Ghostbusters: Afterlife- A Loving Tribute, A Fun Ride, and An Absolute Tear-Jerker For Original Fans
CAUTION: THIS ARTICLE GIVES A BROAD OVERVIEW OF THE FILM, HOWEVER IT DOES NOT CONTAIN, IN MY OPINION, ANY SPECIFIC SPOILERS. I DETEST SPOILERS AND WILL TRY TO KEEP THIS A VAGUE AS POSSIBLE WHILE GIVING AN IDEA OF HOW IT IS AS A WHOLE.
You want the short review? Here: THEY GOT IT RIGHT.
You want the long review? Read below-
I'll come clean here- I was worried at first. Very, very worried. Why? Well, it has nothing to do with the 2016 film, so if you think I'm going to jump on that tired horse of blaming an all-woman cast for "ruining my childhood"- no. That's not gonna happen. I didn't hate that flick. Yeah, get out your torches I don't care, I thought it was fun for what it was and I understood it didn't take place in a universe where the events of the 1984 films happened. I was worried because as long as I can remember and as long as the Internet has been *a thing* for me in regular life(late-1990s), there's been rumors swirling about a third installment to the Ghostbusters franchise and everything from Ben Stiller playing "the new guy" to somehow having every Ghostbuster's kid come along at the same time and form a new team when the OGs decide to retire. Internet message boards and fansites at the turn of the millennium were a VERY weird place. Yes, I know... "tHe ViDeO gAmE wAs tHe CLoSeSt tHiNg tO a 3rD mOviE wE'LL geT."...please just shut up. Yes, it was good but watching 3hrs of video game cut scenes from 2009(terrifying facial animation) is not going to cut it for me and I'll die on this hill. I was worried because as someone who was born in 1983, my entire life has had a presence of this franchise. For me it started with the cartoons, but then parlayed into GB2 at the theater with my grandmother which made me go back and watch the original...
I was SIX and I didn't understand the jokes but everything from saying "Gah-ahhh" and flicking my wrist when I got something sticky on my fingers to hurling the phrase "Bustin' Makes Me Feel Good" into a conversation like a corny grenade...the IP has been engrained in my life.
I am a diehard Ghostbuster fanatic, and those like me are very protective of the franchise, so since the first teaser for Ghostbusters: Afterlife was released what feels like a decade ago, I've been cautiously optimistic in the continuation.
OK, RANT OVER: THE REVIEW>>>>>
Here I am, less than 12hrs out from seeing GB:A and I couldn't sleep last night. I went with my fiance and about 10 other friends. Friends I knew would "get it" and care about the movie. I sat directly next to people who would be there with me in the moment, looking for easter eggs and hunting for clues. I will say this- the movie starts out as a slow burn but for good reason. I feel like if we were just thrown right back into things it would come off as cheap or too-much. They handled this right by letting it build over a nice, long first act to establish where we were, when and why.
The movie is VERY funny when it needs to be along the way. We're introduced to new characters at the same time as hearing familiar score notes and COPIOUS subtle nods to the originals. The events of 1984 are referred to as the "Manhattan Crossrip" which I don't consider a spoiler, because it's ever-so-briefly said once or twice. I thought this name was awesome when I heard it almost 2yrs ago so I created a shirt for our Etsy Shop with the name. It doesn't really sell, lol. Ok sorry. Back to it.
Yes, I want my fan service and I love knowing they did a bunch of things on purpose to get 40ish aged fans like me to point and holler. Paul Rudd, as usual really helps the film along comedically as we are establishing the true depth of what's happening in this film. I say "depth" because everything starts coming into focus as to the "why" of everything.
To me, the true standout of the entire film is McKenna Grace who plays the daughter of our favorite spore, mold and fungus collector- one Egon Spengler. She is so incredibly Spengler-ish, I don't understand how a child of that age was able to slip into an awkward scientist suit SO well.
There was a certain point where everyone in the theater knew *something* was happening, but I don't think any of us believed it at the moment. Happy, sad, nostalgic tears that I think many of us really wanted to shed since we lost Harold Ramis in 2014 and knew that a "true sequel" to the originals would be nearly impossible to properly pull off- but they did. This was the biggest worry about the movies continuing without Ramis for me. THEN...the waterworks started for all of us. I truly don't see how a better job could have been done with having Jason Reitman direct, who is the son of the original director Ivan Reitman.
Go see it, bring your family and introduce your kids to the franchise so we can keep this IP going until we are old and grey. Laugh, cry, jump and shout "OMG" at certain moments. ...and stay until the very, VERY end of the credits for a true *chefs kiss* moment of much-needed vindication for an original cast member.
Paul Brown is the founder of Kulture Popped and at one time thought Bill Murray was his long-lost father.