Synopsis: “When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.”
It’s the age old question that has been lingering on everyone’s minds since 1984. Who are you gunna call? The answer is, and will always be, the Ghostbusters. And yes, they’re still answering the call in 2021 (new and familiar characters are standing by now).
Ghosbusters: Afterlife is the film every fan has been nervously awaiting. Crossing those mental streams, trying not to watch the trailer too many times, biting our key master nails, pacing on our gate keeper heels. On the coat tails of some controversial remakes and reboots, this new spirit has hit the big screen. I waited in the theatre, packed full of fans who have been with the team since the first film and new fans who only know the catchy theme song. There was a lot on the line. Did I look up to the stars as the film began and ask the Stay Puft Gods “please let this be good”? Yes. And let me tell you, they delivered, marshmallow fluff and all.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the new Ghostbusters film from Jason Reitman (son of the original director Ivan Reitman). Following the daughter and grandchildren of Egon Spengler, the story traces the Goonies-like journey the kids and their adult counterparts follow after moving to their grandfathers dirt filled farm following his passing. Uncovering what lingers below the soil, the characters find out what’s important in their own lives and what comes after.
There’s a chill of perfection that is Afterlife. It had that Spielberg kids on an adventure, riding their bikes through town kind of feel. It made me remember those movies we all watched and wanted to be a part of so much, somehow creating our identities around while simaultanously collecting all the toys available. It took inspiration from so many films and yet was true to the roots that Ghostbusters grew.
For fans who have been donning their proton packs for years, Afterlife has what you’re looking for. The throwback moments that have you pointing out like that Leonardo DiCaprio Once Upon a Time in Hollywood meme are riddled through every single frame. I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop myself from saying out loud “did you see that”, like some actual ghost hunter rewatching their footage. It’s been said over and over but Afterlife is a love letter to what was, and is, the Ghostbusters.
McKenna Grace led the team with a stand out performance as Egon Spengler’s granddaughter, Phoebe. Seriously, I could not get over this actress and how close she embodied Harold Ramis. Her friend, Podcast, played by Logan Kim, had some comedy chops I’m pretty sure Lorne Michaels would have approved of. Everyone was cast perfectly from Paul Rudd to Carrie Coon and the bits and pieces you saw from Finn Wolfhard.
Let’s just give a tiny nod to the fact this film also used practical effects in moments where they could have chosen the CGI route. There’s something about seeing a ghost on the screen, flesh and puppet blood, that had the old Ghostbusters feel of home to it. Reitman knew what he was doing and knew he was making this film for the fans. He knew that we’d all get goosebumps hearing the siren from the Ecto-1 whirling down the street and seeing those old familiar faces that left half the audience holding back tears.
Don’t get me wrong, there were lulls in the new movie, there was some missed opportunities, knit pick things, but as a whole, it captured my heart in the trap. I really think this film was made for new fans to find what came before it. Marketing ploys aside, mini Stay Pufts got me and every person in the audience. We all wanted to become Ghostbusters as the credits rolled, you could feel it in the air. Oh and speaking of that…there are two post credit scenes, so sit tight till the lights come up.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is going to be more than just a film to a lot of people. It’s going to act as a standing introduction to the original group of ghost hunters who changed our movie-going lives. Yes, the original 1984 film is a pack of comedy icons capturing ghosts but that film has a magic to it I can’t explain. Proton packs, Slimer, Stay Puft, these are staples of our pop occult life. Ghosbusters is a film that has a power to it you can’t deny. It makes you smile, makes you believe in crossing the streams and makes you believe you could stand on top of a building in New York and be asked if you are, in fact a God. The original will always be a beacon of light to an adventurous comedic escape. And Afterlife is a new chapter in that story that’s about to open the gates to the ancient temple of Zuul for a group of young fans everywhere.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife was made to remind you who you can always, and forever, call when you need that little nudge of supernatural comedic magic. They’re standing by now and it’s worth picking up the receiver and dialing. Trust me, I’m a scientist.
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Writer. Geek. Final Girl.