Let’s cut to the chase: Ghostbusters Afterlife is awesome.
This is truly the first real Ghostbusters movie since 1989’s Ghostbusters 2. Let’s be honest, the 2016 reboot was a soulless, woke shell of a movie that captured so little of the essence of the original movies it may as well have been a parody.
The latest instalment is heavy on nostalgia but in the best way. The story centres on the family of the Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis, who died in 2014), who have come to his rural farm to sign off on his estate following his death. His daughter and two grandchildren begin to uncover what their deceased relative was up to with the help of seismologist Paul Rudd.
Cleverly, Egon is not celebrated early in the film. His family believes he abandoned them and the locals think he was a kook. He had even fallen out with the original Ghostbusters crew. This unexpected character arc brings even more heart to the later part of the film.
My only point of criticism of Afterlife is that the second half of the story parallels the original 1984 film very closely. While this provides opportunity for many nostalgic quips, a slightly more unique narrative might have been nice. As it stands, the final act borders on being a reboot.
That aside, Afterlife is an absolute treat. The soundtrack and effects both visual and audio make this undeniably a Ghostbusters movie. All the right gizmos and gadgets are there and most serve the story rather than just being window dressing. The Easter eggs for fans of the franchise are there in abundance, sometimes hidden in the background and other times right in your face. It’s a tribute piece and a genuine article all rolled into one.
Take for example the mini Stay Puft marshmallow men who come to life in Walmart. They’re cute, mischievous and curiously suicidal, which makes for some hilarious moments.
Like the original, the script is fast-paced and loaded with great one-liners. The new characters are welcome additions and the decision to use the Spengler family as protagonists is both a sweet gesture and a smart writing choice.
The finale is a beautiful tribute to Ramis, but I’ll say no more than that because to do so would ruin the experience for first-time viewers.
There are now three real Ghostbusters movies and Afterlife might even be the second best of them all. The original still holds the crown, but this new movie more than holds its own.
Funny, exciting and deeply heartwarming, Afterlife is more than good enough to make you forget the 2016 reboot ever happened, and for this we should be thankful.
A slightly more unique story in the back end would have been nice, but that’s not really what this movie is about. It’s a trip down memory lane, a wonderful tribute to Harold Ramis and an action-packed comedy all in one. Ghostbusters Afterlife delivers on all fronts.
Most importantly of all, it feels like a genuine Ghostbusters movie. Not a poor imitation, parody or cash-grab. It’s the real deal, it’s got the soul and the essence of what made the original great, and that matters.