Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) Review
THERE is a fine line between pandering for the purpose of delivering a love-letter and nostalgia for the sake of it; Ghostbuster: Afterlife straddles this line so finely that it's unclear to differentiate director Jason Reitman's passion from his final project.
30 years following the events of Ghostbusters II, single mum Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), move to a small town after inheriting her father's farm house. Naturally, things take a turn for the worst after Phoebe discovers her family's connection to the original Ghostbusters, unleashing a catastrophic evil upon the small town, but with the help of her new teacher, Mr Grooberson (Paul Rudd), they must put an end to the newly-discovered ghosts terrorising the town.
While I'm not the biggest fan of the Ghostbusters in general, it is refreshing to see the franchise return to its roots by creating a sequel which directly follows the first two instalments as appose to the failed 2016 reboot. Confusion around whether this was a reboot undoubtedly hurt ticket sales, but the final product was somewhat worth the price of admission.
I've always been a big fan of Jason Reitman as a director; his attention to detail and clear vision of what kind of film he wants has always shown in movies such as Juno and Thank You For Smoking, and despite Afterlife not being on the same level as those previously mentioned in terms of overall quality, I can't say that I didn't have a fun time with Reitman's latest project. Many of the shots were well-executed, setting a clear and beautiful landscape for the type of story he wanted to tell. These shots also played a significant role in servicing the overall story; able to tell a coherent and engrossing story through cinematography is always a wonderous thing to witness - especially in a high-budget blockbuster that, realistically, didn't need to.
In a surprising twist, alot of the focus was given to the younger actors, particularly Mckenna Grace's Phoebe, who delivered a fantastic performance as a Ghostbuster in training. Her character never felt overbearing, always feeling genuine and rarely fake; script assistance from Dan Aykroyd without question aided these surprisingly-great performances. However, the same cannot be said for certain characters such as Logan Kim who was just too much to bear in the movie, and although his character was supposed to be highly-energetic, he was sprightly to the point of irritating. Paul Rudd did a decent job, bringing his usual comedy to the film, and for the small roles they played, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson were acceptable, primarily being carried by nostalgia.
There was alot to love about Ghostbusters: Afterlife, however, there was equally enough to dislike about the film. Nostalgia plagued the movie like a field full of ghosts, with non-stop references halting any kind of character development that could've been introduced. But for the character development we were treated to, it was really well handled, never feeling disingenuous or forced and was helped by the passionate performances delivered by Grace and Coon. If you're a fan of the original Ghostbusters films, there is no doubt in my mind that you will have a fun time with Afterlife, but if you're not the biggest fan of the spectre-hunting franchise, then I wouldn't go out of your way to catch this feature film anytime soon; still worth a watch though if you're looking for a fun time.