HOLLYWOOD—As a kid I was a huge and I mean huge fan of the 1984 classic “Ghostbusters” and its 1989 sequel. It was a movie that balanced scares, comedy and action all in one and you’ll never look at a marshmallow the same after watching the first flick. I guess you can say the same about the current entry into the franchise “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” I cannot believe how glued to the big screen I was watching this latest entry into the franchise that I found just as exciting as the first flick.
“Ghostbusters” when it first arrived nearly 40 years ago was something fresh, unique and stunning. You have iconic characters like Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and the late Harold Ramis. Yes, you may miss having those iconic characters in this what I would argue is the third installment in the franchise (even though we had that female version of “Ghostbusters”), that is a damn worthy sequel.
I will admit “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” has a slow first act, but after about 40 minutes the movie really propels in my opinion and it just clicks on all cylinders. You have intriguing characters, you have a narrative that keeps you guessing and enthralled, you have surprises that will leave you aghast, but at the same time bring a smile on your face because it brings you back to the 1984 classic. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” brings such a level of nostalgia that it is unforgettable people.
This new chapter revolves around Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon) and her two children: Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (McKenna Grace). Guys watch out for Wolfhard; that is a talented actor where I see great things in his future. Callie is struggling financially and barely making ends meet. She learns that her father Egon has died, and that he may have left her something with his estate in Summerville, Oklahoma. A small town, with lots of farmland and where not much happens.
The family hopes this could be their ticket to financial freedom, but that is not the case. Coon brings a level of angst to a parent who is just hoping to catch a break, but seems to be delivered obstacle after obstacle. However, the stars of this movie are indeed Trevor and Phoebe, but Phoebe in particular. Her character is just so fleshed out and brings a level of heart and genuine likability to the audience. You sympathize with her inability to connect with people and easily make friends, even though her mother and brother tease her about it. Grace does an absolute fantastic job in the role people, loved seeing her on the screen every moment.
Callie’s father is discussed throughout the entire film as a cranky old man who lost his mind and as the kids explore the town and learn its ins and outs they discover some secrets about their grandfather that their mother kept from them and once we get that first ghost sitting, the use of that gun, and that nifty ghost trap, and the ghostbuster mobile, everything explodes at a feverish pitch that just keeps moving at a pace that works.
Adults will love this movie, kids will love this movie, fans of the franchise will enjoy this flick as well. Does that mean you have to see the original to know what to expect with this outing. I would argue yeah, you kind of do, but at the same time you don’t NEED to see previous flicks to enjoy this one, but doing so makes you understand a few things that transpire in the third act. The climax is full of surprises and moments that will leave you so stunned, but pleasantly surprised at the same time people.
Paul Rudd adds that comedic element to the movie as Gary Grooberson, Phoebe’s summer school teacher, and supporting roles are also fun for both Logan Kim who portrays Podcast, and Celeste O’Connor who portrays Lucky. Podcast is Phoebe’s buddy who helps her discover the reasoning behind the quakes taking place in the town, while Lucky is a love interest for Trevor that prompts him to get a job at the local dinner Spinners. The movie does seem to hint at the possibly of a new generation of Ghostbusters, one’s that are young to say the least that did indeed intrigue me to say the least America.
Director Jason Reitman, yes that Reitman people, the son of Ivan Reitman who helmed “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II” does a stellar job behind the camera and proves he has learned from the best to revitalize a franchise that some thought was dead on arrival after the previous remake/reboot depending on what you want to call it. I had such a thrill watching this movie I cannot wait until it arrives on Blu-ray so I can watch again and bring in all that nostalgia that I did back when I was a kid. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is an absolute blast and success people.