When you have trouble moving forward, you go back right?
After the failure of the 2016 reboot, Ghostbusters returned to its ghost trap to hibernate and think about “what it had done”. Of course it hadn’t done anything but make a fun attempt at trying something new, which would have lead to a really great trilogy idea had it landed. But it didn’t. And now we have the old, new…trilogy?
It’s been 32 years since Viggo the Carpathian haunted New York.
As supernatural events declined, the Ghostbusters disbanded and one Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) moved to the middle of nowhere. Here, they prepare for “something” and meet their untimely demise (all in the the trailers, dear reader!). Through will and testament, their estate is left to their estranged daughter Callie (Carrie Coon), and her kids Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace).
Settling into the slow motion pace of rural living, the heritage of Egon begins to unravel upon our new Spenglers. Phoebe’s genius starts to piece together the revelation of Egon’s last moments, as the dearly departed and departed events of earlier years start to rear their heads again.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is FUN.
While it joins the rapidly growing group of returning properties, it does so fantastically. This really feels like a direct sequel to the Ghostbusters of the 80’s. And interestingly enough, you could skip either of those and this film would still make sense in the context of the overall narrative. The cast are endearing, providing a youthful spin on our boisterous ‘Busters of old. This hands over to an almost Goonies-like experience, as our young heroine in Phoebe, takes on the paranormal with the sort of gusto and inquisition fitting of her grandfather. Grace carries the role well, clearly positioned to lead everyone along the story. A stunning feat amongst the likes of Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard and Paul Rudd.
Director Jason Reitman uses his time spent growing up on the sets of the originals, to bottle that nostalgia wonderfully. The sparse terrain of the rural setting emphasising the wonder of discovery we take part in. There’s one particular scene where the Proton Packs come into play which is just stunning, as our young heroes discover the sheer power the Protons pack.
It isn’t without fault though.
Some slight slog which pops up in the middle, is thankfully redeemed by the entertaining end. And while it’s questionable on how an actors legacy is portrayed, I think Afterlife does it well. It really felt like a film honoring what Ramis had built with Dan Akroyd, and who he was as Egon.
A fitting conclusion for the Originals.
Should the Ghostbusters franchise be left to rest, Afterlife is a great farewell. Giving our original 'Busters their happy ending, and letting some new blood have some fun was a refreshing dip into nostalgia not needed, but appreciated.
Clearly taking influence from how the original 2 films were told, we see the lore renewed and faint hints at opportunity for more should it come back to life.
And there's definitely a fantastic post-credits scene worth sticking around for!