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The Outrage Over Ghostbusters: Afterlife Just Got Real

The trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife has finally dropped, and prepare for a shock: some fans on the internet aren't happy.

Apparently, the spot's fairly straight-faced, serious tone and mostly youthful cast — which includes Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard — has some observers convinced that the new flick will be nothing more than a lowly rip-off of the hit Netflix seriesMore than a few of said fans took to Twitter after the trailer was released on Monday morning to voice their displeasure.

While it's true that the spot is pretty restrained, foregoing goofy humor in favor of some table-setting for the flick's story, one could be forgiven for thinking that the absolutely insane number of callbacks to the original, classic Ghostbusters movies contained therein would have been enough to make any fan grin like Slimer with a mouthful of hot dogs. One would need to have forgotten the nature of the internet, however, to think that true; there will always be a certain subset of fans who won't be happy with any interpretation of any beloved property no matter what, and the duly elected representatives of this subset were on Twitter in full force yesterday.

Most of their missives were short and to the point: "The new Ghostbusters movie is gonna be a Stranger Things ripoff," user @SaricakesTTV stated bluntly, while @DarickR snarked, "Just watched the new Stranger Things season trailer, and it's called Ghostbusters for some reason."

User @gordon1470 complained, "Why does the new Ghostbusters look like a ripoff of Stranger Things? When they had that shot of the 2 kids walking down the road I laughed out loud," before opining in a follow-up tweet, "Maybe we shouldn't be making any more Ghostbusters movies, ever."

Some Twitter users, while advancing the same opinion, weren't quite so harsh. "Stranger ThingsGhostbusters is probably a smart play," wrote @el_chiclets, "but the trailer def didn't feel like Ghostbusters." Meanwhile, @kylefrost actually seemed kind of pumped: "Totally thought this was going to be a 'fan film' when I clicked on it," they rwote. "I am IN for Stranger Things – Ghostbuster edition."

The general consensus among the gripers, though, was reflected by user @abbaTmakama, who wasn't going to be satisfied with anything less than a full-on Ghostbusters rehash in Afterlife's very first trailer. "No original theme music, no Bill Murray cameo, just Stranger Things with the Ecto 1," they wrote. "It's a pass for me honey."

Is Ghostbusters: Afterlife really a Stranger Things ripoff?

We alluded to it before, but we feel like now would be a good time to spell it out: when it comes to a beloved property like Ghostbusters, there will always be fans who will line up to take the filmmakers behind any new iteration to task. The trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife could have taken place in New York City, and featured Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson in full uniform charging up their proton packs, and just as many fans would have been flooding Twitter to complain that director Jason Reitman and co-writer Gil Kenan had ruined everything by failing to come up with an original story.

It must also be said that Stranger Things did not invent the plot hook of children and/or teenagers facing off with supernatural danger; one could even make the case that Stephen King's novel It, which heavily inspired Stranger Things (and which also featured Wolfhard in its film adaptations) did that.

Also, as we've mentioned, all of those incredibly fan-service-y small details in the Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer can be seen as a firm declaration of intent on the part of Reitman and Kenan: they intend to honor the original story and refer early and often to its characters and events, but this is their film, and they're going to tell their own story. Personally, we find that story — which appears to involve the family of the deceased Egon Spengler uncovering a terrible secret in the small town in which dear old grandpa owned an old farmhouse — to be a stroke of genius, and if we're being honest, we also think it's a no-brainer to lean on a young cast. As pointed out by Paul Rudd's character in the spot, "there hasn't been a ghost sighting in 30 years" — and the original Ghostbusters, of course, haven't been active during that entire period.

Treating the activities of that crew as half-forgotten legend, which our young heroes must be filled in on before they can truly appreciate what they're up against, is an inspired plot device — one that sounds (for our money, anyway) a heck of a lot more interesting than simply throwing the original cast of Ghostbusters, all in their 70s at this point, back into their costumes for one more nostalgic, beat-for-beat go-round.

Don't get us wrong — it's awesome that the original cast is involved, and we hope their involvement will be significant, and that they won't simply be relegated to glorified cameos. But come on, guys: did we really want Sony to show us everything in the first trailer for the movie? We're actually glad the studio didn't spill all of their narrative beans in this spot, and frankly, we hope they show similar restraint when they inevitably give us the second and third trailers that will doubtless precede the movie's release.

All of which is to say: let's give Reitman (who, let's not forget, is the son of the original Ghostbusters' director) the benefit of the doubt here. In our informed opinion, this movie looks every bit like the sequel to the first two films we've always hoped for, and the rare belated sequel that should more than live up to the legacy of its predecessors. You can bet that we'll be first in line when Ghostbusters: Afterlife drops on July 10, 2020, and also that we'll be here to offer our extra-special blend of expert analysis.