In the cinema, as in life, all comparisons are hateful, but in the case of Ghostbusters: Afterlife is inevitable because there are many factors that invite it. First because aHe front of the project is Jason Reitman, son of director of the first two installments (Ivan Reitman), second because part of those who have put the money have been Bill Murray and Ivan Reitman himself. And finally because Dan Aykroyd is one of the executive producers. Jason had a certain sarcasm that having his father sitting by his side on the set controlling and commenting on all his creative decisions is not the best way to work, but at least it has given his father the satisfaction of resurrect a saga that seemed buried after Paul Feig’s fiasco with Ghostbusters in 2016.
Tribute to the classics of the 80s
The film drinks not only from the original spirit of the two installments but also from 80s classics like The Goonies or Gremlins to create a light comedy full of nods to the past and that has no other claim than to be family entertainment and to serve as a tribute to Harold Ramis, protagonist and co-writer of the first two, who died in 2014.
The story, without being a show of imagination, shows some coherence and threads reasonably with the first two episodes. A single-parent family in ruins inherits an old property in a seedy town, but the ramshackle mansion is just a facade behind which hides a secret that unites past and present. The development of the characters is insubstantial, as are their monetary problems of the mother, the troubles of the teenage son or the strange personality of the hyper-intelligent young daughter. Everything is put there to give a certain layer of paint to an adventure that goes the other way and that leads to the return of the great enemy of the first Phantom Hunters, Gozer, as well as his two squires: The Master of the Keys and The Guardian of the door.
The fans, happy
The film, which is just over two hours long, has an uneven start until midway through the footage it picks up pace and chains action scenes up to a outcome that, not expected, will delight the mythomaniacs of the saga. Nostalgia has always been good business in Hollywood, and Ritman pays dividends for it.
As it is a family film, there are no great interpretative fancies, perhaps it stands out above all Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), showing once again his natural talent for comedy. Carrie Coon also builds a credible character despite the fact that the story gives little route and as for the kids, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) and McKenna Grace (The Handmaid’s Tale) play two too stereotyped roles. Among the secondary ones, the very young Logan Kim stands out, who manages to build a funny character without being repellent. Special mention deserve the returns of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and a beaming Sigourney Waever, all of them with a short presence, although relevant to the denouement for the story. The truth is that they are embedded in the film in a not very organic way, looking for an emotional connection with the viewer. Already put, in this exercise of waste of nostalgia the presence of Rick Moranis is missing.
At the special effects level, the film is indebted to the original and maintains many of the tricks that made Ivan Reitman’s film great, including the transparent ghosts, a legion of mini Marshmallow, turbulence and, of course, the famous plasma guns. But everything that was innovative in the 80s, here has a retro air that is only held within the concept of tribute that the whole film has.
A familiar soundtrack
As for the soundtrack, it is provided by Rob Simonsen, who had previously worked with Reitman. The composer part of Elmer Berstein’s original score and makes it his own, it is easy to remember some classic sounds, but always within a more current approach. The legendary The Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. sounds again at the end of the film and it is inevitable to remember the controversy that arose for plagiarizing a song from Huey Lewis And The Nees (I Want a New Drug), but the truth is that Huey Lewis had also been “inspired” by another M song (Pop Muzik). There is also a lot of ghost to hunt here.
Overall Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a film that draws more on its past than on its present, in which fans of the saga will feel comfortable because it includes many of the codes of the saga, but that is far from the level of the former. It is more than advisable to stay to the first of the post-credit scenes what’s wrong with it; It is undoubtedly one of the best moments of the film.