By Nick Delvescovo
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” released in theaters on Nov. 19th and was directed by Jason Reitman, who is the son of Ivan Reitman, the director and producer of the original two “Ghostbusters” films. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” stars Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon. The film follows the family of Egon Spangler, the former Ghostbuster played by Harold Ramis who unfortunately passed away in 2014. The Spangler family moves onto their grandfather’s old farm as they uncover the secret past of their seemingly normal small town in Oklahoma.
This movie was a lot of fun. I was expecting a lifeless film with small callbacks to the original films, but honestly, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” does a surprisingly good job of forwarding the story of the preceding 1980s classics. A lot of that, I’m sure, can be credited to the director being the son of the original director. This movie definitely feels like it is in the same universe as the original movie. There are callbacks that actually make sense, the visuals (while updated) match those of the originals, and the classic characters are incorporated into the story without making this a movie about them.
My absolute favorite part of this movie was the visual effects. Reitman went with the noteworthy decision of incorporating practical effects to match the style of the 1984 classic. The gatekeeper dogs, which are presented to us again, are actually mostly practical. I was worried that this movie would rely too much on CGI, and that it could possibly make it look bland. I was so pleased with the outcome of a lot of the effects and really hope that films in the future will learn from “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” I went to a screening before the official release so there was bound to be big “Ghostbusters” fans in the audience, but when those gargoyle dogs showed up on screen, I heard people audibly gasp. Don’t get me wrong, when used correctly, CGI is great. That being said, we’ve become so used to CGI that when we see a practical puppet or animatronic character, it feels so much more real, and it is an aspect of the film that I really admired.
Without giving anything away that wasn’t in the trailer, we do see the original “Ghostbusters” in this film. Their introduction was executed perfectly. At its core, this movie isn't about the original Ghostbusters and this movie knows that, but having them incorporated in the film in the way that they were was really great. I could tell that it was done with admiration of the original films and that is all I will say. The only aspect of the film that is drastically different from the original 1984 “Ghostbusters” is the humor. I don’t believe that the comedy in this film was bad by any means, but when compared to the original, it can be disappointing. Being able to capture the essence of comedy from the first movie is a task I believe is impossive. The chemistry of the original cast with Bill Murray’s dry humor made the movie the classic it is. That is the only aspect that is drastically different from its original predecessor. There were some jokes that fell flat, but at the end of the day, the movie was charming.
If you enjoyed the original “Ghostbusters” movie I don’t doubt you would enjoy “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” Making a comparable sequel is challenging itself. Making a good follow up almost 40 years later is even more difficult, and I feel like “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” does a solid job at doing so. Does it perfectly encapsulate the same feeling of the originals? No. What it does do is gives a refreshing look at a classic franchise.
Score: 3.5/5 Stars