Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) ★★★☆☆

Who you gonna call? Not Ray Stantz.

Directed by Jason Reitman, Ghostbusters: Afterlife centrals on a historical approach to the franchise, introducing a whole new generation, and walks of life. Quite literally. While Paul Feig’s 2016 remake proved divisive, its comedic approach and direction certainly proved more solid and exciting. Afterlife had a tough time matching its predecessor and didn’t make for a solid elevation, but quite an average one. It didn’t feel like any of the previous three films, but it works.

The film’s standout performance was delivered by the wonderful Mckenna Grace, who carried the whole film on her tiny little shoulders and proved she ain’t afraid of no ghost. This actor is going far, and she’s only getting started. Finn Wolfhard’s character, Trevor, echoed the typical teenage ‘prototype’ – nothing spectacular or new brought to the table. Definitely through fault of the script, as the actor tried his best to create something energetic. Bill Murray and co. made a predictable return, though Murray’s face gave a strong taste of “I got paid to be here” rather than enthusiasm for the project. And it showed.

The most peculiar aspect lied in Harold Ramis’ cameo, which doesn’t have the impact it thinks it does. Perhaps a subjective approach, but bringing back a deceased actor wasn’t the best and most tasteful decision. While his loss defines the film, the theme could have been executed in a more natural, subtle way than an unsettlingly CGI’d Egon Spengler. This raises the broader ethical question of bringing dead actors to life for the sake of cinema.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife puts the pop into popcorn movie; it’s fun, nostalgic and loosely builds on the franchise. Frights wasn’t its speciality, neither were laughs…though, storytelling and ounces of energy from the cast, along with clever homage made this. It’s generally entertaining but devoid of any new, genius creative expression. It wasn’t impressive, but it wasn’t dreadful either. But, you will have fun.

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