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film reel image

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2021 * * * 1/2 Stars


Ghostbusters: Afterlife has five kid actors carrying on the storied, Ghostbusters legacy. They do a solid job exhibiting spunky fortitude, coming-of-age slant, and some whimsy, Spielbergian moments. It also doesn't hurt to have the original specter fighters show up in the end (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and um, Harold Ramis). 

"Afterlife" is a re-bunked sequel done with perspicacity. Gone is the thought of that unnecessary mishap that Melissa McCarthy gave us in 2016. Gone is the staunch overuse of slime a la 1989's Ghostbusters II. Added is a sense of nostalgia and a smack of fuzzy recollection. If you saw Ghostbusters in the theater circa 37 years ago (and I did), "Afterlife" will take you back. Rob Simonsen's almost identical film score to Elmer Bernstein's stuff from '84 just adds to it all. 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife changes its setting to small town Oklahoma. Don't worry. It still feels like a Ghostbusters film and at the same time, "Afterlife" is pretty much its own entity. The visual effects are indeed solid and that's saying a lot with a now small budget of $75 million. And oh yeah, there's a couple of car chases too. They're whiz-bang, brisk, and well, on a swivel. Heck, it's good seeing the Ecto-1 being flexed into high gear. 

As a Super 8ish follow-up that's directed by Jason Reitman (son of original director Ivan Reitman), Ghostbusters: Afterlife supplies tongue-in-cheek humor to smooth over the spooky just like in the original Ghostbusters (I didn't think that was possible here). 

As for "Afterlife's" strongest asset, well it's its first half which has some beautiful build-up. The last act consisting of Gozer, the Gatekeeper, and the Keymaster sort of copies '84's version scene for scene. Whatev. "Afterlife" is still a sound and solid, family film. Bustin' feels good once again.   

Written by Jesse Burleson

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