Critics: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ is new chapter in the franchise

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is an upcoming release that many say will be like the original, but given the addition of a new group of heroes and demons, some also feel there is something new to add to the mix.

The 20th Century Fox film, which will debut on May 17, is a reboot of the 1981 classic. It consists of women, Sam Santiago, Erin Gilbert, Erin Gilbert’s “boyfriend” Jillian Holtzmann and Jillian’s formerly demonic nephew, Rowan.

“Ghostbusters” star Dan Aykroyd, who is also part of the film’s writer/producer team, said the movie revives the “realistic, refreshing and new approach to ghost-hunting” that he calls a return to “a smart, fun, poignant movie” that focuses on the “wicked side of the supernatural.”

Aykroyd, along with fellow co-writer/director Paul Feig, cast women as the “Ghostbusters,” a group that is largely absent from the original. Aykroyd said women “had everything to say,” he said, adding, “The six filmmakers — all men, obviously — have pulled it off and made this all about the characters, and not any political agendas, and tried to address every issue in an articulate way.”

“Afterlife” features all of the popular characters from the “Ghostbusters” films: Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, and Venkman. Aykroyd says this time around, the main obstacle between the characters and being able to join the paranormal team is “uncertainty.”

Feig added that this film not only tells the tale of the women, but also the real people.

Aykroyd said he believes female Ghostbusters and women-led Marvel and DC films will be easier to market to male audiences.

“Ghostbusters” originally focused on the paranormal and answered a major question in the previous films: Who are those ghosts? “We’re not killing people, we’re not hurting people,” Aykroyd said. “We’re just trying to figure out who is this supernatural foe.”

To this day, in the last “Ghostbusters” film, which has been rebooted twice since 1984, there is still the same philosophical “what can they do?” question, which Aykroyd believes will not be tackled this time around.

However, the cast said the members feel very strongly that women-led movies are another way to bring viewers back to see movies, as female characters are more relatable to them, adding that other studios are taking notice.

Sony Pictures Chief Executive Officer Tony Vinciquerra recently told Variety that Sony has “lowered the barriers” for access to female directors, and has decided to release more female-led films.

“Afterlife” also stars Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, who joined the cast of “Ghostbusters” during this all-female reboot, but some believe a more deep and meaningful story has been created, one of a group of women working together to battle the supernatural.

This time, the protagonists are not there to make a name for themselves, they are there for a mission. That mission is to “stop the unimaginable and take out one of the most evil forces mankind has ever faced,” Feig said.

As for the fact that the main characters are female, McCarthy said she jumped at the chance to do the reboot. “This was a movie I wanted to do for a long time,” McCarthy said.

Aykroyd agreed. “Most of the success stories are their follow-ups” in reboots, Aykroyd said.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is part of a trend in cinema where women are rising to the role of heroes. Many believe that with the addition of one female lead in this reboot, this film is a new chapter in the timeless franchise, and Feig said the success of the female leads in the reboot shows that audiences want more female leads in lead roles.

Fox Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today’s top celebrities and newsmakers. You can follow her on Twitter @dianafalzone.

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