GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE – Review By Gadi Elkon

The fourth Ghostbusters film has Writer/Director Jason Reitman making a nostalgia filled homage to his father’s original film.  Is it worth going to the afterlife to reconnect with your GB memories?

From director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman comes the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe. In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, 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. The film is written by Gil Kenan & Jason Reitman.

The original film was mainly a movie made for kids to embrace the spooky, slimy and stay puff marshall man in our hearts.  Afterlife flips the story as its a movie about a group of kids that takes the mantle and battles the spooky slimy and mini stay puff marshall men.  The film rounds out its cast with the help of the original 3 living ghostbusters, 2 adults with animal instincts, a quirky podcasting kid, a love interest, and yes a heartbreaking apparition.

Setting wise the movie is a big departure from the big bright lights of NYC from the 3 other films.  Instead we are in rural Oklahoma in a small forgotten town that happens to have a large mountain that houses pure evil.  Reitman does a lovely job of basically recreating the formula of the first film but in small town Okie world.  We open with a dark setting with a single elder figure having to escape the evil ghostly figures chasing her.  Not necessarily an old librarian being spooked by an avid book loving ghost, but still same spooky dark opening sequence.  Now the importance of this film’s elder figure will play a much bigger role.  The film dives into big city kids being outsiders in little town area.  Young McKenna Grace is our lead figure Phoebe and her nerdy demeanor attracts the attention of fellow outcast Logan Kim’s “Podcast”.  This duo amazingly carries the entire film and their incredible witty characters deliver such fun filled moments throughout.  If Reitman captures anything spot on it’s the amazing sense-of-humor from the original film.  Finn Wolfhard plays older brother Trevor who’s curious cat character helps unearth the beloved Ecto 1 while he pines over Celeste O’Connor’s lovely Lucky character.  That duo is more our Annie Potts and Rick Moranis element, though Annie does have a nice cameo early on.  Then add in mom Callie played by Carrie Coon and goofy science teacher Mr. Gooberson played by Paul Rudd.  Both Coon and Rudd embrace their roles and seem to relish in the fun antics they encounter as the kids tear apart the town.  But the film really revolves around how much you will either adore or dislike the Phoebe/Podcast friendship.  I will find it hard for you not to love them, but that is the main tilt of the entire film.

Reitman spends the majority of the film quickly ramping up the evil big baddy (a familiar figure) coming back from the Afterlife.  The pacing of the film is much more TikTok style compared to the originals 1980’s strut.  Reitman’s usual cinematographer Eric Steelberg does an amazing job capturing the massive open space of the area, a feature not possible in the cramped streets of NYC in the original.  Steelberg adds a real nice full visual presentation that is fully maximized by Rob Simonsen’s musical touch.  Simonsen is the other major figure in the nostalgia elements of the film.  There is little doubt fans of the original film will be completely on board from the title sequences musical notes.  Simonsen’s touch throughout both connects and reinvents the series with throwback signatures and a subtle new melancholy approach for highlighting the intros of the throwback figures in the film.

The climatic ending of the film does full justice to the original’s epic ending.  Jason Reitman has created a lovely homage to his Dad’s beloved work and still given us a nice updated set of kid heroes to embrace.  This film will connect with most fans of the original and still be exciting and entertaining enough to keep the new audiences fully mesmerized.  Be prepared to see your Instas filled with parents and their children posts wearing stay puff marshmellow tee-shirts and talking about cats and dogs falling from the skies (sadly a scene not replicated!).  So yes it is worth visiting the afterlife.

GHOSTBUSTERS:  AFTERLIFE

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Written by: Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4 Stars

Running Time: 2 hrs 4 min

Adventure Comedy Fantasy

Exclusively In Theaters November 19

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

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

*Ivan Reitman, Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard and Jason Reitman.

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