Written by Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman and Dan Aykroyd
Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and J.K. Simmons
From director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman comes the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe. In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, 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 third film in the original Ghostbusters series has a tough hill to climb with both new audiences and fans of the original. The opening scene does a lot to try to draw in both audiences with the music, special effects, tension and thrills. There is a darkness to this opening that lets the audience know that this film will have a slightly more serious tone than the previous films.
Though it is never explained in the film, former Ghostbuster Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis) had a family whom he is estranged from at the time of his death. His adult daughter Callie (Coon) uproots her kids and moves to a remote town where they take over his home and the kids discover not only something strange about the town, but also who their grandfather was and the legacy that he left them.
The film definitely emphasizes family and those dynamics come through in the acting. The setting is self contained so the script can focus on the characters and their relationships. Coon is great as a mother who is dealing with trying to provide a life for her kids while also dealing with a past she hasn’t reconciled. There is a great moment in the film that brings all of those conflicts to a head and there is some great resolution.
The rest of the cast is great. Paul Rudd gives a fun performance as a disaffected teacher working on his own experiments. McKenna Grace is awesome as Phoebe and she is the lynchpin for the story as she connects both the past and present. Finn Wolfhard is good as her older brother, but his teenage angst storyline doesn’t really go anywhere.
The action is fantastic and does a great job of evolving the action from the original films without going so far that it loses the ghostbusters aesthetic. There are definitely cameos in the film from the original cast and their presence is there not only for nostalgia purposes, but to advance the finale and say goodbye to Harold Ramis. It’s a moment that actually brought a tear to my eye.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a fun, often funny and satisfying completion of the original ghostbusters storyline. There is enough nostalgia for fans of the original and enough new elements to make the film stand on its own as well as pave the way for a new generation.