Hollywood has always been interested in taking the easy route towards success and milking whatever successful I.P. it can get its hands on for all they’re worth. The recent nostalgia boom has only made the urge even more lucrative for the major studios, so it comes as no surprise that Sony’s Columbia Pictures would want to try and revive the Ghostbusters franchise. Again.
Directed and co-written by Jason Reitman (son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan), this go around has chosen to ignore the events of the 2016 reboot and instead function as a sequel to the original films. We are introduced to Callie (Carrie Coon), the daughter of Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis, only seen here digitally and in old footage), and her 2 children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace). They are barely scraping by when she receives word of the death of her estranged father, so they relocate from New York City to Oklahoma and the run-down farmhouse he left her. The children soon discover Egon’s various equipment scattered around the property and then learn of his past notoriety from Summer School teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd). Unsurprisingly, the town also has a bit of a burgeoning ghost problem and so Trevor and Phoebe along with new friends Lucky (Celeste O’Connor) and Podcast (Logan Kim), decide to team up and do something about it, even if no one else believes them.
In many ways Ghostbusters: Afterlife winds up feeling like a more kid-oriented remake of the original, with many plot points being very similar. The more family-friendly tone though takes something away from the anarchic spirit of the 1984 movie. It does work in its own ways though, and at times comes closer to replicating the fun and awe many of us remember feeling from the Spielberg-influenced “kiddy” blockbusters of the 80’s like The Goonies or Gremlins than any other recent movie. The adult cast is likable enough but the kids really shine here, and it’s hard not to finish this movie without we will get to see these characters again. It isn’t perfect, but it’s about as entertaining as you can expect a shameless cash-grab to be. ★★★★
Rated PG-13 for supernatural action, and some suggestive references.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor