Celebrating Ivan Reitman and ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’

It’s sad timing that I had just rewatched Ghostbusters: Afterlife this past weekend, with the intent of sharing my thoughts on how it holds up on a second viewing (very well) and all the extras that are found on the Blu-ray (they’re copious and all extremely entertaining), but instead find myself writing a few words about Ivan Reitman, the beloved Canadian director and producer who was behind the original 1984 film and its 1989 sequel.

Ivan Reitman shows up frequently in the Ghostbusters: Afterlife extras, which is no surprise seeing as it’s his son Jason who took on the family business, co-writing and directing the new film. Jason’s love and reverence for his father is on display frequently in the multiple features the Blu-ray contains, as he talks about being the first Ghostbusters fan, having spent time on the set of the original film. Reitman himself is featured in a great and arguably too-short retrospective with his former co-stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd , and Ernie Hudson, and it’s clear that these guys really enjoyed working together. For fans of the new and classic films, picking up Ghostbusters: Afterlife is pretty much a no-brainer for the extras alone.

While Ivan Reitman’s legacy is full of real classic pieces of moviemaking apart from Ghostbusters ( Stripes, Twins, and Kindergarten Cop immediately spring to mind), Ghostbusters is the only one thats logo I have tattoed on my arm. That film and those characters have always meant a lot to me, which might explain that I cried yet again watching Ghostbusters: Afterlife and seeing Peter, Ray, and Winston come together one last time, and stand beside a CGI-created likeness of Harol Ramis’ Egon Spengler. It’s an affecting moment and one that I think will continue to resonate as often as I go back to the film. While no doubt Jason Reitman and his family are grieving the loss of Ivan, hopefully they take solace in knowning how beloved the elder Reitman is and was, and that his contributions to film are lasting.

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