Ghostbusters: Afterlife – in theaters on Friday – is a film rooted in the past and made in the image of its contemporaries. There’s a huge Stranger Things ghost hanging out on Ghostbusters: Afterlife. After all, the Netflix series is the current pop culture gold standard for kids fighting evil supernatural beings. Ghostbusters: Afterlife not only eschews the adult-teaming-up formula that the Ghostbusters film series has used so far, director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) casts a Stranger Things actor in Finn Wolfhard’s Ghostbusters driven by his own children. also selected for Like the Netflix series, the new Ghostbusters movie takes place in the fictional small town of America. Somerville, Oklahoma acquired Hawkins, Indiana. The story is set in the present day, but Reitman uses a gimmick to take away all modern technology.
Reitman — who also writers with Gil Cannon (Monster House) — seems to have designed Ghostbusters: Afterlife after watching Stranger Things by all accounts. This is a great tribute paid at one point Stranger Things Season 2 — which was established in 1984, the first year Ghost Busters Movie hits theaters – The Duffer Brothers dress up as the Hawkins crew in Ghostbusters. But Stranger Things isn’t the only major sci-fi property inspired by Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
If you’re after more than 30 years trying to make a safe and calculated soft reboot sequel to a mighty beloved Hollywood original, the clear blueprint is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Like JJ Abrams did in a galaxy far, far away, Reitman hit a lot of the beats of the original film — except with new characters in new settings. Like Abrams, Reitman spills Ghostbusters equipment, which viewers have a nostalgic attachment to with Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The Actomobile car is the Millennium Falcon, the Proton packs out-of-this-world lightsabers. The original Horde is also back, although unlike Star Wars, they are not legends here but largely forgotten. The return of a primary villain – played by a new actress – in a dysfunctional capacity, like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,
Ghostbusters: Afterlife isn’t quite as dull as The Force Awakens in its original film, but it’s not nearly as enjoyable either. For what it’s worth, Reitman tries to create a new voice for the Ghostbusters series—leaving New York City and dry Bill Murray-style wit for a family-friendly adventure. Steven Spielberg used to make (that Abrams Copied well with your Super 8). He outfits the Ecto-1 with a swing-out gunner seat and a floor hatch that releases a remote-controlled ghost trap. That’s cool, though I found it hilarious how the RC Trap kept up with the Ecto-1’s pace.
But Reitman uses these elements to do what the original Ghost Busters did; There’s a slimmer action sequence, though it’s bluer now and it’s called Muncher (voiced by Josh Gad, of frozen Olaf). And instead of one giant Stay Puft marshmallow man terrorizing New York residents, we find a bunch of little guys in an empty Walmart delighting each other by melting, roasting, blending, skewers, and sandwiches. Disturbingly, Ghostbusters: Afterlife doubles down on the nostalgia toward the ending—undoing the good work that Reitman alludes to for most of his film.
Set three decades after the events of the first film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows a family of three: single mother Kelly Spengler (Carrie Coon, from the leftovers) and her two children, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace, from The Gifted). Yes, she is the daughter, grandson and granddaughter of the late Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), who died onscreen after the actor passed away in 2014. But Aegon is not remembered by anyone – Callie hates him because he left his New York family and moved to Somerville and is never seen again, and everyone in Somerville only knows him as “Dirt Farmer”. It was because the man tilled his land but never grew anything. But after Aegon passes away, strapped-for-cash spanglers arrive in Somerville hoping to sell the house.
Following the family of one of the original Ghostbusters is an obvious way to reconnect yourself to the original film. Ghostbusters fans will know that’s happening behind the scenes too — Jason is actually the son of Ghostbusters director Evan Reitman, the creator of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. This is far from a case of nepotism; Led by George Clooney and Vera Farmiga up in the air is an award winning film, as is juno With Elliot Page and Michael Cera. And truth be told, Jason is better at character development than his father in the original Ghostbusters.
Phoebe is a really great character. He is smart, inquisitive and undisturbed – a born scientist unlike his mother, who has no interest in science, possibly because it stole his father. But Phoebe also struggles to make friends. It probably doesn’t help that his (stupid) jokes aren’t for everyone. She doesn’t process emotions like others, she admits (Is Phoebe autistic? Ghostbusters: Afterlife Doesn’t say outright, which I like). Nor does she respond to stimuli – as she says, excessive exposure to something euphoric or terrifying calms her down. This makes him a fearless and distinctly self-confident character, always eager to explore. She may be billed third because of Coon and Wolfhard’s wattage, but Grace is the real lead here — her Phoebe is the heart and soul of the film.
After the Spanglers arrive in Somerville, Ghostbusters: Afterlife drops them into their new lives. Phoebe reluctantly attends a summer “public” school where seismologist Gary Groberson (Paul Rudd, from antmanInstead of teaching them, he plays movies for them. There, she makes a new friend in the podcast (newcomer Logan Kim) who calls herself because she has — you guessed it — a podcast. Meanwhile, in an effort to woo a girl, Trevor starts working at a diner, only to realize the backbreaking work he’s involved in. They soon learn that Somerville is not only a sad place, but it is also a curious one. Earthquakes are occurring almost daily, even though Somerville is nowhere near a fault line. Phoebe and Podcast begin to investigate with the help of Groberson.
There are some scenes that impress kids, especially as they try to figure out the old Ghostbusters technology. But Reitman is unable to separate them from each other in a way that would create momentum for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The podcast is initially a delight — but it becomes a narrative tool for the new Ghostbusters movie, which is similar to Harish Patel’s Karun in the Marvel movie Eternal – As the podcast provides live commentary on their adventures. He is breaking the fourth wall, making a film on his life. Wolfhard is doomed, as he still exists, so he can be the new Ecto-1 driver for the gang later. There’s also a slight leap of logic from kids knowing nothing about Ghostbusters to getting a grip on all matters too soon – I’d wager there’s a version of Ghostbusters: Afterlife Out that connects the dots more systematically. .
Annoyingly, the adult characters of Ghostbusters: Afterlife are given an even more nuanced look. Callie’s father issues may be immediately concerning, but that’s only because Coon is a brilliant actress. Sadly, she just hasn’t been given much time – it’s a thankless role for someone who can bring so much to any performance. The same is true for Rudd, who is always great at comic stuff, but is doing very little here. Not only does Ghostbusters: Afterlife have West Coon and Rudd, it also has plenty of useless roles for JK Simmons and Olivia Wilde — it would be a spoiler to say who they’re playing.
And we haven’t even talked about the cash-on nostalgic returns of the old gang, which includes Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson. Even though everyone knows about it, Sony Is trying its best to hide them everywhere in marketing. Sadly, he has very little to do in the film. In fact, the older Ghostbusters crew probably has more lines and timing in two post-credits scenes, one of which does its best to tease the future of the struggling Ghostbusters franchise.
It is around his arrival that Ghostbusters: Afterlife loses itself. Not only does Reitman work hard on nostalgia, but the director also opts for an inorganic, sentimental and sacred ending. It makes little sense how or why they find their way to Somerville. The climax provides short, gripping shots and dialogue from the original Ghostbusters film and the beginning of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. And it does its best to draw tears out of fans — it’s unearned and misguided in its desire to put a clean bow on the whole thing. What makes it even more troubling is that Reitman spends much of the film trying to forge a new language for Ghostbusters, only to leave them all for a safe approach in the third act that screams , “This version tested the best with most viewers.”
Reitman also fails to update Ghostbusters for today. Ghostbusters is one of many Hollywood Fantasy/supernatural properties that have turned to Eastern cultures – here it is the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, Sumer – to create their own “alien” mythology. Not enough people cared about it in the 80s, but it borders on unforgivable in 2021. The main villain Gozar, named after a Sumerian goddess, is played by a white woman on Ghostbusters: Afterlife. And Gozar’s sole purpose is to bring about the apocalypse—there’s no big point in all of this. This is purely cultural appropriation, for the sole purpose of promoting a Hollywood film franchise. It sounds icky.
For a series that has produced a feel-good movie (the original is dated in some ways) and a bunch of cash-grabbing sequels/spin-offs that are best forgotten, Ghostbusters’ take on pop culture has a big impact. Ghostbusters: Afterlife isn’t even the first attempt at resurrecting Ghostbusters — we had all female reboot He failed spectacularly in 2016, which Reitman chooses to ignore completely as if it never happened. There is no reference to this. And that’s why it really exists — to clear the slate and make room for more sequels. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is an obvious attempt to revive the franchise for younger audiences, to fit Hollywood’s target audience and its entire four-quadrant blockbuster philosophy. It’s about giving Sony Pictures a new revenue stream.
I wish Sony was as opportunistic as other Hollywood studios. Watching Ghostbusters: Afterlife, I can’t help but think that maybe Reitman should have embraced his dual inspirations altogether: strange things And star wars, I’m talking about turning Ghostbusters into a TV series. Stranger Things is good because it has time to introduce its characters, Ghostbusters: Afterlife could have used it. Star Wars has had a lot of success in the TV pivot (with.) Mandalorian) while its films have collapsed. But given that Sony lacks its own streaming service in the US, I guess the idea never crossed their mind.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife releases in India and elsewhere on Friday, November 19.