Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
Dir: Jason Reitman
Writers: Gil Kenan; Jason Reitman; Dan Aykroyd (based on Ghostbusters written by)
Starring: Carrie Coon; Paul Rudd; Finn Wolfhard; McKenna Grace; Logan Kim.
This is not a reboot or a re-imagining, or a movie to keep the franchise going – if anything this film is a love letter to the original and of course, to Harold Ramis, the co-writer and co-star of it all.
Unlike the normal sequels or trilogies or whatever this is – this is not passing along the torch to the next batch of Ghostbusters, which they could have done easily. Ghostbusters Afterlife is, simply put, closure. It’s an ending to a 40 year run of good times and nostalgia, a fond farewell, if you will. Which is something studios hardly ever go for, but these guys had enough clout to make it happen, and it is bittersweet.
So first off, let me say bravo to Ivan, his son Jason and Danny and Bill, to getting on board with this, having the guts to just simply make an ending to the 1984 classic that still lives on to this day. This is a final period, the last chapter, and the final wave goodbye, and I enjoyed every second of it.
Okay so – the kids of Ghostbusters – I mean, the grandkids of Ghostbusters – great idea, right? Sure! I mean, the old guys are old guys now, right? They must have spawned some siblings of their own. I mean, they are old. Anyway –
So McKenna Grace plays Phoebe Spengler, Egon’s granddaughter and Finn plays Trevor Spengler, and they move into Egon’s old creepy house because they have no place else to go – and – let me backtrack a bit.
Egon is broke, he turned his back on his daughter and her two kids to go live on a dirt farm somewhere. Well, his daughter, Callie and her two kids, Phoebe and Trevor get evicted and have to go live there, now that Egon has died of heart attack.
So boom, the story is about everything they find while moving into Egon’s life and this small town he was in.
Let’s look at the writers of this nostalgic piece before we go on. Gil Kenan has not done much, he directed the reboot of Poltergeist in 2015. ( I know, I didn’t know there was one either) He directed Monster House and City of Ember, which is interesting, it means Bill Murray and Gil worked with each other way back 2008, like 14 years ago. Gil has said in an interview that he has been friends with Bill since then and that because of Bill’s love for the Reitman family, and their friendship, he’d be willing to work with them or at least see the script, which is nice.
So Gil and Jason Reitman are great friends and kind of started this whole thing by bouncing the idea around to each other, before it became a full time, green-lit thing.
Jason Reitman, as you know, has a legendary father, Ivan Reitman, but has also directed hits like Juno, Up In The Air and Tully. So he definitely had an inside track on this, and the studio pretty much left him and Gil alone to write what they wanted, since Ivan was there for guidance, and they had the ear of Bill Murray.
So yea – the movie. Hey I think this turned out great. The quirky one liners work beautifully, the movie moves at a great pace, portrays adolescence very well, and of course, brings back the 3 big guns. Yes, they are a bit older, but they did a great job.
I don’t want to give everything away – let me just say, McKenna completely owns this movie – which is great because she’s a kid, and is very much like her grandfather. So it works and it makes sense and it’s fun. McKenna (Phoebe) takes science very seriously, and soon builds a relationship with her school teacher played by Paul Rudd. Paul plays the Rick Moranis part in this film, but more normal, I guess. Carrie Coon plays Callie, the daughter of Egon, and she plays the Sigourney Weaver role in this movie. Now Sigourney and Bill Murray have a cute scene post-end credits, so stick around for that. Sigourney has not aged a day, by the way. She looks amazing. Bill on the other hand –
Annie Potts makes a too quick but cute appearance. She still has the accent and she till remarkable. She shows the house around to the family and states that Egon had no money. Which is nice because we always hoped those two would stay in touch with each other.
Yes, they are geeky kids who love science, and podcasting, and are complete nerds about it, and it’s so fun to watch because that kind of thing is just not seen these days.
Finn plays Trevor, and of course he gets a crush on a local girl, and thank God that cliche gets pushed to the back of the stove, because there are so many more interesting things to cover in this movie, you don’t need that old tale getting in the way.
I think Jason and Gil focused on the right things, had their hearts in the right places, and I’m glad the surviving 3 put their time and energy in this one, because stories and chances do not get any better than this.
Gozer is back, (Olivia Wilde) as are the Gate Keeper and the Key master, (Paul Rudd and Callie Coon) and it’s a great time with some laughs and plenty of nostalgia thrown in.
I know Ivan Reitman was proud of this film, I’m sure the legendary Harold Ramis would have approved this as well. Well done by the next generation who proved they can capture some laughs, some silliness and a whole lot of heart, just like their mentors did.