“Science nerds of the world unite to defeat evil spirits in Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” screams H.G. Wells, that is, if he were still alive. Truthfully, I don’t remember much of the 1984 original Ghostbusters, but this one incorporates clips. Even better, you get the original cast members in crucial supporting roles. Overall, it’s just a lot of fun. You get ghost traps, proton packs, the Ectomobile, and all sorts of nonsensical, electrical devices, most of which you’d love to get your hands on. But, first and foremost, the new Ghostbusters is about family. And, I think you’re gonna’ like the Spenglers.
Though filmed in the Calgary, Alberta area, just how does Gozer the Gozerian happen to be trapped in the fictional town of Summerville, Oklahoma? Ivo Shandor, owner of the ill-fated apartment building in New York City, also happens to own a mine in Sumerville. As the ghost catching business waned in NYC, Egon Spengler found anomalies in Oklahoma. No one believed him. Abandoning his family and friends, he becomes the “crazy dirt-farmer” who doesn’t farm. Then, he dies, leaving his estate, mostly debts, to his estranged daughter, Callie. The farmhouse is not what she, or the family, expects. Of course, nothing will be what anyone expects. I give Ghostbusters: Afterlife 4.0 Gavels and it receives a modest 63% Rotten Tomatoes rating with a very good 7.8/10 IMDB score.
Evicted from their home, Callie and her two kids, Trevor (age 15) and Phoebe (age 12), make a new home in the dilapidated farmhouse. Exasperated in what he finds in Summerville, things look up for Trevor when he spies Lucky, a waitress at The Spinners. Never one to make friends easily, Phoebe meets a kindred soul in Podcast, a classmate. Now, if she could only get Mr. Grooberson, a wannabe seismologist, to actually teach some science. Why is Summerville suffering daily seismic events? What was Phoebe’s grandfather doing with this strange equipment in the basement? What are these noises in the factory? Be assured that the scenes at the mine will be much more sinister.
Now 15, Mckenna Grace (I, Tonya, Captain Marvel) began acting in 2012. As Phoebe, science wonderkid and bad joke-teller, she is an absolute joy to watch. Nothing phases this kid. She and Podcast, played by Logan Kim, make quite the odd couple, except they are so normal. Paul Rudd (Ant-Man, The Catcher was a Spy) plays the teacher Grooberson, also love-interest to Callie. Like Rudd, the entire cast is understated in their delivery of humor, very effective in the film.
Bill Murray hates sequels. That’s why Ghostbusters: Afterlife was in pre-production for so long. His final approval to appear is yet another indicator of the quality of the script. Rated PG-13, is the film too scary for younger kids? As long as they are not too young, they’ve likely seen a lot worse. I found ghosts like Muncher (above) more amusing than frightening. Note: There are some sexual references.
“Afterlife’s engaging cast has the comic beats down, and they also play more fully fleshed people than the first film offered, reflecting the director’s interest in character-driven stories.” Hollywood Reporter
“Well, it’s taken 36 years and six presidencies, but with “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” fans finally have an unembarrassing sequel to love.” New York Post
Is it somewhat derivative? Yes. Is it nostalgic? Heck, yes. I wouldn’t have it any other way. At a 96% Audience score, viewers agree.