Discuss the upcoming movie to be released in 2020 and directed by Jason Reitman.
Wanted people's opinion on this.

So you make a new movie, you need new merchandise. You can't replicate 30 year old merchandise 1:1.

But you don't want to change the old GB1984 props at all. How do you solve this?

I think whoever made the decision to do what they did on GB Afterlife was very intelligent and very creative.

The wand has changed somewhat, ok. The flat wooden grip on the front (not the best change) and the tape on the back, passable. Also the dimensions have been maximized to look most impressive. Keep the prop the same but make it bigger.

The PKE however has been brilliantly reconsidered. Looks exactly the same, GB1 light animation. Only new thing is the lights on the wings shine through the bottom through what looks like aging on the fiberglass wing shells. A stroke of brilliance to keep a prop the exact same, but to change it at the same time. Just changing the opacity of parts. Really well done.

If you also look closely, the PKE graph goes from lower left to upper right,... a direction we had not seen before in the franchise. Again a super creative way to keep a prop the same, but change it.

My hat's off to the designers of GB: AL. They seem to understand exactly what to do and how to do it.


Has anyone else found examples where they changed a known prop, while treating it with gloves?
Troy liked this
metallijosh wrote: September 30th, 2020, 10:10 pm The PKE lights on the screen went that direction in GB 2. It was an option on the original prop as well as the Matty replica.
I don't think that's correct.

Here is a Matty Collector PKE meter. Nether GB1 or GB2 mode in either of the left or right (green orange) settings shows the lights going lower left to upper right like in the trailer.

You make a great point here. I was thinking about this alot myself, and how (and I hate to compare to 2016) the reboot tried to go to far in another direction. I think they underestimated the appeal these designs hold for people. It's kinda like any time they've tried to recreate the original Enterprise. There are certain elements that should be kept regardless of how updated the overall design will be.

Taking the original props and changing them just enough to make them identifiable as being from Afterlife and not the other two was a genius idea. And keeping the overall props virtually the same in every visual sense was the best idea.
One time liked this
I think Paul went the right approach with the Packs and Trap in Answer the Call, they were distinct enough in their own right, but featured a few key details which serves as small (but not overbearing) callbacks to the 1980s equipment. I think he would've got even more stick if he'd made the gear look identical, or near-identical to the classic equipment. Making it drastically different also worked in solidly grounding the 2016 team as being in a different reality to the 1984 lot (that misleading trailer caption aside).
Dr.D liked this
You make a good point, and I think replicating the packs for 2016 would've been a bad move. But look at the other ways the packs have been redesigned, like RGB. The RGB packs kept some key details but didn't lose the overall basic concept of the movie packs. I think Feig's, for my taste anyway, felt more...generic. I feel the same about the EGB redesign, where something was lost in translation.
Loving GB'84, I can really appreciate the creative effort that went into reimagining these props for 2020 while keeping them IDENTICAL to 1984.

Absolutely amazing, I almost can't believe the creative leap taken. Same prop as 1984, just a difference in opacity of the wings.

It's the exact same device, but still different. The only difference is time.

I appreciate it more because I value how creative thinking works; Finding out you can influence something which you didn't think was obvious.

Jason really knows what he is doing. Be not afraid.
I agree to a certain extent in that its great not only that they've used the original design but the fact that they went as far as to use moulds taken from an original hero pack as well as using the pack itself as direct reference in order to add some of the original nuances of that pack to the one pack design that we've seen so far.

I fully expect there to be other packs which have their own quirks, possibly being even closer to that of the original design without some the changes present on the Spengler pack , as this is just my own guess work here but I expect the Spengler to be uniquely outfitted with those extra details which we've seen as part of a very specific plot point.
Over all, and new additions aside the pack that we've seen does a really nice job of staying somewhat faithful to the originals for the reasons that i mentioned before.

However it's also a strange dichotomy as certain details point towards a lack of attention to detail with parts which anyone who knows even a bare minimum about the construction of the original packs could tell you.
Which is extremely surprising and something I personally find disapointing given that they had direct access to original hero props from which they seemingly nailed some details but not others.

To be more specific, The decision to use Dixie hooks instead of the far superior custom made V-Hook setup of the original packs is mind boggling.
We've heard a story from the armourer about the issues this caused on set and having to jury rig the S-hook to correct the throwers alignment after the female part of the dixie hook had to be opened up to stop it from locking in place.
I don't know if the decision to use dixies instead of constructing or even buying fan made V-hooks was a time or budgetary issue but clearly it has presented a problem on set that would not have been there otherwise.

Any builder who's used an original style V-hook on their pack will be able to tell you that this strange need to use the S-hook to correct the throwers angle simply is not an issue with that setup.
If they do stick in place making it difficult to to remove the thrower, a slight adjustment to the female part will fix that without any issue with the thrower sitting at a precarious angle or having to use the S-hook as a makeshift spacer.
I've had to do this myself very recently when I made my own V-hook.

With a dixie hook though they are meant to lock in place which would cause the issue that was mentioned and unforunately, the folded portion on the female part of a dixie bracket have both a much more shallow bend and far less material on the edges of that section .
So its easy to see how having to adjust it to stop it from locking by opening it up even further would cause it to be loose enough for the thrower to hang at an odd angle as there simply isn't enough material there for a secure connection unlike a real V-hook.
Honestly, the fact that it was hanging at an odd angle from being so loose to begin with is concerning from a safety stand point.

The other parts which are troubling are the use of aftermarket alice frames and straps as these are both notorious for failing due to vastly inferior construction, thickness and quality of materials used.
I've had first hand experience of both the aftermarket frames and straps failing myself resulting in personal injury and the near destruction of a pack.
This means that anyone who truly wants to accurately replicate that specific pack, and most likely the other packs will need to use inferior quality components.
Which is fine if its purely a display piece but presents a risk through use if the owner likes to use their props at events.

None of this is to say that I'm not looking forward to the movie or seeing more of the props as I'm extremely exited about both.
We can't hope for perfection with these things and its pretty amazing that we got such relatively close replications of the original style of pack to begin with.
Thats not even mentioning the traps etc which all look great from what little we've seen of them.

I personally just wish the deviations we did get were purely cosmetic ones instead of structural issues.
You know what the dixie hooks didn't affect at all? The story...I get people on here have built tons of packs and strive for accuracy but this is still a movie and movies are a business. At the end of the day it isn't going to affect the overall movie, or at least it shouldn't. I can understand thinking it's a weird decision, but uh...it's literally a tiny part on a complicated prop that they've already clearly gone above and beyond with trying to appease fans. I seriously doubt it matters on iota what kind of hook they used.

And if you want a story reason? Maybe Egon was strapped for cash in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma and had to make do.

I'm sure there's alot of people on her who are I guess upset by this...but props are only tools to serve the story. Things change. Move on.
Dr.D wrote: October 2nd, 2020, 6:11 amI seriously doubt it matters on iota what kind of hook they used.
Not to the story, no... But as noted in the Armoure's anecdote, the decision to use the cheaper, off-the-shelf Dixie Hooks led to problems being encountered with using the props. Leading to (minor) delays in order to get them where they needed to be.
RedSpecial, Dr.D liked this
It's not about accuracy as we know that anything used on the new packs automatically becomes accurate to those particular packs given that they are screen used in Their own right.
So in that way accuracy is a moot point in this case.

Nor is it about being annoyed, don't know where that assumption came from.

What I and others don't understand is the decision to use inferior parts in general when parts which have far superior performance and structural integrity are not only widely known about but are also readily available.
Dr.D, Kingpin liked this
I admit I might have a different perspective on the matter. I've been working in production for the last 5 years, and on the WB lot for the last 2 and it definitely gives one a different idea about how movies and TV are really produced. Perhaps it's my work brain kicking in and thinking "yeah I get it from a fan perspective, but when it comes to production, anything that can be cut for cost is gonna be cut and damn the consequences.
RedSpecial liked this
I've been there myself, working as a special effects artist for quite a few years, although admittedly not on anything of the same scale.
Mostly smaller productions here in Scotland but I can relate to the compromises and issues that you mentioned.
Especially these days with such increasingly trunkated time schedules and small budgets being allocated to practical work.

That was always extremely frustrating to see gradually getting worse over the years, even on the small productions that I worked on so I can only imagine what the afterlife teams had to deal with.
Dr.D liked this
I hear ya. I think people would be amazed at where production money is actually allocated and what it given priority. It's definitely a bummer because you can start to see how the little cuts here and there end up affecting the actual story. It's a butterfly effect that can have pretty big consequences.
RedSpecial liked this
I can see where they're coming from: To see the production go so far with replicating the look of the classic Packs, even down using the Super Hero as the standard for their research, not to mention replicating the look of the P.K.E. Meter, the Trap, the Goggles, Ecto-1, and even bring in a replica of Janine's whale paperweight, only to then cut a corner with the V-Hook? It's surprising.

I can get why some folks may be a bit disappointed.
RedSpecial liked this
There is a potential in-universe explanation though. What would Egon do if he didn’t have a CNC machine at the barn and the original hook broke or fell off? He’d probably go to the local hardware store and get something off the shelf that was close enough... in this case a Dixie cup bracket. We know that there’s been a bunch of “bodge” fixes to the pack, there’s additional cabling, there’s broken bits. Considering the attention to detail that’s been made during the productions there surely has to be a reason.
That leads to a second idea: that it's a repair by Phoebe. We've only seen the hook on the banged-up-patched-up Spengler thrower, and we've been so focused on thinking it a cut corner when it might be an intentional "fix it with the nearest thing", like the shotgun grip.
I'm sure the folks involved with the production will happily chime in once they can on why what was used was used. As many have said when your making a film you use certain things for cost. Will we see a story reason for it? Will they explain it at all? Maybe, Hopefully. I like that the packs looked aged, look even more cobbled together...remember the freaking car itself is in rough shape and it's in some dusty barn in Oklahoma...far cry from the island of Manhattan and the resource rich tech community there. So I'm looking forward to seeing not only clear looks at the packs differences and of course if there is a story relation to it or weather it's something comics or interviews with cast and crew will have to fill in. I'm more interested in seeing HOW the packs and traps will look in whatever film comes AFTER this one. The same? Even more mods?, more in line with the original design if they come into better resources again? I'm not looking to have these spoiled for me prior to release of the film but am curious what type of reference we get in terms of books once the film is out.
RedSpecial wrote: October 2nd, 2020, 3:24 am [...]
RedSpecial, I value that opinion and appreciate your knowledge of detail. People who can build accurate replica's of these props in their garages are Gods in my opinion.

My own opinion is less thinking as a prop builder but more thinking in terms of art direction which multi million dollar studio production requires nowadays.

Yeah ATC did a great job reimagining the props, But Jason specifically wanted a 1:1 homage to the 1984 film (which I love most). In that case still needing to change the 84 prop to make something new in terms of merchandise, and therefore deciding to... Hey why not just change the opacity of the PKE wings, or add a single color perfected cable to the Proton Pack,... is a stroke of genius in terms of art direction.

I mean getting the assignment to keep the props very similar to 1984 (if not identical) and still make something different, and then to say, why not just change the opacity of certain items really requires creative thinking.

It's an ability I really appreciate. Creative thinking means being able to realize that something lies in your power, when you'd never think it did.

And to sum it up, this is still GB1984! In a weird way it even almost "makes up for" 1989, thirty years later (in terms of content and conceptual production value) by being so retrospective.
Last edited by One time on October 4th, 2020, 1:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
RedSpecial liked this
Kingpin wrote: October 4th, 2020, 11:54 am I'm still not 100% sold the wings were intentionally designed to let light through on the underside, but time will tell as always.
Thinking in terms of probability, I'm 99% sure they manufactured a new PKE prop for this movie and did not use an old existing prop.

The chance that the weathering on a brand new prop PKE in Afterlife is due to negligence or lack of craftsmanship is extremely unlikely at this level. Unlikely enough to be near 0% in my view.
One time wrote: October 4th, 2020, 1:18 pm Thinking in terms of probability, I'm 99% sure they manufactured a new PKE prop for this movie and did not use an old existing prop.
I'm in complete agreement. Of the two original props assembled by Modern Props, one is in private hands, the other stolen and (presumably) still missing in action.

The weathering is unlikely to be accidental, but I can believe that the wings may not've been as tightly closed as they were intended, which may've let light bleed through where it wasn't supposed to.

Again, time will tell.


I managed to find a 4K trailer and took some screengrabs:


Looking at the lights on the wings, they seem almost flush with the top curve of the wing... More so than on the original props. It also looks like the diffusers might be squarish rather than circular.


We can see that the ends pieces of the wings stop short, leaving a gap between the bottom edges of the side pieces - possibly a change to accommodate the prop's mechanism.


The underside doesn't seem to have the same designed facing that's present on the top side of the wings, and it even looks like you can see some of the wiring on the right-hand wing.

I feel more convinced the lighting being visible on the underside is more of an accident than an intended design element... Resulting either from them choosing to leave it in, or forgetting to add something to block the light.
Superb analysis. Thanks for the awesome screenshots. This is why you guys build excellent props and I just post my opinions.

I am not prop builder but I like to think from a creative standpoint.

I don't think it was weathered by accident at all. creative director knew exactly what they were doing

The fact that it ended up looking heavily weathered adds an entire dimension to the trailer. You really feel the years gone by just looking at the prop in operation.

Also the fact that the PKE graph is seen going lower left to upper right all of a sudden. If you know the real prop (or the Matty PKE), the centre position of the upper slider button (red LED) has the graph off. The right position lights an additional green LED and shows a graph animating going from upper left to lower right. The left position on the upper slider button lights a yellow LED in addition to the red and features a graph animating from upper right to bottom left.

Whoever made this GB:AL PKE prop graph direction knew the two possible modes of the original prop. (green and yellow modes)

The graph animating from lower left to upper right has not existed before, and would not have fit into either the right or left (green or orange) modes of the PKE both of which have an established graph direction.

So what did they do? They added this mode to the central position (red mode) which usually has the graph off. Interestingly, in the trailer, the slider is at the right position, which should indicate a green led and the graph going from upper left to lower right.


An amazing knowledge of the design language of 84 and attention to detail. It added functionality that had not been documented before. Perhaps there was a way to have a graphical display in the (red) mode of the PKE meter (though with the slider to the right) that we hadn't witnessed before using some button combination?

Same with the "metallic" cocking gun like sound effect of the PKE when the child says "my grandfather died" and mimes to push a button that extends the wings with a curious metallic "cocking" sound. A sound we had not associated with the build of the PKE before. It had always had no sounds of button operation or plasticy sounds. (not talking about the purring sound effect)

Whoever was the creative director knew exactly what they were working with here.

Most of us know the original PKE prop was shit in terms of fidelity. It had a linear graph that either went top right to bottom left or top left to bottom right, with like 6 lights.

It was a prop made in the late 70's / early 80's which no one EVER assumed would be viewed HD or 4K. It was just flashing lights.

It was nuanced enough to provide some modes of operation, but none that would be evident on the big screen enough to actually be able to make out a congruent GUI (graphical user interface).

In GB2 when Ray says "I've got 1118 on the PKE", there is just no way you can deduce that information from the variables and feedback used in the '84 prop.

Again, in my opinion, a stroke of creative genius in GB:AL, the director decided that "hey, we never got a clear look at ALL the functions of the PKE in the movies, why not explore than avenue in making this new movie. Let's add graphical modes, new combinations of functionality, a higher fidelity display, etc. -Using exactly the buttons and interface available on the original prop-! From the early 80's. I love this type of deep dive into UI design, creating believable complexity out of 40 year old simplicity.

Same identical prop. But fleshed out and made more real. Down to the fact that it was apparently metal all along.
Last edited by One time on October 19th, 2020, 3:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.
RedSpecial wrote: October 2nd, 2020, 3:24 am

We've heard a story from the armourer about the issues this caused on set and having to jury rig the S-hook to correct the throwers alignment after the female part of the dixie hook had to be opened up to stop it from locking in place.
I don't know if the decision to use dixies instead of constructing or even buying fan made V-hooks was a time or budgetary issue but clearly it has presented a problem on set that would not have been there otherwise.

The armourer also mentioned that he was talking to Ivan Reitman and he told him the hook was to hold the wand at the right angle.

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