‘GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE’ Review | It’s About Time

The Ghostbusters franchise has had a rough time over the last decade or so. From multiple failed attempts to get a third film into production to the poorly written, poorly directed, and terribly marketed Ghostbusters: Answer the Call in 2016. But when director Jason Reitman, who is the son of Ivan Reitman, director of the first two Ghostbusters films, stepped up with a quality script that continued the franchise in a meaningful way, everything seemed to just come together and production on Ghostbusters: Afterlife began.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a proper sequel to the original Ghostbusters film. While there are a few loose references to Ghostbusters II, such as Ray’s Occult bookstore, Afterlife basically ignores the existence of the second film. It takes place in the main Ghostbusters universe, so none of the events of Answer the Call ever happened as far as Afterlife is concerned.

The film picks up in the present day, 37 years after the events of the original Ghostbusters. Callie (Carrie Coon) is having a hard time making ends meet, when her estranged father, Egon Spengler, passes away. Hoping to collect an inheritance check, Callie moves her family to the fictional small town of Summerville, Oklahoma, where Egon owned a farmhouse. As her son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), and daughter Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) acclimate to their new home, they soon discover their grandfather was a Ghostbuster, and this random farmhouse in the middle of nowhere has a purpose.

ghostbusters afterlife

What Ghostbusters: Afterlife does really well is balance the existing fan base that loved the classic films while opening the door for a new audience to get in on the fun. There are plenty of direct mentions and nods to the first Ghostbusters film, but not misplaced pandering like what fans saw in Answer the Call. It’s the perfect blend of old and new, that allows the franchise to move forward with a new cast of characters, without forgetting where it came from.

Speaking of the new characters, Egon’s granddaughter, Phoebe, is the lifeline of the film. Mckenna Grace truly channels her inner Egon and carries the film on her shoulders. Throughout most of Afterlife, she’s paired up with her classmate, Podcast (Logan Kim). While Podcast is a somewhat generic character, he’s in the film to add a bit of comic relief and help Phoebe where needed, and it works well enough.

As always, Paul Rudd is his usually bright self, but he doesn’t get a lot of screen time as Phoebe’s teacher, Mr. Grooberson. He could have been utilized a bit more, but he has more of an impact on the film than Phoebe’s brother, Trevor, and his crush, Lucky (Celeste O’Connor). We’ve seen Finn Wolfhard’s acting range in other films, but he’s woefully underused in Afterlife, and O’Connor’s character could be removed from the film entirely with very little change required. These minor issues don’t bring the film down very much, but it would’ve been nice to see some of the characters utilized in better ways.

The story of Ghostbusters: Afterlife ties everything together and pushes the franchise forward, with plenty of room for a sequel or two. Some may complain about dwelling too much in the past, but after the travesty that was Answer the Call, it was a smart move to bring in the old school fans and give them confidence in the franchise moving forward. Afterlife isn’t a perfect film, but it’s a lot of fun, and really captures the spirit (pun intended) of the first two Ghostbusters films.

About Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Synopsis: 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.

Director: Jason Reitman

Writers: Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman

Starring: Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd

Runtime: 2 Hours, 4 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Releases: November 19th, 2021 (USA)

Finn Wolfhard, Ghostbusters Afterlife, McKenna Grace, movie review, paul rudd

Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.

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