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Ghostbusters Afterlife (Review)


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.

Ever since Ghostbusters II was released in 1989, talks of a third movie seemed like they were nothing, but rumor. There were ideas and scripts written by Harold Ramis that would have had the original team venture through hell or the "ghost world" to fight the devil. It even got to the point where the 2009 Ghostbusters video game was being considered as the third official movie by fans since it continued the story taking place two years after the events of Ghostbusters II. While there have been many ideas that floated around of a third Ghostbusters film over the years, a third film would not have been green-lit if it was not for the 2016 reboot, Ghostbusters: Answer The Call, bombing at the box-office.

That brings us to where we are now with Ghostbusters Afterlife, which I am glad to say that this was a really fun movie that stayed spiritually true to the first two movies. The story is slow paced, but it doesn't feel like it dragged for the entire two hours. It had me more invested on the story of Egon's family that felt they were abandoned and were annoyed that they had to drive out to a small town in the middle of nowhere to discover a run down farm, which this family inherited.

Mckenna Grace plays Phoebe, who is the main protagonist of the movie. Her character mimics that of Harold Ramis’s character, Egon, in terms of her interest in science and being an all around super nerd. In contrast, she is socially awkward and apparently has a hard time making friends. That is until Podcast introduces himself allowing her to open up her personality. Between her, her mother, Callie, and her brother, Trevor, Phoebe is the one that takes the most interest in unraveling the mystery behind her grandfather’s legacy.

Logan Kim plays Phoebe’s friend, Podcast, whose personality is like that of Dan Aykroyd’s character Ray. He is always very enthusiastic about everything that is related to the paranormal and unsolved mysteries. He assists Phoebe in solving how her grandfather is connected to the Ghostbusters as well as prepare the traps for the ghosts.

Carrie Coon plays Egon’s daughter and single mother, Callie. She has feelings of resentment towards her father because she felt as though Egon abandoned her when she was a kid. She does not want anything to do with her father’s legacy even keeping the Spengler name hush-hush from her kids until Phoebe discovered the truth.

Finn Wolfhard plays Phoebe’s brother, Trevor, who is a typical hormonal teenager. He is annoyed with his mother for not being able to make enough money to live a stable home life and blames her for falling back on his grandfather’s rundown farm. He takes a liking to a girl named Lucky, which she works at a fast food restaurant called Spinners and lies about his age just so he can get a job at the restaurant and get closer with this girl. The trailers made him out to be the protagonist of the movie, but his only contribution to the movie was fixing and driving the Ecto-1 and not much else. Wolfhard seemed like he was just there going along with the ride of events.

The same goes for Celeste O'Conner who plays Lucky. She seemed like she was only there just to give Trevor something to focus on while the movie tries to find some way to make both of them Ghostbusters. Her acting isn't bad, but O'Conner's character just didn't leave much an impression.

Paul Rudd plays Mr. Grooberson, which is this movie’s version of Rick Moranis’s character, Louis Tully. In contrast, Mr. Grooberson is a little less awkward and less clumsy than Louis. He is Phoebe’s summer school teacher and a seismologist who has been recording the earthquakes that occur on a daily basis through out the town. He has also been a fan of the Ghostbusters and remembers the world ending event that took place in New York City back in 1984.

I talked about the new characters in the movie, but what about the returning characters? Where do they fit into this movie? Ever since Ghostbusters II, business was booming for a while. In fact, business was so good that they captured all of the ghosts in New York City, which drove the Ghostbusters out of business. Egon’s friendship ended when he tried to warn Ray and the others about how the end of the world was coming soon and none of them wanted to hear none of it.

Annie Potts returns as Jenine Melnitz only for a couple minutes just to say hi to Callie and explained that she only helped Egon pay the electric bill just to keep the lights on. She reappears in the second end credits scene with Winston, which hints at a possible fourth movie.

Sigourney Weaver does return as Dana Barrett Venkman only in the first end credits scene that adds nothing to the story. She is just there giving the same test Peter gave to his students in the first movie with cards and electric shocks. Also, there is no sign of Dana's son, Oscar, from Ghostbusters II. At this point in time, Oscar would have been all grown up in his early to mid-30's. I'm not sure if this was another missed opportunity to reintroduce the character now all grown up, but Afterlife seems to never acknowledge the second movie.

Dan Akyroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson do return in the movie. Ray Stantz first appears when Phoebe calls him over the phone at the town jail. She calls the number she saw in the old commercial and tells him she was Egon’s granddaughter after learning about the falling out. At the climax, the movie pulls a deus ex machina as Ray, Peter, and Winston save the Spengler family from being killed by Gozer. As cool as it was to see the original Ghostbusters, the timing for when they appeared seemed too convenient and I wish the movie got to spend some more time with the trio. At least see how they came to the conclusion that this family was in danger and had to arrive in that town.

Even though Harold Ramis passed away before Afterlife went into production, he is technically in the movie as Egon, in spirit (no pun intended), as a CGI ghost. From beginning to end, Egon has been trying to trap Gozer or at least stall the Sumerian god from causing another world ending event. As a ghost, he mostly guided Phoebe to where all of the Ghostbusters equipment are located and showed her how to fix the equipment. At the climactic battle, Egon finally appears in his spirit form helping the Ghostbusters and Phoebe one last time to defeat Gozer. As a way of honoring Harold Ramis, this was probably the best way to pay tribute to the actor that they could have come up with. Seeing the Ghostbusters getting sentimental seeing their dead friend and apologizing for not believing in him was probably the best part of the movie due to the symbolism of the years of anger and frustration the actors had towards each other, in real life.

The soundtrack for Ghostbusters Afterlife uses the same music from the first Ghostbusters movie. This is all fine and all, but it didn't sound like they updated any part of the soundtrack. At least in Ghostbusters II, the movie had an entirely different soundtrack from Ghostbusters.

Even though we don't see a whole lot of ghosts in this movie, there are quite a variety of new and classic style ghosts mixed in together. One of the first ghosts that gets busted is a ghost called Metal Muncher, which is this movie's version of Slimer. Very much like Slimer's appetite for food, the Metal Muncher has an appetite for metal and can shoot metal shrapnel it had gorged as a way to defend itself. There are also the café ghost and the giant eyeball demon that goes around terrorizing Summerville. The Stay Puff Marshmallow Man does return as Mini-Stay Puffs that have a personality similar to the gremlins in the movie Gremlins. They may seem cute, at first glance, but they cause quite a bit of mischief for Paul Rudd getting him spotted by a devil dog. Finally, the devil dog couple, Vince Clortho and Zuul (aka "Key Master" and "Gate Keeper"), return in Ghostbusters Afterlife using a mix of practical effects and CGI that worked well in making these creatures look lively and with some personality.

Olivia Wilde plays Gozer the Gozerian, the big bad her…him…whatever it wants to be self and Olivia really nailed the character down with the looks and attitude the original Gozer had. Cocky and unaware at times of what is happening around it. When it is time to get serious, this Gozer really demonstrates its ruthless strength and power that this god could wield.

At the same time, the movie also introduces Ivo Shandor, the Gozer cultist leader himself (played by J.K. Simmons) and was only in the movie for a disappointing five seconds before getting killed by Gozer. To be frank, there was a missed opportunity to have had Ivo Shandor as this movie's villain rather than getting Gozer again. In Ghostbusters, we learn about Ivo Shandor being the mastermind behind building Gozer's altar on top of Dana's apartment complex to bring about the end of the world. Then in some parts of Ghostbusters Afterlife, we learn more about where Ivo Shandor resided, how he founded Summerville, and his true intentions. That is just me.

The one question I do have is about Ghost Corps and if it is still a thing Sony is still moving forward with. For those that don’t know what Ghost Corps is, it is Sony’s attempt at making a cinematic universe similar to the MCU with movies and TV shows all taking place in the same universe. This idea first became public in 2015 when Paul Feige was directing the 2016 reboot. However, since the all female reboot flopped and Feige and the cast was blaming it on misogynists and racists for the movie’s failure, I would have thought that the Ghost Corps idea would have been scrapped. So out of curiosity, if anyone has information on the current status of Ghost Corps just let me know in the comments section or on social media.

Final Thoughts:

Ghostbusters Afterlife has a solid story that sets out to do what the 2016 reboot didn’t. Jason Reitman answered the call of the fans and was successful in making a Ghostbusters movie that captures the spirit of the original movies while also honoring the memory of Harold Ramis. I would have liked to have seen a little more of Bill Murray, Dan Akyroyd, and Ernie Hudson coming together before the climax, but I am glad that I got to see the old gang together for what might be their last rodeo and passing down the torch to a new generation.

What are your thoughts on Ghostbusters Afterlife? Did you like the movie or do you think it could have been better? Let me know of your thoughts on the movie in the comments section. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Minds, MeWe, and Gab to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.

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Dec 06, 2021

I saw this movie twice, did not like it at first. When I saw it the second time, I enjoyed it a lot more and saw all the good that I neglected.

I think the slow burn and stupid nitpicky things made me not enjoy it as much. For example, I expected more of a bonding moment with the original ghostbusters and the new cast. Don’t get me wrong, you get a little, but I would have liked more. I was surprised Paul Rudd’s character didn’t fan boy seeing the original Ghostbuster (then again he is recovering from being possessed).

I wished there was more acknowledgment to Ghostbusters 2. I thought the body suit for Gozer was badass and…

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