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It is debatable whether making films based on the franchise is inherently bad, but Ghostbusters: The Afterlife is certainly an argument for those claiming the model’s impeccable soullessness. Rarely has a sequel been so apathetic, creatively untenable, or unaware of the charm and appeal of its predecessors. Rarely has films had such an urge to appease an imaginary audience by imitating what came before it and refusing to challenge themselves in terms of creating a new world, creating new characters, or creating new bets.
Ghostbusters: The Afterlife is an ouroboros of nostalgia that devours itself over and over again, an exercise in feeding modern buzzwords and concepts to a sentimental machine that chews and spits them out. This is not a pleasant movie.
Arriving in theaters five years after filmmaker Paul Feig directed the (mostly) female version of Ghostbusters, which some (grumpy) fans of the franchise denounced as an abomination and helped turn it into a box office bomb, Afterlife essentially erases the purity of this film. attempting to restart the franchise. In addition, he largely ignores the events of 1989 Ghostbusters II, instead focusing almost exclusively on 1984 Ghostbusters. This approach makes sense given that the film’s director and producer, Ivan Reitman, is the father of Jason Reitman, who directed and co-wrote Life After Death.
Turning this franchise into a family business isn’t the worst act of nepotism the industry has ever seen. But one of the many disappointments caused by Afterlife is how withdrawn the film feels, how imperative it is for the first Ghostbusters, and how reluctant it is to experiment with anything new. The conventions of the horror genre are flirted with and rejected; The characters’ heel turns are suggested, and then they are swapped. When it comes to deviating from the established path, Afterlife cannot even take the first step.
The Afterlife takes place today and follows a family of single mother Callie (Carrie Coon), teenage son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), and teenage daughter Phoebe (McKenna Grace) who move to the small, dying mining town of Summerville , Oklahoma. Callie’s father, who abandoned his family in his youth, recently passed away and left her a bankrupt farm, where he spent the second half of his life. Everyone in town called this man the “Dirty Farmer,” and he was as much of a mystery to them as he was to Callie.
As Callie struggles with countless emotions over her father’s death and unexpectedly meets Phoebe’s summer school teacher, seismologist Gary Groberson (Paul Rudd), Trevor and Phoebe try to fit in with her. Trevor falls in love with his teenage buddy Lucky (Celeste O’Connor) while Phoebe gets her first girlfriend on Podcast (Logan Kim); This character’s nomenclature gives the film a sense of humor. (Doesn’t exist, relies overly on simplistic puns, tiresome.)
For super-smart and super-sardonic Phoebe, who has always received conflicting advice from Kelly and Trevor about whether or not she should really be herself, the muddy farm is full of mysteries. What was her grandfather working on in his secret laboratory? What is this backpack and wand duo shooting with energy? What was he holding in what looked like a metal trap? What are these strange engravings and mysterious rumbles found in a long-abandoned city mine? The film is centered around Phoebe’s discoveries, with an abundance of chase scenes and an almost faithful recreation of the climactic ending of the first film.
But what undermines the vigor of these episodes is that Afterlife is dependent on Phoebe and Gary, who are initially portrayed by the film as the smartest people making the stupidest, most mindless decisions to move the film’s plot. Even so, the script still links the scenes together with the leading dialogues like “What do you mean?” and “What’s going on here?” reverse unnecessary exposure that freezes forward movement. Why should we pay attention to Afterlife when the characters in the film don’t?
Pretty much everything here is very, very broad, from Wolfhard and Kim’s careless deliveries to Grace’s insistent frown. It is impossible to root for or sympathize with anyone given how signed they are and that their only function is to fit in with the already existing character dynamics left over from previous Ghostbusters films. And while some may applaud Afterlife for making STEM-obsessed Phoebe the main character in the film, it is disappointing that the film falls into the same trap as Star Wars: Skywalker, with the assumption that female characters can have only strength. when they are associated with famous male characters that the public already likes.
Everything serves as Easter eggs or recycled elements, from the return of Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (admittedly in the funniest and most disruptive scene in the movie) to remaking the stocky, hungry Slimer into the stocky, hungry Muncher in this movie, to – of course – who- then asks: “Who will you call?” After these nods and glances forward, there is no Afterlife identity. Reitman’s career up to this point – notably Young Adult and Tully, his collaborations with Diablo Cody and Charlize Theron – has been decidedly anti-nostalgic. But Afterlife makes you wonder what Reitman retained from those previous projects or how much studio oversight was taken to turn this film into something they thought would sell. This is not an homage; it’s loyalty, but devoid of that extravagant creativity that brought this franchise to life in the first place. Ghostbusters: The Afterlife is dull stuff.
“Ghostbusters: Life After Death”
Rating: PG-13 for supernatural acts and some suggestive references.
Duration: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Plays: Starts November 19 in general release