When you need to reboot you’re beloved franchise, who ya gonna call if not a Reitman? Jason Reitman is following in his father’s footsteps as he helms the latest instalment in the Ghostbusters franchise. Whilst he does take a lot from the original and sometimes strays across the line between paying homage to it and giving in to fan service one too many times, he perfectly captures the original’s spirit. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is full of fun, and you’ll leave the cinema with a big grin on your face, even if you’re not a fan of the franchise.
Single mother Callie, played by Carrie Coon along with her teen son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and 12-year-old daughter Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) haul themselves out to the sleepy town of Summerville after the death of Callie’s estranged father to tie up his affairs. But upon arriving in the town and discovering the secrets within his old farmhouse they discover that there is indeed something strange in the neighbourhood and their family are much more closely tied to the original Ghostbusters than they thought.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a joyous trip down memory lane as it delivers a sequel with a lot of the same energy as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It doesn’t completely reboot the series (after an unsuccessful attempt in 2016) but it serves as a sequel whilst also setting up its own new characters. Talking of new characters, Mckenna Grace is the absolute star of the show. To be able to not only hold your own on-screen next to established actors like Paul Rudd but to also outshine him is a big feat in and of itself, but to be able to do that at just 15 years old is even more impressive. Grace injects so much charm and charisma into her character and is by far the best character in the film.
As for returning characters, Afterlife handles them well and the nostalgia for the original 1984 film can be felt throughout the cinema, even if it’s not something you’ve ever felt nostalgic for. Reitman does tend to over-rely on callbacks to previous parts of the franchise and sometimes it can be unnecessary but, for the most part, it feels earnt and worthy. For instance, the adorable Mini Stay-Puft marshmallow men just seem like Sony’s answer to Baby Groot and Baby Yoda and bear no real significance to the film beyond selling toys. However, the film’s cameo appearances and recognisable lines of dialogue are sure to bring a smile to your face and Reitman keeps that grin there throughout the whole film.
Despite coming out in November, Ghostbusters: Afterlife feels like a summer blockbuster. It’s exactly the sort of crowd-pleasing adventure you’d expect from the season with a lot of fun, a bit of suspense and of course, some ghost busting too. Some of the dialogue is a bit cringe-inducing, in particular much of what’s said from a character nicknamed Podcast. The name alone should be sending out all sorts of red flags but he does occasionally drop the odd pearl.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is exactly the sort of classic family adventure movie that we need right now and is sure to put a smile on your face. It gets the blend of past and present just right as it dishes out the nostalgia but most importantly it’s a fun time that’s sure to entertain.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is out in cinemas now