Warning: Mild spoilers
Synopsis: The Ghostbusters franchise has returned with a slightly different spin than your standard remake. Releasing on November 19th, 2021, Ghostbusters: Afterlife accumulated approximately 44 million dollars in the North American box office alone after its first weekend in theaters. The numbers are impressive to say the least, since movie theaters are still struggling to fill seats with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as the lackluster 62% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife presents as a franchise re-boot, taking place many years after the 1984 original film. There is a fresh cast with several returning characters and nods toward what made Ghostbusters a household name even today.
Breakdown: Ghostbusters: Afterlife starts with a bang. A figure, whom you can only make out the silhouette, is driving furiously as an invisible, yet powerful, force gives chase. Once this figure arrived at a delapitated farm, he holds out a ghost trap. Of course, this attempt to lure this creature failed, and this person meets his demise.
We are then introduced to the main characters of the story: a single mother and her two children, awkward teen Trevor, and perhaps even more awkward–but brilliant–Phoebe. Her rounded glasses, dark hair, and mousy face looks eerily familiar to a previous ghostbuster…but that had to be a coincidence, right?
Phoebe learns her grandfather has passed away, and due to their financial strain, her mother packs up and brings the family to a rural town where they are left with a run down farm as inheritance…and it seems like they would be living there for at least the summer. While the mother, played by Carrie Coon, grumbles and fumes about her absent father, Phoebe and Trevor explore the house with curiosity. Trevor, played by Finn Wolfhard, discovers the Ecto-1 (OG Ghostbusters vehicle), and Phoebe, played by McKenna Grace, stumbles upon a PKE meter and a ghost trap. All the while, spooky things happen at the house (clearly haunted) paired with intentionally cheesy and eerie soundtrack.
The movie trots along at a steady pace as Trevor and Phoebe attempt to fit into this small town which has been experiencing bizarre “earthquakes”. The family learns little about the “dirt farmer”, which only solidifies the mother’s disdain about her father. Meanwhile, Paul Rudd is introduced as the smart yet lackadaisical teacher in Pheobe’s class. He is immediately intrigued by the ghost trap, but unfortunately, they end up releasing an abomination we later discover as one of the two monsters that were key to bringing Gozer back into the human world.
By then, Phoebe has learned that her father was none other than Egon Spengler, one of the original Ghostbusters. Chaos ensues, and now it is up to the kiddos along with their friends to stop Gozer from returning as well as save the adults in the process. The climax hits a satisfying tone as we are presenting with a similar car chase to lure Gozer back to the farm and trap them once and for all. The trap initially fails, and thankfully, reinforcements arrive. Without providing full spoilers: this is the scene where any Ghostbuster fan would rise up and cheer. The old collide with the new as they vanquish the death-thirsty god, and the movie concludes with a tear-jerking reunion…and a farewell.
Verdict: Rotten Tomatoes got it all wrong. Ghostbusters: Afterlife has proved to be one of few reboots that are worthy of purchasing a movie ticket. Addressing the obvious first–this film is chalk full of fan service. The easter eggs were a delight, from the presence of a Twinkie to the age old question of “Who you gunna call”? Even the visuals, which were stunning, kept the Gatekeeper and Keymaster in their 80’s getup–which would otherwise be obnoxious if we didn’t know it was intentional. The movie was well paced, introduced some fun new characters and payed utmost homage to the original cast. Ghostbusters: Afterlife somehow maintained its own identity while blending in with the classic. That’s why I feel this movie championed the box office and is a great showing for fans and newbies alike. I highly recommend Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and based on the post-credits scene, I am also looking forward to a follow-up movie.
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