Back in 1984 when big hair and neon were the norms; a movie appeared that soon became a cultural phenomenon. The movie involved a team of unlikely Paranormal Investigators and the mix of comedy, FX, and Ghosts turned the movie into a smash hit and a Pop Culture mainstay. The abundance of products that followed and the inescapable theme song and tagline soon gave rise to a sequel which while a success; did not resonate the way the original film had and thus the “Ghostbusters” film franchise became dormant.
While a successful video game and merchandise line kept the franchise alive; the 2016 reboot with an all-female team failed to capture the magic at the box office and again put the franchise’s cinematic future in question.
Thankfully after several delays due to the Covid 19 Pandemic; “Ghostbusters Afterlife” has arrived and is the worthy sequel that does justice to the original film and sets the stage well for future cinematic exploits.
The film follows a down on her luck mother named Callie )Carrie Coon) and her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard); and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), as they are forced to move to a dilapidated farm in rural Oklahoma following the passing of Callie’s estranged father and her subsequent eviction.
A series of unexplained earthquakes clues the smart and precocious Phoebe that something is up and with her new friend Podcast (Logan Kim), and teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd); help her uncover her connection to the original Ghostbusters and the abundance and significance of the gear that her Grandfather has left on the farm.
Things soon take a turn for the worse and despite skeptical locals and the emerging danger, Phoebe, Trevor, and their friends have to battle the forces of evil to save the world.
The movie takes its time getting to the action and spends plenty of time establishing the characters, their motivations, and their relationships with one another. There are abundant homages to the original film; some of which are very subtle and clever but never seem gratuitous or tacked on.
The film also does not rely on the FX to tell the tale as while there are some solid effects in the film; this is a character-driven tale and the new cast works well with some surprise guests who pop up throughout the film.
Director Jason Reitman; son of the Director of the original film; clearly knows and loves the material as he not only helped craft the story but deftly weaves a new tale into the franchise which also fits well with the first film and does not attempt to reboot but rather continue the franchise.
There are two extra scenes in the credits that you will not want to miss as not only are they great fun; but also tease of future adventures to come.
The film also has a few touching moments that caused some unexpected emotion from the audience at our Press Screening and helped establish “Ghostbusters Afterlife” as not only a winning entry into the series but also one of the most enjoyable films of the year.
4.5 stars out of 5.