Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim, Celeste O'Connor, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Wilde, Harold Ramis
Runtime: 2 hrs 4 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Intense Sequences)
Released By: Sony Pictures Releasing Singapore
Opening Day: 18 November 2021
Synopsis: 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.
This is clearly for the fans who want to indulge in nostalgia. After several unsuccessful efforts to make the third movie in the successful franchise, and numerous delays for this version of the film directed by Jason Reitman to be released, the much anticipated movie finally hits theatres.
With a screenplay co written by Reitman and Gil Kenan, the story takes place 30 odd years after the events of the second movie (if you even remember how that ended, because let’s be honest, the first instalment in 1984 is the one that everybody loves). The prologue sees an aged Egon Spengler killed by supernatural forces in a rural location in Oklahoma. At this point, the character appears mostly in the dark, so the filmmakers could get away with getting someone to play the beloved Ghostbuster originally portrayed by the late Harold Ramis.
Shortly after, Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two kids Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) arrive, and they turn out to be Egon’s daughter and grandchildren respectively. They discover their connection to Egon and what he has been planning. Other supporting characters like Phoebe’s talkative classmate who produces podcasts (Logan Kim), Trevor’s love interest (Celeste O’ Connor) and the school teacher who is a fan of the Ghostbusters (Paul Rudd) appear, and through a series of events, Gozer the Gozerian (fans would know her as the spirit who was supposedly defeated by the Ghostbusters during the famous Manhattan Crossrip of 1984) is resurrected.
Since this is for the fans, the original Ghostbusters have to make an appearance (imagine the wrath incurred if they didn’t). Billy Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson appear as Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddemore. Ramis appears posthumously through archival footage and photos from the two films, and of course, some special effects magic. It doesn’t stop there. Expect Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett and Annie Potts’ Janine Melnitz to make cameos in the movie as well. This is a gathering will make fans very happy.
The fan service doesn’t stop at human characters. The 124 minute movie is stuffed with references and callbacks. Easter eggs are aplenty, from obscure items in Egon’s secret underground lab to in your face objects that fans will remember from the 1984 movie. Classic lines are referenced (no one would have the audacity to miss out the classic line “Who you gonna call?”), and the original Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is now in the form of adorable normal sized marshmallows wrecking havoc.
While the original movie was silly comedy, this sequel seems to take itself a little too seriously. The best bits are taken care of by Kim, a cute child actor which may come across as irritating if you did not have a nice day and all you want is some peace. Rudd does a fine job, but he does not have a lot to work with. The core family is dealing with contemporary problems (single parenthood, nerdy kid trying to fit in), and this does weigh down the tone of the movie. Then there is the part about resurrecting Gozer, which also comes across a little heavy handed.
But that’s really the fan of the first wacky movie in this writer speaking. If this is a standalone movie, it is a decent Hollywoodflick with the right amount of drama, comedy, supernatural elements, and nicely executed special effects. However, we know that Jason, son of original director Ivan Reitman, made this film as a tribute to his own family, to Ramis’ family, and most importantly, the fans of the franchise. And yup, the filmmakers strategically ignored the events of the much hated 2016 reboot directed by Paul Feig featuring female Ghostbusters.
(Clearly made for fans of the franchise, this sequel is essentially about spotting Easter eggs and waiting for the original Ghostbusters to appear on screen)
Review by John Li