It will be difficult to review Sony’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and keep it spoiler-free. A lot of the best beats are, as expected, direct nods to the original film that you definitely want to experience on your own terms. Especially if you are a die-hard ‘buster, who sure seem to be the target audience here.
Written and directed by Jason Riteman, son of original “Ghostbusters” director Ivan Riteman, “Afterlife” straddles that line of fan service and nostalgia pretty well, honestly. Instead of constantly pointing to something “LOOK, IT’S THAT THING FROM THAT MOVIE!,” the throwbacks do feel organic.
If you’ve seen the trailers, you know what’s going on. Egon’s (the late great Harold Ramis) estranged family heads to the middle of nowhere to close out his home following his death. They discover grandpa was a Ghostbuster, and spooky shenanigans transpire.
McKenna Grace (“Captain Marvel,” “I, Tonya“) is the true standout in “Afterlife.” She deftly handles playing Phoebe, granddaughter of Egon, who exhibits more than a little of his mannerisms and calm, cool, control. The character could’ve easily turned into an impression rather than a tribute, but in her young, capable hands, it’s perfect.
Look, you already know the surviving ‘busters appear. This is not a secret, and it’s been celebrated and touted for months (if not years at this point). Heck, even the glorious Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz is front and center in the trailers.
Once you see the film- because of course you’ll see it- you’ll understand why it’s so difficult to properly review it without spoilers. And, without being too harsh. Not to say the film is bad! But there were moments the script fell short, some plot points and holes that are glossed over. One line in particular uttered by 2021’s Sexiest Man Alive Paul Rudd‘s character is so inappropriate, it’s completely baffling how it made the cut.
Yes, there are terror dogs. Yes, there are Stay Puft marshmallow men (called Mini-Pufts). And yes, the proton packs and Ecto-1 get some time to shine. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” really does straddle that line of emotional tribute and modern blockbuster.
(Also, we feel we have to point out that Ernie Hudson is the elder of Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray. Good lord, he looks amazing during all the press stops the original trio are making.)
So, see “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” when it hits theaters on November 19th. It’s worth it.