REVIEW / FILM OPINION – 32 years after the second opus directed by his father Ivan, Jason Reitman takes over the production of the “Ghostbusters” franchise. With “The Heritage”, the filmmaker intends to perpetuate the original spirit of the saga while offering it new perspectives, as its title indicates. A successful return?
Ghostbusters, The Legacy : change of scenery
After the unloved Paul Feig reboot released in 2016, Jason Reitman breathes new life into the franchise initiated by his father Ivan with Ghostbusters: The Legacy. Following the first two opus, the film very quickly expresses its desire to deviate from it while remaining faithful to the original elements.
This desire to stand out goes above all through the context of the story. For the first time, specter hunters are leaving New York. Over the years, the iconic team has drifted away due to the near total desertion of ghosts in the United States. One of the members has moved to the small town of Summerville, where there is a great threat that he cannot cope with.
After his death, his daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) inherits his dilapidated home. Broke, she decides to settle there with her two children, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard). They quickly get their hands on their grandfather’s old equipment and realize that his house is full of traps that could prevent an impending disaster.
Jason Reitman’s paw appears clearly in the first part of Ghostbusters: The Legacy. Once past the introduction, which at first glance seems problematic in its way of building a false suspense around the deceased character, by choosing not to reveal his face or his identity, the feature film lingers on its new protagonists to never leave them.
A dysfunctional family
The screenplay co-written by Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan (Monster house) gives pride of place to this dysfunctional family deeply endearing. The difficulty in building and preserving family ties is a recurring theme in the director’s filmography (In the Air, Young Adult). Here he manages to link it to the intrigues of the first episodes, by making one of the former New York scientists an enigmatic and unknown father figure, who has abandoned his relatives to devote himself to his work.
Callie, Phoebe and Trevor therefore come to settle in the home of a man whose absence has obviously left traces. Rather than approaching these consequences with a certain gravity as in Last Days of Summer Where Tully, Jason Reitman looks at it with more sweetness and humor. His characters are driven by the need to rebuild and move forward. The mother embodied by the excellent Carrie Coon, for example, naturally approaches a science teacher named Grooberson (Paul Rudd, brilliant), who sees the full potential of Phoebe.
The young Mckenna Grace is also the biggest asset of Ghostbusters: The Legacy. His relaxation combined with his flashes of genius are in line with those of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. In addition to the many winks, Phoebe thus stands out as the heroine who makes the real connection between the first films and this sequel. Finally, his complicity with a budding reporter who nicknamed himself Podcast (Logan Kim) offers the feature film its funniest passages.
Jason Reitman therefore continues what he does best in Ghostbusters: The Legacy : develop romances and friendships in Peripheral America. And if he has no trouble building human relationships, the filmmaker shows himself much more shy when it comes to setting foot in the afterlife. Unlike Ray Parker Jr., the director seems to be a little afraid of ghosts.
If his treatment of specters is far from shameful, he is simply too wise. Heritage bases its spectacular plot around famous monsters from the saga. Enough to give arms to disgruntled spectators who will shout (legitimately) at the outbidding of fan service and the recourse to a putassière nostalgia.
The interest of ghosts is not there anyway. Rather it resides in heartbreaking farewells and belated reconciliation that he proposes. After the new Star wars, the feature film in turn testifies to the inability to mourn the loss of emblematic figures that currently feeds the Hollywood landscape, …