Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

2021 PG-13 124 Minutes

Comedy | Fantasy

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.

Overall Rating

5 / 10
Verdict: So-So

User Review

  • d_riptide


    6 / 10
    I’ve always wanted to say this for a long time but now that “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is out and it’s way more complicated than I wanted it to be, I…sort of….feel comfortable saying ‘BUSTIN’ makes me feel good’? It’s intentions are well and it does nothing to tarnish what came before it but how it all wraps up…..I dunno.

    Regardless of what I say for the rest of this review, let it be known that Jason Reitman does a competent job in trying to follow in his fathers footsteps but paving his own path simultaneously. He harkens back towards the mystical aura of the original with a hushed, almost, majestic approach and as careful as a tortoise, Jason crafted a rather endearing set-up with a vastly different setting centered around vastly different themes and the latter of which he directed exceptionally, almost tapping back into that blend between horror and ‘comedy’.

    McKenna Grace is a delight, Finn Wolfhard does his best with an severely underwritten character and both Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon level out the rest of the casts’ annoyingly hollow depth of range with wholesome nurturing performances that feel more human than everyone else.

    Barely any chemistry is shared with one another with dialogue that has only memorable lines about a third of the time. Wouldn’t say it’s not funny however. It does have some well-placed gags and banter between the cast but the same childish but adult goofy, blue-collar buddy comedic elements that sparked the original is still absent; only a fraction of its edgy wit and chops are present here.

    Costumes don’t really stand out besides those special ones and all the characters may be underdeveloped despite their best efforts but the pacing is consistently steady throughout: not too slow and not too fast. Only the weird editing cuts let it down; the blending of CG and practical effects with animatronics is honestly just seamless, there’s enough worldbuilding in tow despite the limited production design and the themes of how to allow the past to properly guide your future and how to properly forgive and move on, while nothing new, is executed well for the payoff it delivers later.

    Problem mostly comes down to repetition. When it’s not being Stranger Things, it’s hitting the reset button on every beat of the first Ghostbusters movie AGAIN. Sure, they avoided another outrage by actually continuing the original story and yes, the nostalgia does serve a purpose as its ending pays the due respects the late Harold Ramis deserves without resorting to the CGI Leia treatment but by the midway point, the story runs out of road and is left strictly on life support because it has no idea what else to do with itself.

    Not much depth is visible in this story, achieving the bare minimum to bridge the gap between the first two movies and not much of what’s even there makes much sense, from a structural standpoint. I can accept that the entire Ghostbusters franchise was never gradually famous for high stakes and deep storytelling but the film barely succeeds at the latter for such a long time that the lack of cohesion between the past and future is the only legitimately jarring thing to come out of this experience.

    What became nice little nods and Easter eggs in the beginning evolve into characters, names, symbols, all manners of iconography from the original film become too dense too quickly and it barely scraps the surface of becoming pandering.

    While not redundant to the core, it mucks up the pacing and makes the last stretch of the movie exhausting. It’s also a massive disconnect in the audience’s emotional investment. You get distracted by all of the references, you forget about the family’s emotional trauma and is made worse by the fact that the film just sort of……ends abruptly.

    No closure is given to any of them and while the post-credits scenes were nice, it’s frustrating how easily they were tossed to the side.

    In an attempt to pass the torch, that fire is hardly dampened but it’s barely gone aflame. It’s a nice palette cleanser to wipe the taste of the 2016 reboot out our mouths but beyond that, it’s perfectly serviceable…..and I’m fine with that. I can willingly accept this as the third film as part of that original duology but similar to Terminator, I don’t think Ghostbusters was ever really meant to be a franchise.