GhostBusters: Afterlife Review


Alex Edwards

Ghostbusters released in 1984 directed by Ivan Reitman, grossing 295.2 million at the box office, and becoming a global phenomenon spawning a series of video games, comics and other products.

Mars Canepa, Dispatch Reporter

Dan Aykord had always believed in ghosts alongside his family. When he sat down to write a new movie alongside Rick Moranis and Harold Ramis in 1983, he had an idea to share his love of the supernatural with the audience, thus the creation of pop culture staple Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters released in 1984 directed by Ivan Reitman, grossing 295.2 million at the box office, and becoming a global phenomenon spawning a series of video games, comics and other products. The movie focuses on three disgruntled unemployed professors creating a ghost capturing business so they can make a living and prove that ghosts are real. After picking up another crew member, they solve local cases in New York by fighting ghosts with proton packs that allow them to capture and put away the supernatural. They eventually confront Gozer, an entity attempting to take over the world and reason as to why ghost sightings were increasing. The sequel follows similar beats to defeat another villainous entity.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, directed by the original director’s son Jason Reitman, takes place in the modern day when main lead Phoebe Spangler with her brother Trevor and single mother Carrie move to the fictional town of Summerville, after the death of Phoebe’s grandfather who left mysteriously to go to Summerville for reasons unknown to the characters. Spangler befriends a classmate named Podcast, and teacher Gary Gooberson who brings the kids and the audience a recap on what the ghostbusters were up to during the first movie. While at the farmhouse, her grandfather left behind Phoebe discovers the secret building where she discovers her grandfather was one of the original four ghostbusters, whose identity is not revealed until the third act, who returned to prevent the return of Gozer. With this new information and ghost busting tech left behind, Phoebe begins ghost busting with her brother and friends while Gozer plots their return

I’ve always enjoyed Ghostbusters, however often I find myself putting it in the backseat of my mind forgetting what made it special for me and for many other people. Now I can’t speak like I saw the movie in 1984 when it was released, as I am only 16 years old while writing this review, but Ghostbusters is just one of those nostalgic movies that I think of when thinking of film classics. Despite this, however, I never quite fell in love with it like I did other things, so when I heard that a sequel taking place in the same continuity as the first two films (Ghostbusters 2016, took place as a standalone movie) I thought “Why not, I guess I like Ghostbusters” and didn’t give it much a thought until it released. I say these things to point out a major strength of the film is the respect to the original story people had loved to begin with while creating something new to remind what made the originals so special. The film is chock full of references to the previous movies with characters from the original to pass off the proton packs.. From seeing old villains, a combo attack used in the original, and lines I recognized even I, someone moderately enthused about the franchise absolutely loved that part of the movie. As a revival of two classics, it was vital that it had a factor of nostalgia to make it work. A friend I had invited to go watch the movie with me was more critical of the movie as this was his first Ghostbusters film. Despite me pointing out you can’t judge the number three of something if you never knew what one and two were, he lacked the nostalgia I had that allowed me to understand the movie and excuse the hiccups of the film.

Speaking of the hiccups of the movie,  I was bothered by the characters and some convenience through some parts. When we are introduced to the main characters they all take very stereotypical roles in the story. The two siblings Phoebe, played by McKenna Grace from films such as Gifted and Captain Marvel, is your typical anti-social but brilliant character and brother Trevor, played by Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard, is the phone and girl obsessed teenage boy. There are other two characters Podcast, the movie’s blogger character and Lucky Domingo, who is kind of just there, she doesn’t really do much and joins the team kind of randomly. The adults Carrie Spangler and Mr. Grooberson are the gruff/affectionate couple of the movie. After we’re done introducing these characters and they can get some breathing room as the story goes forward which keeps my thoughts off how chiche they come off but it still stuck with me how I saw these characters for the rest of the movie. Phoebe somehow is able to know how to use a proton pack and the Ghostbuster car with it’s gadgets despite it being her first time in the car. While the scene plays it out as a group of sheer dumb luck but I honestly wish it was more conclusive with connecting the dots with Phoebe figuring out how to really be a ghostbuster rather than the vague “oh she is just a very smart 12 year old” explanation the movie provides.

Despite this, the movie very much appreciates what came before it something I appreciate in a sequel, even going as far as to making the terror dogs from the original move act like puppets as they originally were in the first movie, which is something that made me nerd out. Ghostbusters Afterlife: Is not by any means a perfect movie but it is a fun ride with a comprehensible story that is perfect for people who love the old movies.