Review: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

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Photo Courtesy of CinemaBlend

RETURN OF THE GHOSTBUSTERS: Mckenna Grace stars in this reboot of past Ghostbusters films.

Molly St. Clair , Feature Editor

It seems like today, more than ever, reboots and reruns of old shows and movies are all the craze. With everything from a reboot of Gossip Girl to the upcoming remake of West Side Story, these recreations are filling up theatres and streaming services all over. Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a reboot of the past Ghostbusters films, hit theatres Nov. 19. Unlike the many other reboots of movies I’ve seen, it didn’t live up to my expectations from its previous films. 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows the story of a family who moves into the house of their dead grandfather. Upon searching around the house, the kids and some of their new friends discover that their grandfather was one of the original ghostbusters of the 1980s. The beginning of this movie was an enjoyable watch. With plenty of witty science jokes from the younger sister, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), I found myself laughing at even the more corny jokes. 

The first hour of the film served more as a coming-of-age story of how the kids, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe were going to fit into this new peculiar town. However, the story would have almost been more enjoyable to watch if it hadn’t been a Ghostbusters film at all. When the more science fiction-like aspects of the movie were introduced, the film really took a turn for the worse. All of a sudden, the characters were underground discovering some ancient temple that had something to do with the ghosts returning to the town. These scenes felt rushed and it was as if they were just trying to fit more plot into a movie that could have been quite simple. 

A positive of recreating old movies from the past is being able to see how the quality of things like special effects improves over time. In a movie like Ghostbusters, one would assume that the use of high-quality special effects that we see in movies of the present would be one of the top priorities. But this was definitely not the case in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. In a few scenes where the characters are fighting, the ghosts look almost identical to the ones used in the original 1984 film. For die-hard fans, I can see how this might be nostalgic in a way to see images of the past. But for someone just looking to watch a quality movie, it is certainly not ideal. 

On the other hand, one of the things this movie did nicely was reaching a wide audience. It had plenty of easy-to-understand jokes that a younger audience would understand, but there was also plenty for older adults. Additionally, the film was filled with references from the original movie. When the kids find themselves stuck in a police station, one character is given a phone call. The police turn to them with the classic line “Who you gonna call?”, which got a wild reaction from the majority of the audience. 

The appearance of the old Ghostbusters crew made up of actors Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson added a nice ending to a rather confusing film. Their lines were the refreshing, light-hearted banter that many remember from the original Ghostbusters that this new film lacked. Overall, I would only recommend the movie to die-hard Ghostbusters fans who just want to see their favorite characters return to the screen. For everyone else, it’s really not worth the effort that it takes to try and understand the complexities of what should have been a rather simple film.