Courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing
Relaunching a franchise, especially one that is treasured by so many, is not an easy task. When a relaunch of Ghostbusters was first done in 2016, it was met with a lot of [unnecessary] hate. When it was announced in 2019 that another relaunch was in the works to be directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, most fans seemed content with having the film in his hands. Now, with the arrival of the film next month, fans are wondering if GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE will live up to the hype and further carry on the franchise.

For a revitalization of a classic horror/comedy franchise, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE does a great job of combining heavy nostalgia with a new storyline that harkens back to the original film and will help usher in a new fanbase. The film starts off by introducing us to Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two kids as they are being evicted from their home and forced to move to Summerville, Oklahoma. When they arrive, they find a dilapidated farmhouse and a large land of dirt. As Phoebe and Trevor begin to learn more about their new town, they start to uncover secrets of who their grandfather was and the horror that he tried to keep at bay.

When it comes to the acting, the cast was rather strong. Mckenna Grace as Phoebe, Egon Spengler‘s granddaughter, was perfect for her role. Not only did she resemble the genius ghostbuster but she also embodied his persona to a T. She navigates the world with a scientific mind, something that her mom can’t really grasp. She’s initially an outsider of her family but finds a friendship with Podcast (Logan Kim) while attending summer school (for fun). As for Logan Kim, be prepared for him to be the breakout star of the film. Conspiracy theorist and lover of the supernatural, Podcast has a… well, podcast, and he makes sure to never let you forget that.

Rounding out the rest of the cast is Finn Wolfhard as Trevor, Phoebe’s older brother. He’s a typical male teenager trying to acclimate himself to this new unexciting town until he strikes up a friendship and a hopeful chance at romance with the confident, badass Lucky, played by Celeste O’Connor. Warming the hearts of many is the age-less Paul Rudd who takes on the role of the science teacher, Mr. Grooberson, who strikes up a nerdy friendship with Phoebe and Podcast, especially when explaining to them who the Ghostbusters were; as well as a little romantic fling with Callie. Speaking of which, Carrie Coon gives a rather realistic yet funny performance as a single mom who is struggling to understand her kids and confront the pain of her relationship with her now-deceased father.

Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures

For fans of the original film, they will quickly pick up the parallels between that and GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE. What’s great about that is it honors the original films but still provides a fresh new way to tell the story to an unfamiliar audience. One of my favorite ways in which they did this was through the creation of one of the new ghosts, Muncher. Just like with Slimer, he has a gelatinous figure and loves eating… except Muncher loves eating metal. To those of us who grew up on the Ghostbusters movies, it’s a nice nod to one of the most famous ghosts in the franchise. Furthermore, can a Ghostbuster movie be a Ghostbuster movie without the addition of the Stay Puft Marshmallow? Though nowhere close to the size of the OG, the marshmallows may make a much smaller appearance but believe me, they are no less threatening.

Director Jason Reitman has picked up the torch and brought this franchise back to life. That being said it’s not all smooth sailing. The first two-thirds of the film are incredibly strong as they set the premise of the movie and introduce us to the characters and ghosts. However, the third act loses its stride and feels very rushed, which is unfortunate because there are some amazing moments leading up to some of the big reveals, and it just doesn’t land as well as it could have. That being said, I did love how Reitman and co-writer Gil Kenan wrote the younger cast of characters and how their stories intertwine for the climax of the film.

Nevertheless, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE is a refreshing relaunch of a beloved franchise and one that pays ample amounts of respect to the original. Though it stumbles in the third act, it makes up for that with a lot of heart and a slew of fun, new ghouls. It’s never going to be the original and I think holding it up to that standard is unfair. Go into this with an open mind. Because, at the end of the day, who else are you gonna call when there’s something strange in your neighborhood?

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE arrives exclusively in theaters on November 19th. A word of advice, make sure to stay for the mid-credit scene and post-credit scene. You do NOT want to miss those.

Shannon McGrew
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