‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Review – Another Disappointing Reboot

Ghostbusters Afterlife movie review

The Ghostbusters are finally back in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a nostalgia trip with very few original or intriguing ideas.

Coming thirty-seven years after the original film, thirty-two years after its sequel and five years after the much talked about reboot, this is the official third entry into the ever-growing franchise started by Ivan Reitman. The first film was a lightning-in-a-bottle event that combined the writing skills of Reitman and star Dan Aykroyd and the comedic chops and chemistry of the four leads. It has stood the test of time despite some tarnishings to the brand with subsequent follow-ups and the untimely death of franchise giant Harold Ramis, which this film is dedicated to.

The idea for a third film had been thrown around since the release of the commercially disappointing second entry, and by the time of Ramis’ death, nearly all interest was gone. However, after the disappointment of the 2016 reboot, a new tactic needed to be employed, and Sony finally got to work on bringing a third film to light.

Jason Reitman, the original director’s son, helms this film, and unfortunately, goes the modern cynical route of making it a two hour: “hey, remember Ghostbusters?”.

ghostbusters ghosts

The film has little to no interest in being its own thing for large chunks of the runtime. The original ideas include a setting change and making the main characters children instead of grown men (or women – as per the reboot), and nothing else. If one has seen the original film, one has seen this film. It nearly repeats the events of the original Ghostbusters beat-for-beat to almost insulting levels of laziness.

The script shines brightest when it detours from this familiar formula and focuses on our new characters, the family of Egon Spengler (Ramis’ character) and the townsfolk they encounter. This is where most of the good elements come from, as the cast, for the most part, is well utilised, especially Carrie Coon and the young McKenna Grace, who almost steals the show. Her great performance and her charisma with other characters make it sad that she is not utilised in a more original story. Paul Rudd provides much of the comedic relief in a film that somewhat gives off the tone of an indie drama.

paul rudd ghostbusters

Other positives include the technical aspects, especially the colour and sound. The choice to shoot on film and give it a moody tone was good. It definitely feels like a Ghostbusters film, if only technically. The score is goofy yet memorable, using a huge orchestra to get the job done.

Other than that, Ghostbusters: Afterlife has nothing much to offer. The film follows the same formula of movies like The Force Awakens (2015) and Jurassic World (2015) in that it acts as a soft reboot to get fans and audiences reacquainted with an older franchise, in hopes to start up a new franchise using the brand name. While the movies mentioned above were not in any way original, they at least felt like they had something to say, and the nostalgia-bait in those didn’t feel desperate or pandering like in this one.

slimer ghostbusters afterlife

The filmmakers have lifted anything and everything they could have from the original Ghostbusters to near-insulting levels. The final thirty minutes are packed full of so many “remember this?” moments that it felt extremely overwhelming. There is also a choice made to feature an element from the original in the finale that, while conceptually could have been exciting or fitting, felt awkwardly done and, worst of all, desperate. That is the one word that fits this movie more than any other; desperate.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is yet another unoriginal franchise revival that adds nothing new to the series and nothing new for filmgoers and critics alike. For those who have not seen the first movie, and for those who have and just want to reminisce, it will be a mostly pleasing experience. The film can be added to the ever-growing list of low impact sequels that completely miss the mark. If there is a follow up to this one, one can only hope they attempt something new and entertaining, or at the very least, just new.

Fun Fact:

Finn Wolfhard did not know he was auditioning for Ghostbusters as the audition sides were purposefully kept to be generic and vague as the movie was being developed under secrecy.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Entertainment Value
Directed By
Jason Reitman
Finn Wolfhard
Paul Rudd
Mckenna Grace
Carrie Coon
30 posts

About author
A film student from Ireland who is going to make films of my own in the future. Deserted Island film collection: Rocky 1-5, Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy, La Haine, Midnight in Paris, Jaws, and Cast Away (for inspiration). Best movie snack: Popcorn with Maltesers in the tub, sided with some overpriced theatre sprite.


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