Ghostbusters Afterlife Review: Good Idea Killed By Fan Service

Ghostbusters: Afterlife feels like a film in conflict with itself. It isn't sure what it wants to become. It's a touching story about a family that is in desperate need of help and forced to leave their home in order to start a new life. It is also a sequelto two of the most loved sci-fi comedy films in film history. These two pieces often dance together, sometimes harmoniously, and other times notuntil they take over and nearly fatally degrade everything that was before.

Afterlife is directed and produced by Jason Reitman (Juno & Up In The Air), son Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters cocreator and director. Jason and Gil Kenan (Monster House) co-write this time. Ivan is the producer. Callie Coon (a young single mother) is expelled from her home 30 years after Ghostbusters. It happens at the same time that her father, a mysterious figure who we only see in shadow and has a lot familiar equipment, is killed. Callie is left at home on Callie's farm in Summerville, Oklahoma. She moves to Summerville with Trevor, her teenage son (Stranger Things Finn Wolfhard), and Phoebe, her preteen daughter (The Haunting of Hillhouses Mckenna Grace).

Afterlife pushes Coons character aside and puts Phoebe at the forefront. (Trevor is in the middle). Phoebe, a quirky outcast, is so smart for her age that she quickly unravels the mystery of her grandfather's death. With the help of Podcast (Logan Kim), Phoebe discovers that ghost traps and proton packs are making a triumphant return. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is at its best when it's good and very good. It is quite exhilarating to see these young people, who are completely unaware of the huge events that occurred in New York in 1984, discover ghosts exist and how they can trap them. Is it absurd? It is a little. But highly enjoyable nevertheless. It is partly due to Reitman's skillful mixing of Elmer Bernsteins haunting Ghostbusters music and Rob Simonsens traditional, but still effective update. This results in an exceptional alchemy between nostalgia and progress.

Yet, as Phoebe, Podcast and Trevor dig deeper into the mystery of the matter, things start to shift slowly. They begin to answer many of your questions about the new story, but not all. Where are the Ghostbusters from before? Why are they not together? What has their relationship been like since then? What was the result of their actions and discoveries? What does this family have to with all of it? This last part was initially viewed as a mystery. However, it is revealed almost too quickly that they are the descendants of Egon Spengler (the deceased Harold Ramis). Afterlife's reasons for being in Summerville is what makes it a shocking, touching, thrilling, children-fighting-ghosts comedy that has become an almost shocking avalanche.

You are probably aware that Ghostbusters isn't returning for the first time since 1989's sequel. Paul Feig, the director of Ghostbusters: The 2016 remake was harshly criticised by fans for not being true to the original story and tone. In a way, this film feels like a subtle reply to some of these sentiments. For lack of a better description, the Next-Gen Ghostbusters (for l'absence of a better one) of Phoebe Podcast, Trevor, Lucky (Celeste OConnor), are made up of multiple ages and races. Afterlife suggests that Feigs film captured that diversity well. But unlike Feigs film the story these characters are drawn into is so closely tied to the original that if you spoiled it, I wouldn't believe you.

The story's conclusion is what the filmmakers believe, and maybe they are right. Hardcore Ghostbusters fans might want it. A true geek-out checklist. The original film's characters, names, symbols, and all manner of iconography are back, and play a crucial role in Summerville. This is all very exciting for a short time, but it soon becomes overwhelming and densely, crudely added onto what was a pleasant family story. This results in a huge disconnect in the audience's emotional investment. It's very disappointing that you lose interest in these characters and become distracted by all the references.


Most of the fan service happens at the end, so the movie's best, most heartfelt moments, are left alone. The movie is hilarious from start to finish. Paul Rudd plays Mr. Grooberson as a local teacher who helps Phoebe solve some Summerville mysteries. The bulk of the dialogue is Phoebe. Phoebe's delivery is so dry and deadpan that it is funny in a memorable way. Phoebe is the best part of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Mckenna Grace, who has had an amazing career since 2013, has created an unforgettable performance that blends brains, brawn and humor. Her star-making performance is truly remarkable. She also has a great chemistry with Kim and their banter is fantastic. The fact that all these complexities are contained in a small, unassuming package makes them even more memorable.


However, Carrie Coon (The Leftovers), who is an excellent actress, is totally ignored in this film. You can't help but feel that she spends the majority of the film in her father's house, feeling bitter. When she finally does get some work done, it is obvious that the role was reduced significantly. Similar sentiments can be expressed for many other characters in the film, such as Tracy Letts (Homeland), Bokeem Woodbine ("Spider-Man: Homecoming") and Tracy Letts (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”). There are also a few surprises at the end. It's clear that the movie is too big. The film is a good enough movie to build a world and you want to see more of these characters in the future.


You would expect something that is so dedicated to satisfying hardcore fans to answer all the questions it poses. But Ghostbusters: Afterlife does not. Although it explains some things, there is so much plot, character and backstory that a few key connections are frustratingly ignored or left too vague. Even worse, the film's climax is abrupt and offers little closure to the main characters. Then, there are two credit scenes that make it seem like they were from completely different movies. This is all to say that even if you believe Afterlife is working, it is not. You can get the wheels off very quickly.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is so close to being the perfect sequel that fans have waited for so long. It loses much of its power when it is too focused on its past rather than its future. While it works well and feels great while you're watching it, it becomes a problem when you stop to consider how the film was put together. Ghostbusters: The Afterlife is sure to be loved by many people, and I tried to. I am a huge fan of the originals and made it a point to watch it again before writing this review. Some of my issues did ease after the second viewing. However, they still remained and Ghostbusters: Afterlife feels almost like a movie that is afraid to be its own thing. It could be said that it is afraid to face a ghost. Ghostbusters, a 1984 film.


Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be in theaters only on November 19.

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