So many are up in arms about news that Paul Feig is going to "reimagine" Ghostbusters with a whole new cast and all-new characters. I, for the record, am excited about the prospect. If you're going to make another Ghostbusters movie, that's the only way to properly do it while remaining respectful to the comedic genius that the original film encapsulated.
But funny enough, many have forgotten that Ghostbusters already received a reboot of sorts in the form of one of DreamWorks' first films released when the studio was in its infant stages. And by the hands of one of Ghostbusters' main contributors, Ivan Reitman. 2001's Evolution was a bit of an enigma to audiences when it was released.
The film shared very similar characteristics to Ghostbusters in the form of wise-cracking professor protagonists who fight to save the world in the name of science, cracking jokes all the while. It's almost as if the two films share very similar DNA to each other. The film even ends up with the heroes riding in a fire truck (in place of the Ghostbusters' familiar Cadillac ambulance) going to save the day.
Evolution so desperately wanted to be Ghostbusters that even the logo and the print ads bared resemblance to the Ghostbusters marketing campaign. But ultimately, the whole film was really trying to harness that lightning in a bottle but failed to register with a popular audience for one reason or another.
You might be able to chalk it up to the film's release coming in June of 2001: a summer that was jam-packed with mega-hits like Shrek, the first Fast and the Furious film, and a third Jurassic Park film. That same summer was also filled with a lot of similar comedy films aimed at the same audience. And then, given what happened that September, audiences' tastes immediately changed and seeing a firetruck presented in a light like this might not have been at the top of peoples' priorities. The film also received fairly mixed ratings at the time, with many of the critics seeing it as more of a rip-off than an homage.
"Two decades ago, this would have been a great movie. Now, it's just another round of leftovers."
- review c/o Rotten Tomatoes
Regardless of how it was received, I remember seeing Evolution multiple times at the small multiplex that was by the college where I spent my freshman year. And I still enjoy it to this day. It had that same swagger to its step, and a similar sense of chivalry as Ghostbusters, while doing its best to maintain a similar sense of humor.
With a little bit of luck, maybe the new Ghostbusters film can take note of where Evolution succeeded and ultimately failed, in hopes of assuring that it will be a great success both financially and critically.