FILM: Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021, Jason Reitman)

Lightning cracks from dark green clouds. People get out of a battered 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Sentinel below and look on.

Supernatural science-fiction/comedy film Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the third film in the original film’s timeline/franchise (which does not include the all-female remake). When Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis via archive footage) dies, he leaves farmland in Oklahoma to his long-estranged family, and they move there due to their financial problems and recent eviction. Whilst his daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) resents being there, his science-obsessed granddaughter Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) discovers all of his equipment from when he was working as a Ghostbuster during the 1980s. As she investigates alongside her brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and friend Podcast (Logan Kim), she realises that Egon had reluctantly given up everything to move to Oklahoma in order to prevent ancient eldritch Gozer the Gozerian (Olivia Wilde) from returning. But with other ghosts about and Gozer being a powerful being, can they ensure that all of his hard work and sacrifice was for nothing?

PROS

  • Despite a slightly rushed and clunky opening, the screenplay makes for a fun and entertaining film as it is suitably fast-paced from there with a good balance between comedy and mystery, and witty gags and clever slapstick concepts, whilst also keeping the focus primarily on the characters.
  • Jason Reitman shows his versatility by directing with a different type of energy to his usual lower-budget projects, whilst his passion comes through in the heart of this film and the genuinely heartfelt tribute to Harold Ramis which he crafted beautifully in the final minutes of the film.
  • An altogether good cast, with Paul Rudd being his usual dependable self where comedy is concerned, but the real star being Mckenna Grace who once again proves to be a natural talent as she brings lots of nuance to Phoebe and makes her a multi-layered character.
  • Very creative designs for the supernatural and non-human beings with good detail levels, whilst the visual effects are very eye-catching and stand out well as they bring real chilling life to these beings (the only ones not chilling or sinister being the countless tiny Stay Puft Marshmallow Men).

CONS

  • The explanations for when Egon sacrificed everything and moved to Oklahoma in relation to his work in New York with the Ghostbusters and when he left Callie is replete with plot holes and inconsistencies.
  • Whilst high energy, the climax does get quite convoluted as Jason Reitman has a plethora of different concepts that he brings to the table. Although they are good, he does not allow enough time for the climax, so all of them are wrapped up in a very rushed manner.
  • Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver have cameos which simply feel shoehorned in for the sake of it, whilst Olivia Wilde and J.K. Simmons are poorly utilised.

VERDICT: 7/10

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