Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
November 21, 2021 8:58 PM - Subscribe

When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.

The movie is, unlike the 2016 Ghostbusters movie (previously on the purple), a direct sequel to the original Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. Stars Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Bokeem Woodbine, J.K. Simmons, and most of the principal cast of the first two movies in small roles, minus Rick Moranis but not minus the late Harold Ramis, who appears courtesy of archival footage and digital manipulation. The plot concerns the legacy of Dr. Egon Spengler, who continued his work in rural Oklahoma near the abandoned mine of Ivo Shandor.

Currently at 62% on Rotten Tomatoes.
posted by Halloween Jack (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did this movie pander to my nostalgia? Yes.

Did I enjoy it? Yes! My 10 year old son also really enjoyed it.

This is one of those feel good movies that isn’t terribly deep, nor as good as the original, but it’s still fun and hits the right notes.

It’s not a critic pleaser, but we enjoyed it a lot.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:59 AM on November 22, 2021 [10 favorites]

I found it very interesting, both in relation to the first two movies and to Ghostbusters 2016, although it doesn't directly refer to that film in any way. The nostalgia element is strong and obvious; one thing that tipped me off to that before I even saw it were the Facebook posts from people who tend to strongly resist any sort of reboot or reworking of pop culture favorites that strays too much from canon. The nostalgia bits were fine, although I thought that the "Force ghost" part of the climax tended to drag a bit.

The really interesting thing for me, though, was how much of the film centered around Phoebe; I would have expected the focus to be on Trevor, since supernatural (or supernatural-adjacent) stuff is solidly in Finn Wolfhard's wheelhouse, between Stranger Things and the first IT movie, but instead it's on Mckenna Grace, who might be best known for playing the young Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel. (The other two Marvel stars in the movie are Paul Rudd, of course, and Carrie Coon, who played Proxima Midnight, the henchwoman of Thanos with the horns and the sci-fi spear. Arguably, J.K. Simmons falls into that group too, with the upcoming Spider-Man movie.) She's fun to watch, in a quiet and grave sort of way, whether she's piecing together her grandfather's research (and his proton pack) or acting as door gunner in the ECTO-1.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:27 AM on November 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

Just saw it with my kids. I wasn’t really expecting to like it, but I enjoyed it quite a bit! Nothing earthshaking, but competently done and satisfying. Hearing Venkman taunt Gozer again was a delight, and I really appreciated the mid-credits scene with Sigourney Weaver that reframed and critiqued the sexism of the original movie. All my kids (15, 12, 10) liked it, too.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:56 PM on November 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Went to this yesterday with the wife, kids, sisters-in-law, and parents. Everybody liked it. I thought it was just enough nostalgia without it just being a festival of "remember this?!" I'm glad most of the focus stayed on the kids because they were all great. There were a few odd bits that I thought were going somewhere but never paid off but overall it was a pretty tight story and true to the franchise.

The podcast jokes were some of my favorite bits, especially "You're my subscriber!"

The only thing I could have done with less of was the reunited ghost stuff at the end. I did like it but it dragged on quite a bit. On the other hand I was happy with the amount of screen time the original Ghostbusters (and Janine and Dana) had in the movie. It was really fun to see them back but the kids were great and I'm glad it was their movie.

Nothing earthshaking, but competently done and satisfying.

But the earth shaking was a major plot point!
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:08 AM on November 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

Saw this over the holiday weekend and absolutely loved it. Had a great time. If you wanted to, you could really pick it apart and all that but... I loved it and I'm super-glad that I saw it. The end kinda punched me in the feels a bit, but not in a bad way.

We had a family discussion about using a dead actor's likeness and whether that's OK, but I would imagine they had permission from the family and it was done in a really loving way, IMO.
posted by jzb at 11:59 AM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

I would imagine they had permission from the family and it was done in a really loving way

Reitman absolutely got permission from the family. He's known Ramis's daughter, Violet, since they were both kids. According to this piece:
... [Violet Ramis] Stiel admits the concept seemed “weird” to her when presented with the idea. But that feeling faded fast thanks to director Jason Reitman making sure she had a voice in the creative conversation.

“It was so generous of him to let me feel as though I was a part of the making of the movie, even though I wasn’t. I saw some drafts [of Egon] along the way,” Stiel says of the CGI representation. “It was so satisfying. They could have done him as this jolly Santa-type, but that wouldn’t have been true to the character.” The daughter adds, with a laugh, “He was in great shape, nice and trim. My dad would have loved that.”
posted by hanov3r at 2:00 PM on December 6, 2021 [4 favorites]

I watched The Matrix: Resurrections the day before seeing this. I feel like I’ve been to a theme park and ridden both these rides where you spot all the key things you loved about the originals with a new framing narrative that only slightly differs from what you remember.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:59 PM on December 29, 2021

This was … so very good! Hit all the right notes, one of the best reboots/nostalgia-fueled movies ever.
posted by rozcakj at 9:22 PM on January 5, 2022

I was about 13 when I saw the original and it of course hit nerdy 13-year-old me straight in the pleasure center of my brain.

Adult me appreciated the 2016 reboot - it had flaws, but it went in some fun directions (Kate McKinnon's Holzmann was pretty much worth all the flaws). But this film satisfied the inner 13-year-old nerd still lurking in me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:17 PM on January 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

It seemed halfway between a remake and a sequel. It hit so many of the same story beats and in a lot of other cases it rhymed rather than repeated. Whatever you want to classify it as, I thought it was very well done. There was a little bit in the first act that I thought it dragged a bit, but it's a tiny nitpick in an otherwise very solid film.

I liked that it was both new and yet still familiar even before old characters appeared. I would be quite happy if all belated sequels were as good as this one. I highly recommend it!
posted by wierdo at 4:34 PM on January 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

The first two thirds of this movie are surprisingly good. The acting is good, the writing is good, the camera work good. It's promising! And it seems to know the secret formula of having the horror be serious and light at the same time.

(Full disclosure, I love Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon, and having them awkwardly flirt was candy in my veins. McKenna Grace was pretty impressive for being so young.)

The third act is disappointing though. It got pretty stupid, and I think even if it had stayed funnier it would have a problem with not aiming high/spectacular enough. The underground temple looked like a Nickelodeon set and one ghost at the diner doesn't cut it. Oh well. It made me miss the "magic" sequence from the original which is an amazing transition.

Overall this movie reminded me a little of Lord and Miller? Less coked-up, but similar in that while its bones are sort of standard glurge storytelling, it's witty enough to stand out from the crowd.
posted by fleacircus at 11:32 PM on February 3, 2022

Very late to this party but wanted to chime in. fleacircus, totally agree that it's really unbalanced: the first few acts are very compelling and watchable. The actors are all game and likeable, and Reitman certainly knows how to craft a good-looking movie. But by about halfway through, there's no reason for the characters to do what they are doing and know what they know. I wanted to talk to the characters and say "wait, why are you reacting like that? Why are you doing this?"

For example, the first big flaw in the script, almost a flub, is when Paul Rudd and the kids open the trap on his car and the smoke demon flies out and off. All three of them are just kind of nonchalant about it, like "that was weird, huh?" And in the next scene Rudd takes the kids to her house, and they act as if they didn't just let a demon out into the world.

And then it just gets more convoluted with this kind of magical understanding all the characters seem to have. Phoebe and Podcast know how the power packs work, somehow. But it's never clear if people in this world accept that ghosts just kind of exist, or what. The kids haven't ever heard of the Ghostbusters, but then somehow realize how important they's just very confused and confusing.

And yes, the nostalgia porn is just too much. You want to stay in the same world, sure, but the constant winking to the audience, throwing out red meat just got cringey after a while. The worst was when the sheriff is talking and pauses, and the camera actually dollies in for him to say "Who you gonna call?" Ugh.

At worst, all this nostalgia betrays the fact that the screenwriters are just doing a remix of the first movie. Afterlife isn't a good movie because it can't stand on its own. Anyone watching this one who hadn't seen the original would be kind of lost.

Tone is the other thing. The first movie has two important modes for a horror comedy: horror and comedy. It's 90% comedy with a few genuinely scary scenes, but Afterlife has precisely zero scary scenes. And worse, it has what is completely lacking in the first: drama. If you are doing horror comedy, best not to stick in unironic, earnest dramatic scenes. Jason Reitman is a fine director, but doing the kind of comedy that his dad or Harold Ramis did is a tall order, and Reitman falls back on melodrama at precisely the moment it's not needed. Again all the actors are great, but Reitman and the screenwriters just don't know what to do with them.

Unfortunately I have to give Ghostbusters: Afterlife a thumbs down. It started off so promising but by the end it was just a checklist of plot points and characters and even one-liners from the first movie. Also the CGI Harold Ramis was....a thing. It was obviously a heartfelt dedication to the man by people who were close to him, but weird all the same.
posted by zardoz at 11:45 PM on December 5, 2023

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