So close and yet…
Here is your Ghostbusters: Afterlife review straight from the theater. Which I will say was the most crowded I’ve seen a theater in a very long time and at two o’clock in the afternoon, no less. Take that for what it’s worth, but I have a feeling this will have a pretty big haul.
Does it deserve it? Sure. I will say this, it’s in no way disrespectful to the original, unlike certain other remakes I could mention.
But is that enough? Sadly, I wanted to like this movie more than I did. The movie wanted me to like it. It was really trying hard to make me like it and I really appreciate the effort. But that’s just not enough to make it great.
I say “great”, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t pretty good. I mean that’s the best I can say, it was pretty good. It was slow in too many places, and they could have trimmed about 20 minutes to really tighten it up.
Also, while the lack of disrespect is very appreciated, it also is missing the irreverence of the first one. The reverence we give the first movie shouldn’t be in any movie in this universe. Still, it has its moments.
Mild Spoilers Ahead
Egon took all the Ghostbusters stuff and went to Oklahoma, to a weird farm house straight out of Psycho. This town was built by Evo Shandor who makes an unneeded appearance. The metal for the building in New York was mined out of here and Egon has basically taken up the role of guardian to keep Gozer at bay.
He passes away however and the property falls to his daughter and her children. There is no father and Egon was a bad father, as is par for the course in all Hollywood movies. (Is there an industry with more people in it with daddy issues? Not even stripping, I bet.) McKenna Grace plays his granddaughter, Phoebe, as a misunderstood nerd genius with social awkwardness. She’s pretty great in this.
Unfortunately, that can’t be said for the rest of the cast of Ghostbusters: Afterlife who are all pretty forgettable. Her mother, Egon’s grown daughter isn’t bad, Carrie Coon has just enough feistiness and a chip on her shoulder from basically being abandoned by Egon to make you care. Finn Wolfhard plays the brother and has little to do to make much of an impact. Phoebe makes a friend in Podcast (yes that’s what he calls himself) and his exuberance is fun. Paul Rudd plays Paul Rudd. The rest of the cast I barely can remember.
Yes everyone in the first movie shows up at the end. Everybody. The respect paid to Harold Ramis is quite nice, and I’m not made of stone. It was a pretty great ending scene. It’s the journey getting there that was a bit long and drawn out.
Would I see Ghostbusters: Afterlife again? Yeah, I probably would. There are a lot of Easter eggs, which is fine. I just wish this movie had a little more of its own voice and didn’t rely so heavily on fan service. Which is hard to say, because fan service isn’t necessarily a bad thing if done right. I would say The Force Awakens is fan service done wrong. This is fan service done mostly right.
I wish I liked it a little better than I did. But damn if the movie didn’t try, so for that, I would recommend it. It also puts a firm rejection stamp on the truly awful Ghostbusters 2016 so for that reason alone it is worthwhile.
Stay tuned for this Sunday, 11/21 for our Livestream where we’ll discuss this movie in more depth.