Ghostbusters, whilst being a series I certainly enjoy is not something I regularly see myself rewatching so when Ghostbusters: Afterlife was announced my initial reaction was one indifference. Ghostbusters: Afterlife being directed by Jason Reitman (The Office, Juno, Up in the Air), who funnily enough has an acting credit in the 1989 film, Ghostbusters II, takes place 32 years after the events of Ghostbusters II and features a start-studded main cast consisting of talents such as Carrie Coon (Fargo, Gone Girl, Widows), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, It), Grace McKenna (The Haunting of Hill House, Once Upon a Time) and Paul Rudd (Ant-Man, Anchorman, Friends). It definitely felt weird seeing a film so obviously made for a Halloween release at the beginning of December but by no means did that sour my enjoyment.
A few weeks before I went to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife, I sat down with a few friends to rewatch the original both for the purposes of seeing the new film and just because that film is still a blast to this day. One thing that struck me about Ghostbusters: Afterlife is that the story is extremely familiar to those who’ve seen the original but its been injected with a new lease of life. Whilst it touches on all the amazing references fans of the original will pick up on it also creates new character drama, motivations, and some particularly heart-warming scenes. Grace McKenna is fantastic as Phoebe and to the film's credit, all the child/young adult performances are phenomenal. They feel natural, enthusiastic and just downright hilarious at times.
Alongside the amazing performances is the real stand out of the film for me, the music. Again, a common theme with this film, the music manages to capture what made the original score so amazing and spooky whilst also polishing and remastering it for newer audiences. I couldn’t help but feel chills every time the score just hit the right tone.
The film does a great job at striking the traditional Ghostbusters balance of horror-lite and comedy with numerous references made to the previous films and even some acknowledgement of some poor choices made in those films. On top of that, I found the humour and level of horror to be great although this is probably my most subjective appreciation of the film and I can definitely see how the humour wouldn’t land for some people. In short though if you’re a fan of the original’s humour I think this will be just right for you.
Whilst I loved the humour, I do feel at times it can be a little overbearing. Moments of sincere character development and interaction can at times be forfeited in favour of a cheap gag. It's something I noticed particularly at the beginning of the film as when I was trying to really engage with the new characters it seemed like each one of them was just trying to outwit the other with whatever comeback or joke they could come up with. That, however, is probably the most noticeable problem I had with the film.
Whilst for the most part the CGI is very well done in Ghostbusters: Afterlife there are several occasions when it can seem a little choppy. I noticed a few times during the movie there were elements of poor CGI, especially in car scenes which would be masked with heavy amounts of motion blur which could be quite off-putting at times. Again though, it’s not something I’d really be too worried about as it was only present on a couple of small occasions.
Overall, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a funny and heart-warming movie-going experience. If you’re on the fence about going to see it either by yourself, with friends or family but think it looks interesting I’d say go for it!
If you’d like to discuss Ghostbusters: Afterlife with me a little bit more and talk some spoilers, you can do so over on my Twitter @OdhranJohnson! If you’re interested in indie based games news, reviews and more you can check me and the team at Gaming Sandbox out over on gaming-sandbox.com.
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