In the picture

January 23, 2022

It may be derivative and predictable but Ghostbusters: Afterlife is still a whole lot of nostalgic fun

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife ☆☆☆

Starring: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim, and Celeste O'Connor

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Tagline: Discover the past. Save the
future.

The Ghostbusters franchise passes the baton to the next generation in the very belated sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a touching, entertaining return of a beloved series, which pays heartfelt tribute to the original while bringing a new set of characters into the fold.

Helmed by Jason Reitman – the son of Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two Ghostbusters adventures – the supernatural comedy retains the charm of the films which spawned it while making generous use of references and throwbacks.

The story revolves around a family that moves to a small town and discovers their connection to the Ghostbusters legacy.

Financially struggling single mother Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children – teen Trevor (Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard) and smart tween Phoebe (a show stealing Mckenna Grace) – relocate to a farmhouse Callie inherited from her recently-deceased, long-estranged father. But spooky things soon start to happen, and when the kids start stumbling across old Ghostbusters gizmos, they find out what was plainly obvious to viewers from the get-go: Phoebe and Trevor are the grandchildren of the late great Egon Spengler.

As an old threat starts to re-emerge with the promise of some more supernatural chaos, it is up to the youngsters – with a little help from their mom, Phoebe’s science teacher Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), and friends Podcast (Logan Kim) and Lucky (Celeste O’Connor) – to save the day.

Things unfold with the requisite verve and heaps of nostalgia. At times it all feels a little too familiar, but perhaps that’s the whole point. Yes, you know exactly where the story will go but you don’t mind because you’re looking forward to it.

Reitman does a solid job reviving his father’s hit series some three decades later and has assembled a likable cast to help him along the way. Leading the charge as the fearless science genius Phoebe is young Mckenna Grace, who is as terrific here as she is in everything she does and deserving of all the recognition that will surely come her way.

All in all, Afterlife serves as a touching send-off to the old team and a warm welcome to a new one. Its plethora of Easter eggs and call-backs make for some good old-fashioned cheesy fun, while its homage to late cast member Harold Ramis is designed to hit you right in the feels. Those who aren’t familiar with the 1980s series may not find it particularly rewarding, but if the original films meant something to you, then you’ll probably have a smile on your face throughout the film and will be left teary-eyed by the end.

Rating: 3 out of 5



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