Movie Review: Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)


Title: Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Release Date: November 19, 2021
Director: Jason Reitman
Production Company: Columbia Pictures | Bron Creative | Ghost Corps | The Montecito Picture Company  Right of Way Films
Summary/Review:

The long awaited sequel to the original Ghostbusters franchise picks up in the present day.  Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis) has abandoned his friends and family to invest himself in a paranormal manifestation on a remote farm in Oklahoma.  After his death, his daughter Callie (Carrie Coon), who never knew her father and is dealing with abandonment issues, inherits the creepy farmhouse and moves there with her two children.  Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) is a scientifically-literate but socially awkward preteen while Trevor is good with cars and eager to have a girlfriend.  Soon enough they each uncover bits of pieces of their mysterious grandfather’s past and begin to figure out how to carry his final project.

The great thing about this movie is that it is stylistically not at all much like the original Ghostbusters.  It feels a lot like a Spielberg/Amblin 80s family adventure complete with unsupervised children getting into very dangerous situations. It’s also very efficient in moving the film along without spending too much time dwelling on the various discoveries or the inevitable callbacks.  The final act is probably the most “derivative” of the original Ghostbusters movie, although as the plot centers on loose ends from that movie it makes sense.

There are some great performances in this movie, especially Grace as Phoebe.  The cast is boosted by newcomer Logan Kim as Phoebe’s nerdy friend Podcast, Celeste O’Connor as Trevor’s co-worker and love interest Lucky, and Paul Rudd as Gary, a lazy summer school teacher and scientist who loves the Ghostbusters, who also becomes a love interest for Callie.  And it should be no big spoiler that the original cast of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts all return as their original characters, although not as much as you might expect.  It’s a great family/adventure/comedy movie and a loving tribute to the original film.

I also loved the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, which I think was bigger on laughs, but Ghostbusters: Afterlife is bigger on heart. Both are light years better than the awful Ghostbusters II which seems to have been ignored by the Afterlife filmmakers. Now, of course, we need a multiverse where the casts of both films as well as Filmation’s Ghostbusters come together to fight the biggest threat yet! (No, that would been awful idea, so if you’re a Hollywood producer looking for concepts to work with just pretend you didn’t see this).

Rating: ****

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