Ghostbusters: Afterlife Pays Homage to Classic while Being Its Own Film (Review)

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Credit: Sony Pictures

Ghostbusters is a piece of pop culture history, and there are so many things to love about the films including an iconic theme song that plays every Halloween, the Ecto-1 car, and the ghost-capturing proton packs. The first two films were directed by Ivan Reitman and featured an amusing and memorable team with Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Raymond Stantz, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler, and Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore. After a few decades, fans will finally get to see the continuation of the series with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a film directed by Reitman’s son, Jason Reitman. The torch has been passed, and the sequel tells the story of a new generation and how they are connected to the past. It’s a love letter to the classic movies while also paving the way for the likable, new cast.

The film follows single mother Callie and her two children, Trevor and Phoebe, who are being evicted, with their only left is a dingy farmhouse in Summerville, Oklahoma. It’s owned by the kids’ grandfather, and their journey will lead them to find out their connection to the Ghostbusters. Of course, not all is quiet in the small town. Earthquakes have been causing unrest and an old mine contains clues.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Credit: Sony Pictures

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Cast

With a new story and cast of characters, the tone and pacing are different from the classic films, and it feels like Ghostbusters meets Goonies and a little bit of ’80s Robert Zemeckis. Mckenna Grace is delightful and terrific as Phoebe, a child prodigy who discovers more about the history of the Ghostbusters. Joining her on her adventures is Logan Kim as Podcast, another fun addition and equally as entertaining.

Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard plays Phoebe’s older brother, Trevor. His subplot focuses on him as the new kid on the block falling for Lucky (Celeste O’Connor), a local who works at the same fast food joint as him. It’s not the most enthralling of subplots, but it helps set up their side of the ghost discoveries.

Credit: Sony Pictures

And then we have Paul Rudd as Mr. Grooberson, the teacher who is a fan of the Ghostbusters and joins Phoebe’s journey. His performance is humorous and is definitely a supporting character to the kids.

The Past

The main cast is uncovering a new threat, but audiences will see all kinds of hints to the original Ghostbusters. These include the Ecto-1 and the proton packs. The revelations build out slowly throughout the film. As it amps up to the climactic third act, fans will be in for a treat. Jason Reitman and co-writer Gil Kenan have sprinkled nostalgia dust all over, but it doesn’t get in the way of the story.

Credit: Sony Pictures

With these types of revivals, it’s always a question of, “What were they doing all this time?” It’s a pretty simple reason, but there are other alternatives that could’ve excited fans even more. The film also uses a certain character, and it makes the series a bit redundant. It’s the feeling of, “Been there, done that.”

Final Reaction

Ghostbusters: Afterlife pays homage to the classic films while also being its own movie. Mckenna Grace totally illuminates as Phoebe, and the rest of the cast is wonderful. Although the film is smaller in scope and slowly paced, it adds to the mystery and allows the characters to breathe in their scenes.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

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