Review – Ghostbusters: Afterlife – Revisits The Franchise At Its Best

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Hollywood is hell-bent on revisiting their childhood and in many cases ruining it for everyone else. However in the latest attempt, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Hollywood manages to do something right and create a faithful continuation to the franchise that will leave fans of the original wanting more, in a good way. Let’s check out the synopsis and a quick trailer and then on to the spoilers.

From director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman, comes the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe. In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, 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. The film is written by Jason Reitman & Gil Kenan.

Warnings, spoilers be abound ahead.

Review

Any time you hear the words “remake a classic” or “continuing the franchise for the next generation” it brings up bad horror stories of failed reboots. Que Ghostbusters and this franchise specifically has a history of at least one high-profile reboot attempt that for many, didn’t sit well. I won’t dwell on the 2016 version but I will say it took a tone that was more comedy than the original. So, on to Afterlife and its host of cameos, returning villains and so many easter eggs we won’t need the holiday until 2050.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is set in the same timeline and world as the original two films and takes place years after the events in New York. Following Spanglers family, specifically his Daughter and her kids as they pick up the pieces from his passing in a small rural town in the middle of nowhere. Paul Rudd plays the goofy summer school teacher who is also a science geek, which fits well with Phoebe’s very analytical personality. It’s clear the film directed by the son of the original director for the first two films was focused on the first film with little to no callbacks to the second one.

Everything else that follows is an almost scene-for-scene retake of the original film even if in some cases they were reworked into a more modern setting. All the technology in the world now versus the 80s, not just in film making but in the Ghostbusters world, made some things seem far more real and scary. While others, goofy and almost campy. Our big villain this time around? Yep, none other than Gozer and her two minions Zuul and Vinz Clortho (the dogs from the original film). But don’t think that Afterlife is just a rehashing of the original film. Oh and watch closely to Gozer. While she looks very close to the original actress from the 1984 film, it’s actually Olivia Wilde playing the character here. I totally didn’t catch that at first.

The new story wraps in further worldbuilding and history by explaining the back story of Ivo Shandor. You remember him right? The guy who built the same building in the original Ghostbusters that Dana Barrett lived in? Yes, the town that Egon moved to was founded by him. As we watch a younger generation take over the mantel of fighting ghosts, we also get a reunion that many of us have been waiting nearly 30 years for.

There was a moment in the film that was extremely poorly executed and almost came apart at the seams but luckily it was short. To be fair, looking back at the original scene in the 1984 film it was pretty suspect too but it sticks out more here. Beyond that, Ghostbusters: Afterlife set out to bridge the gap in a now-adult fan base who grew up with it while bringing in that generation’s kids into the franchise. With the right mix of horror, comedy, feels, and wonder, Ghostbusters: Afterlife revisits the franchise at its best and sets up (via a post-credit scene) a possible new story to tell and we are ready for it.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in theatres now.

Robert Prentice