Starring: Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Shoreh Agadashloo, JK Simmons, Bokeem Woodbine, Josh Gad, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver.
Directed By: Jason Reitman
Where I Watched It: Apple VOD
English Audio Description Available: Yes
The Plot: A struggling mother (Coon) finds out her father, from whom she has been long estranged, has passed away and left her a creaky old house in a small sleepy town. So, she packs up her two kids (Wolfhard/Grace) and heads out to tie up loose ends. But, she really had no idea what her father did for a living. But I bet you do…
What Works: Memberberries. South Park fans, I know you get that. This film is riding high on nostalgia, and for those who have long wanted a true Ghostbusters 3, that follows the first two films, and not Paul Feig’s remake, you got your wish. Although, for all of those who have been enjoying this film, I don’t think it would exist if Harold Ramos hadn’t died. So…perspective.
Nostalgia is heavy here, with the film headed in a predictable direction the entire time. Although, I will say that for those who thought our original Busters would be the main focus, this is kind of like Stranger Thingsw meets Ghostbusters. It’s still kind of a remake of sorts, as the people doing most of the work are the children. The adults with the most screen time are kinda just there. I suppose Carrie Coon could be called the lead, but there’s just as much argument to be had that McKenna Grace is our main protagonist. So instead of fans getting an all female Ghostbusters, you get kids. And by bringing in Finn Wolfhard into the film, they’re kinda directly acknowledging how much Stranger Things has made this work as a feature for everyone, instead of feeling like a movie for kids with child leads.
McKenna Grace is great here, as are all the kids. The story is fine, as it mostly revolves around setting up the climax, but everything is somewhat predictable. Not that its bad, it’s a ton of fun. I get why this movie is doing so well. But this film probably started with the ending, and they worked their way back from there. The ending is what everyone wants to see, and while you’ll see it coming a mile away, I still don’t want to talk about it or spoil it, because it really hits the nostalgia button hard.
What Doesn’t Work: look, I liked the remake. It really did what I thought it needed to do. But so does this, and neither one is perfect. The original squad is sidelined a lot until needed. I’m sad Rick moranis couldn’t slide in for even two seconds. This film is just so damn predictable, it’s a wonder that I was still emotionally invested in an ending I mostly predicted from the beginning. Sadly, Jason Reitman must not think a lot of Paul Rudd, because for someone as dynamic as he is, he plays this pretty straight, and he and Carrie Coon aren’t much help. Both rest actors, and they do have stuff to do, but Reitman leaves this all up to the kids. So depending on how you feel about that, and watching one of those films where the kids undiscovered something and spend most of the movie trying to fight off evil and convince adults that they are in danger, it’s just not that original of a film.
But every actor showed up, no one is sleepwalking, even if they aren’t given much to do. The original team does feel like older versions of their original creations, and it’s not like a quick paycheck. This is an odd film in that I’m not sure really anything was done wrong or right, but there are glimmers of both, and despite being predictable, it still sticks the landing.
The Blind Perspective: Apple did go back and include the AD finally, after not doing so when it was initially released on ITunes. So that was nice. And it is good AD. It describes the ghostly happenings well, and is INSTRUMENTAL in the beginning and end of the film. Don’t watch without audio description, you will be lost, and the film won’t make any sense if someone isn’t telling you what is happening.
Final Thoughts: I think in the grand scheme, i prefer the remake, as a comedy. If I was looking for straight up laughs, Paul Feig nailed it more than Reitman. However, if I’m looking for emotional grounding, and what feels like more of a true adventure, Afterlife seems to beat that. It’s not as funny, nor does it attempt to be. This is much more straight forward, and in my opinion, both the remake and Afterlife are better than Ghostbusters 2. Regardless of which direction you prefer, Feig and Reitman both offered improvements to the overall franchise. Will this be for you? If you love this franchise, yes. This is nostalgia at its peak. And the ending actually wraps up the trilogy quite nicely.
Additional Comments: there are two post credit sequences.
Final Grade: B+