Ghostbusters: Afterlife, 2021.
Directed by Jason Reitman.
Starring Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Bokeem Woodbine, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver.
The Ghostbusters franchise continues with Afterlife, which features Egon Spengler’s grandkids taking up the ghostbusting mantle with some new friends. Now the film is out on Blu-ray, with a nice batch of bonus features and a code for a digital copy.
I enjoyed Sony’s 2016 Ghostbusters reboot. It’s a shame the film didn’t get a fair shake from a certain segment of the population that was aghast at women taking on the lead roles in the film.
That said, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the 1984 original, so I was intrigued when I saw the first trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Could it build on the legacy of the original while staying true to itself as a modern movie?
I’m happy to say it can, thanks in part to Paul Rudd giving the film an extra boost in his role as Gary Grooberson, a summer school teacher who befriends Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), Egon Spengler’s misfit granddaughter who loves science too. She, her mother (Carrie Coon), and her brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) move to Egon’s home after he dies.
Their mom is down on her luck financially and is hoping her father left her something of value. Phoebe finds plenty of value in her grandfather’s old ghostbusting equipment, and her brother uncovers the original Ecto 1 vehicle and puts his mechanic skills to use restoring it. Soon the two of them, Phoebe’s friend Podcast, and Trevor’s would-be girlfriend Lucky are pulled into a struggle to save the world from Gozer’s latest manifestation.
The story is very reminiscent of the first film in many ways, right down to two of the characters turning into the dog-like Keymaster and Gatekeeper and keeping watch as Gozer descends the steps of her temple. However, that’s forgivable for a movie like this one, which is essentially looking to reboot the series while paying homage to what has come before. It’s similar to the way that The Force Awakens mimicked the first Star Wars movie while setting up a new trilogy for a new era.
The bonus features found here aren’t copious, and there’s no commentary track, but they’re about an hour in total and should satisfy Ghostbusters fans. The extras include:
- Summoning the Spirit: Making Ghostbusters: Afterlife (20 minutes): The cast and crew talk about the making of the movie, from the earliest idea that director Jason Reitman had to its completion. It’s a pretty standard featurette, but it’s still worth watching for fans.
- The Gearhead’s Guide to Ghostbuster Gadgets (6 minutes): The Ghostbusters in this movie have more gadgets available to them than PKE meters, proton packs, and traps, and this featurette digs into that aspect of the film. The idea is that Egon had 30 years to come up with new stuff, so no “But they didn’t have that in the first two movies!” complaints from anyone.
- Spectral Effects: The Ghosts of Afterlife (6.5 minutes): Not all the effects were CGI, and this featurette gets into the various digital and practical ways the ghosts were brought to life.
- Bringing Ecto-1 Back to Life (5 minutes): The iconic Ghostbusters vehicle is back, of course, and this is a look at how it was revived for the modern era. Fun fact: They built two cars for the movie, plus a third for soundstage work, and recreated the original look and feel down to the license plates.
- We Got One! Easter Eggs Revealed (8 minutes): Beyond the obvious callbacks, there are tons of other things hidden in the movie, and this featurette digs into all of them. I don’t think I would have ever guessed where the pattern on one of Phoebe’s shirts came from.
- Ghostbusters: A Look Back (10.5 minutes): Ivan Reitman, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver talk about the original movies, with particular emphasis given to the first one, of course. Akroyd lobbies heavily for a prequel called Ghostbusters High, much to everyone’s amusement.
- A Look Ahead (3.75 minutes): The same folks, minus Potts and Weaver but including Jason Reitman, talk about reuniting for the new movie.
- Deleted scene (1.5 minutes): Called “Is it ever too late?”, this scene features Potts’ character, Janine Melnitz, talking to Egon’s daughter and grandkids about the house they’ve inherited. There are a couple touching moments in this scene that probably could have merited its inclusion in the film.
A code for a digital copy rounds out this release.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★