBUSTERS 2016 is also, genuinely well intended: I never understood the hate for the film. Seriously. But it all comes down to tone and fidelity to source.
Taking the first movie to be that source, anything veering too far from it becomes a kind of reboot. AFTERLIFE clearly honours the mythology to the letter so is a straight sequel that perhaps part 2 and the 2016 remake simply failed to become.
I get it! It all comes down to how much you like the first film. I don’t, because I think it a rather nasty little affair and neither horror nor comedy.
Same deal with BATMAN. I love the 1989 movie. But I think it unfair to deem BATMAN RETURNS a soft reboot when it is more or less a sequel. Irony too is that said second film was/is thought by many as too ‘dark’. Ok, Penguin (Danny DeVito: happy birthday, btw!) spews bile.
But that film as a whole, if anything it is lighter than the first entry, which features a mob boss power struggle and a psychotic villain who will douse a girl in acid for ‘art’.
Same deal with BATMAN FOREVER: that is NOT some entirely camp restart of the series. Dark stuff is still ‘there’: they just do not make a big deal of it.
Perhaps that balance of old and new is why it can be so tough in getting any new iteration just ‘right’? Explains also the caution in green-lighting many versions of either GHOSTBUSTERS or BATMAN down the years. But take that alongside studios’ simultaneously fool-hardy desire to fast-track sequels on occasions when they had hit a jackpot.
They desperately wanted Bill Murray to be in any Ghost-busting sequel, of whatever guise and his wavering delayed and even destroyed certain pitches that could have made the screen in the last 30 years. Possibly for the best, in retrospect and all made ok now by AFTERLIFE, maybe (no spoilers but..).
We may never see the Aronofsky BATMAN: YEAR ONE, but its DNA is ‘there’ both in the Nolan DARK KNIGHT trilogy and this latest Matt Reeves’ vision for THE BATMAN. And you don’t get ANY of those without the Tim Burton /Joel Schumacher experiments on film that launched the franchise.
Sometimes, caution and careful timing pay off. The alternative is a BATMAN AND ROBIN or BATMAN V SUPERMAN (both of which can be defended and I am happy to do so; but each is also a deeply flawed disappointment).
MORE NEXT WEEK. SAME BAT-TIME! SAME BAT-CHANNEL! HAPPY MID-WEEK! 🙂