Opening 18 Nov 2021
Writing credits: Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis
Principal actors: Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Sigourney Weaver, Paul Rudd
When the extra-terrestrial magic of CGI meets 1980s-inspired Hollywood nostalgia, you get the makings of a spectacular, holiday season blockbuster, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife doesn’t disappoint. Following the first installment of the Ghostbusters collection in 1984, nearly 40 years later, Jason Reitman steps into the directorial shoes of his father, Ivan. Those who are already fans of the franchise may be asking themselves: Was it the storyline, comedic cast, special effects or the irresistible theme song that made the original an immediate cinematic classic? Whatever elements made that magical mix back then seem to have made a slimy comeback in this recent release.
The script (written by Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman) reimagines the “where are they now?” concept and centers on the descendants of Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis). We learn that he allegedly confiscated all of the team’s proton packs, drained the company bank accounts, abandoned his family and young daughter, Callie, and moved out west, where he depleted his savings and lost contact with nearly everyone in his past. Callie (Carrie Coon), now the mother of two teens, is facing eviction when she finds out that Egon has suddenly died. She and her two children, Trevor and Phoebe (Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace), inherit a spooky, dilapidated farm house in a literal ghost town on the outskirts of an old mining town in Summerville, Oklahoma. Expecting to get some money from her late, estranged father’s estate and start a new life, Callie gobsmacks her kids with the news that they’ll be staying there for good. Soon, strange things start happening in and under the house, and Phoebe begins to explore her nascent connections with her genius granddad.
While Trevor lies about his age to get a job (and a girl), Callie enrolls in Phoebe summer school, where she meets her first real friend, Podcast (adorable scene-stealing Logan Kim) and teacher played by Paul Rudd. Smart and inquisitive like her late grandfather, Phoebe discovers a strange piece of equipment in the floorboards of the house. Her teacher is the first one who identifies that strange equipment as an authentic ghost trap. Accidentally, they release the last ghost that Dr. Spengler trapped the night he died, and the terror, tremors and ghoulish fun goes on from there.
The storyline is a somewhat predictable and bit over the top, but it has a great mix of nostalgic past and believable future. The modern-day cast is rounded out with notable and moving cameos from most of the original cast, which help to tie in the backstory explanation of the evil-godlike androgenous villain, Gozer the Gozerian. Breath-taking rocky terrain and small-town charm make the perfect backdrop for the vibrant, large (and loud!) special effects. The script is full of punchlines and nods to the original franchise premise. True fans may find themselves a bit teary during the final fight scenes thanks to the age-bending wonders of CGI and AI. The only thing missing was the jumbo-sized marshmallow man and that signature star-studded montage of the Ghostbusters theme song during the end credits. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is bound to be a runaway hit at the late-year box office. A must-see for families (with kids 12 and over) who like supernatural comedies—and an iridescent slime.
Kid Kritik review:
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a great mix between the new story and the classic one. I found the way the writers blended the two stories from the past and nice very nice and believable, so you learn a lot of new stuff about the Ghostbusters and now their grandchildren. The crazy events (and cameo appearances) like from the original really bring back memories! Scary ghost scenes and giggles really make this movie interesting. The animations were great for this amazing blockbuster. A great movie — I give it 5 stars! (Felix S., age 12) (Ericka Seifried)