Ghostbusters: Afterlife: The Art And Making Of The Movie is a perfect book for a near-perfect film. And, like the film itself, it has been written with love and dedication to the material
Strap on your proton pack because ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife: The Art And Making Of The Movie’ has arrived!
When it was announced that Jason Reitman was making a sequel to the 1980s ‘Ghostbusters‘ movies, the fans went into raptures. What we had all been waiting for was on its way. And it was surely worth the wait. Not only did it invoke memories of the classic movies, but it also brought us up to date with the characters. And laid the path for a new way forward. Nostalgia aside, the film was what we had been crying out for. And it worked on virtually every step. The look of the film, the production design, even the gadgets and costumes. It was pitch-perfect. It also contained a heart and bundles of emotion. In some cases, by the end credits, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. And that is what made the film the success it was.
But nothing would have been right without the look of the film. From nods and easter eggs for the hardened fans right through to the look of everything the film contained. Without it, the film wouldn’t be as good as it is. Without the look being perfect, the fans would shake their heads and feel let down. Thankfully, almost everything was as it should have been. Author Ozzy Inguanzo has been tasked with documenting the making of the film as well as the art for what we see on screen in the movie. And in doing so, has created something that no Ghostbusters fan can be without. Once again, a making-of-book has emerged that demands not only our attention but space on our bookshelves too.
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE: THE ART AND MAKING OF THE MOVIE BY OZZY INGUANZO
We first gaze upon the front cover. Here, we are presented with an artist drawing of one of the scenes in the film. It depicts the famed Ecto-1 roaring down a country road with the character of Phoebe hanging out of the gunner’s seat and firing a proton pack. Above this illustration, we find the title of the film displayed prominently. The title is again present on the spine of the book with the addition of a Mini-Mellow at the bottom.
The back cover displays a few props from the film, a shot of the Mini-Pufts sequence alongside two artist impressions. And Muncher himself gets his artistic rendition at the top left-hand corner of the back cover. This will call to the fans in earnest by itself. Their interest will be piqued and will draw them into at least having a look at the book.
OPENING THE FRONT COVER
The first image we come to is an artistic representation of Egon Spengler’s farmhouse. Old, decrepit but lit up, we can see how the former Ghostbuster lived his final days. Ecto-1 is seen in small detail at the bottom of the drawing. The following page depicts a Terror Dog flying through the sky as we come across the title page. As we move forward, we come to the contents page and are rewarded with a location shot of Egon’s home in its entirety. The contents page informs us of what we will discover inside the pages of the book.
We turn the page and discover the foreword from writer/ director Jason Reitman. It is here where we discover the origins of the new sequel. He explains that images came to his mind, images that appear in the completed movie. How he shared those images with his father, Ivan Reitman, the producer of this film and the director of the previous two entries.
Jason Reitman goes on to explain how he brought his thoughts and those images to his writing partner, Gil Kenan. How this is when he decided to pick up the proton pack for himself, how he decided to base the film around the Spengler family itself. How both he and Kenan wrote the screenplay for the film twenty feet from Ecto-1 itself. And more importantly, how he could not only live up to and honor his father’s legacy but also create a film for the fans. In Jason Reitman’s mind, that is what the film is. For the fans. Accompanying his writings, two photographs of Jason Reitman on the set of ‘Ghostbusters II‘, one with his father, the other of him behind the camera alone.
PART I: PAST IS PROLOGUE
We now enter the contents of the book themselves with the first part. This is joined by a photo of a Ghostbusters uniform with the logo displayed. The pages that follow explain everything that we wanted to know. From outtakes from the original film that featured Jason and his sister, Catherine Reitman, and his mother to the passing of the proton pack from father to son. How, as Dan Aykroyd himself explains it “It’s like the DNA being transferred down from the first two movies to this one.” We are presented with behind-the-scenes photographs of the making of the film. And we also find the name the film was filmed under, complete with logo. It was named ‘Rust City’. But in a great twist, the scared ghost from the logo appears on the very top of the shooting logo.
The part also looks into how the film captured the spirit of the original films. And we are also treated to a look at the concept art for the opening scene depicting the late Harold Ramis’ character of Egon Spengler. Egon’s look during those opening five minutes of the film is gone into in detail here. We go into Ghostbusters lore and the plot threads that are picked up on from the original film and used in this new sequel to great effect. How they are the base for the story and how it unfolds.
We are given illustrations of the returning Terror Dogs and the new Sentinal Terror Dog that is seen during the film. We also get an image from the film that foreshadows Egon’s demise in the opening five minutes. This first part also displays the easter eggs and look of the film in general.
PART II: SPIRITS OF THE PAST
We now come to the second part of the book. And we start with a look at Egon’s haunted Farmhouse. We discover how the house was designed for the film, how it was built, and everything it entails inside. We are given production drawings and set stills to illustrate the text we are reading. How the look of the farmhouse and its surrounding buildings are deceiving. Far from being a derelict home, it contains scientific equipment specifically designed by Egon for what is to come. Exterior shots are printed for us here. Every object that is discovered inside Egon’s home is detailed here. Some are major plot points going forward and are represented.
PUZZLES AND GADGETS
We are shown the PKE meter and the Ghost Trap that appear in the film. These are, of course, a major part of aligning the film with the previous two entries in the franchise. The schematics of the floor puzzle Phoebe solves to discover the trap hidden there by her grandfather are presented.
The secret room where Phoebe will discover her grandfather’s past history and the gadgets he and the others used is explored. How these were recreated for the new film. And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a look at the Proton Pack itself. The essential part of any Ghostbusters equipment, we discover how it was recreated once again, and are given set photos of it. It is revealed all about the recreation of the classic Ghostbusters outfits.
But the main bulk of this part is dedicated to that one thing that everyone fell in love with back in 1984. And continue to love to this day. The one thing that is essential to the films. Ecto-1 itself. When we rediscover her once again, we are devastated by her look. How she has been left to decay, how she has been neglected over the years. We now know that she plays a vital part in the events of the film, and how she performs brilliantly once again. She may look down and out but don’t be fooled.
We go through the reconstruction of the Hearse for the film. How the degraded look for it came into being. And we are granted a schematic look at her inner workings and what she contains. Every nook and cranny is examined here, including the hidden surprises she possesses.
PART III: GHOSTBUSTING
We come to this part and are greeted by the back of a proton pack to welcome us in. It is here that we will meet Muncher, the new vapor apparition. The fans were somewhat disappointed that our friend Slimer didn’t make an appearance in the new film. But Muncher makes up for him in some way. Similar to the way Slimer was introduced in the original film, Muncher similarly makes his debut. Jason Reitman even went as far as to ask for the classic slime from the creature to be reproduced for the film.
The sequence where Phoebe and Podcast first encounter Muncher is examined here. From the look of Muncher’s lair to the design of the building itself, everything is looked into. And in an extremely nice touch, it is revealed that Harold Ramis’ daughter, Violet Ramis Stiel was invited to the set and was allowed to strap on a proton pack for herself.
The look and design of Muncher are examined in fine detail. From his inception through the various designs to his final form, it is all here for us to discover. He is not as cute or as cuddly as Slimer. But he is now a vital part of the film and the franchise itself. As Slimer’s cuddly toys flew off the shelves many years ago, so will Muncher’s. His appearances in the film are all storyboarded here for us to see. Included are stills from the film concerning the chase through the town to catch him. The storyboards for this sequence are also included.
RAY’S BOOK STORE AND THE TEMPLE OF GOZER
It wouldn’t be a Ghostbusters film without at least having a cameo from the original stars. And we now know that many did return in some capacity. The one that got the most screen time is Dan Aykroyd’s, Ray Stantz. We are given the schematics of his store alongside a still from the sequence and a behind-the-scenes photo of the shooting of the scene.
We also get the inside scoop on the Shandor Mine which houses the Temple Of Gozer. Every aspect of the temple is examined here, from the exterior look to what we will see inside. Once again, no stone is left unturned here. Even Ivo Shandor himself gets his own pages. Actor J.K Simmons is seen with Jason Reitman on the set, concept art of the character is here. And the full-body sculpting of Simmons for Shandor’s eventual fate is also shown.
HARBINGERS OF THE APOCOLYPSE
We come across the part of the film that will see us be confronted by the resurrected Gozer and her minions. It is here where we will discover the various creatures that have escaped with her. The bug-eyed ghost gets his own illustrations. The Miner ghosts are represented. The concept art of the Flaming Phantasm adorns the page. The old Miner ghost is seen on set, being set up by his puppeteers ready for his big moment on screen. We see how he was constructed, his look, and his operation. But the creatures that fans have turned out to see are the Mini-Pufts. And here they get the chance to shine.
We discover their looks and designs, the storyboards of their introduction into the film and their different looks are examined here. We also get an in-depth look at the returning Terror Dogs including the maquette created for the film. Behind-the-scenes photographs and production drawings are included here.
GOZER’S TEMPLE AND THE RETURN OF THE GATEKEEPER AND THE KEYMASTER
Gozer’s temple is resurrected in the film and is a perfect recreation of the same set seen in the original film. Behind-the-scenes photos and production art is featured including a look at the special effects needed to create the sequence. We also get a look at the return of The Gatekeeper and The Keymaster. This time, it falls to Actors Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon to portray the pair. The scene is deconstructed here with film stills and costume designs.
Even Gozer herself is included here. Now played by Olivia Wilde, the big bad of the original film returns once more. Once more, we are given the in-depth scoop of her return. The sculpt of the character, the fabrication of the prosthetics needed for the character. And the make-up effects, which took five and a half hours to apply are examined. Production drawings, behind-the-scenes photographs, and film stills are used.
We end the book with a look at the climax of the film and its finale. The climax is storyboarded here for us to discover. The destruction of Gozer and the special effects needed for the climax is delved into. The storyboard for the climax, which falls in line with the opening to the film is storyboarded here; including Phoebe’s final stand which is reminiscent of her grandfather’s at the start of the film. We are also given stills from the sequence itself. But one of the highlights of the climax is the return of the three original Ghostbusters to lend a hand.
The storyboards of the return of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson are presented to us. We also get a beautiful shot of the three of our heroes lining up alongside each other one more time. It is the part of the climax that gives us immense joy and doesn’t fail to bring a smile to our faces.
But the highlight of the finale is the return of Egon as a ghost. Fans around the world cheered at this fantastic scene. But it was also the cue to grab the tissues. Egon’s return is storyboarded here alongside storyboards of Gozer’s demise. But the standout photo is of the four original Ghostbusters standing together one final time. Thanks to the wonders of special effects and face mapping, the late Harold Ramis makes one final appearance. Actor Bob Gunn played the character on set before his features were replaced by Ramis’ in post-production. This leads us into a tearful and highly emotional final sequence.
Egon’s goodbye to his friends and his family as he passes over. We have a film still of Phoebe and Egon together which brings tears to our eyes. The text reveals that the return of Egon at the climax was always going to happen. And after the accomplishments available now in VFX, bringing back the character for one last hurrah wasn’t too much of a challenge.
As we dry our tears as we remember the emotional finale, our time with the book ends. And what a ride it has been. There isn’t any aspect of the film that has been left out, much to the credit of the book. The rich and rewarding text alongside the photos and illustrations makes the book a must-have for fans and non-fans alike. The love and heart that went into making the film are laid bare for us all to digest. And it is all here within the pages.
It makes for the perfect accompaniment for Ghostbusters Afterlife in all aspects. It is a perfect book for a near-perfect film. And, like the film itself, it has been written with love and dedication to the material. The film is all about family. And the book tells the story of a family behind that family. A passing of the torch from father to son. And a desire to give the fans what they want while moving the franchise forward. Who Ya Gonna Call? For this book, I suggest your local bookstore as soon as you can.
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Carl Roberts is the News Editor of The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!