Starring: Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Carrie Coon, and Paul Rudd
Director: Jason Reitman
Despite the odds, Ghostbusters: Afterlife works. Director/co-writer Jason Reitman revives the franchise in a way that pays homage to the original while also making it feel fresh. It somehow maintains the magic of the 1984 version, feeling both fun and genuinely scary at times, and serves as a lovely tribute to Harold Ramis. The whole cast is amazing, but Mckenna Grace nails it as the lead. I had a few issues with the script and a couple nostalgia-driven moments made me roll my eyes, but that aside, this is a revival that sticks the landing.
With original director Ivan Reitman's son, Jason Reitman, stepping into the director’s chair, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a love letter to the original films. The cast breathes new life into the series with Mckenna Grace having a breakout moment, while some key cameos will appease longtime fans of the series. There are laughs, scares, and even some tears. Reitman nailed it with this one. He has managed to make a film that fits firmly into the Ghostbusters universe that still works as a standalone film with the potential to relaunch the franchise. Well done.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife doesn’t do anything “wrong” necessarily, but the only thing it does exceptionally “right” is the nostalgia porn. From the not-so-secret cameos to the general atmosphere, it genuinely feels like it could be an 80s movie as opposed to a movie trying to recapture 80s magic. However, it skews much younger, feeling more like Goosebumps than a Ghostbusters sequel. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does come off a tad neutered. The jokes are vanilla, the emotional bits are wavetop, and it doesn’t expect much from its audience. Older fans should adjust expectations.
Although Ghostbusters: Afterlife presents itself as a singular adventure, it eventually reveals itself to be two stories in one. However, neither story is completely fleshed out, as you only get the end of one and the beginning of another. That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s generally polished, but it spends more time trudging up nostalgic memories than it does telling its own tale. While the attempts at humor are admirable, they mostly fall flat. A lot of this movie seems to work on the surface, but unlike the film’s setting, there’s hardly anything lurking beneath.