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Release Date: November 19th, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2021

Ghostbusters: Afterlife - Theatrical Review

Overview -

Ghostbusters took the world by storm in 1984 and became an instant pop-culture icon that has lasted four decades and is still going strong. Through a sequel, a revamp, a cartoon, and numerous comic books and stories, the Ghostbusters and their work have been entertaining audiences of all ages for a long time. After nearly forty years, original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman has returned to the classic ghostbusting world as a producer with his son Jason Reitman taking the reigns and telling a continuation through the child-like view he grew up with. The result - Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a fun and entertaining look through the eyes of kids rather than adults in this spooky world of the supernatural. Recommended! 

In Theaters Friday, November 19th - Order Your Tickets on Fandango!


Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
November 19th, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Jason Reitman has certainly made a name for himself over the years with films like Up In The Air, Juno, and Thank You For Smoking. But never did he really crawl into his father's footsteps of madcap comedy. That is until now with Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The millions upon millions of people who watched the original Ghostbusters in the 1980s have felt some sort of kinship with those characters and stories. But for Jason, it must have been something different with being on set and watching his dad work with some of the best comedians of that era. After all those years, Jason has stepped up to the plate and is at-bat with this beloved franchise. What works so well with the original Ghostbusters film is its mix of adult and childlike humor set against a fairly horrifying backdrop where an evil god wants to destroy humanity and make the world in a reign of blood and darkness for eternity.

The original was basically four out-of-work science professors who team up as spectral janitors capturing ghosts making money and cleaning up the city. Back then, it was alright to show some light sexual references with jokes that kids wouldn't understand, but would still love the film. It could be scary and adult but safe for the little ones in the room. Nowadays, that's just not the case. One thing Jason has done with Ghostbusters: Afterlife is changing the perspective from adults to young kids, which is mostly void of any true jokes or hilarious iconic moments like what the original film had. Sure, there are some laugh-out-loud moments with Paul Rudd, but it's done in a big nostalgic way. Ghostbusters: Afterlife feels more like an '80s Spielberg movie than a true comedic Ghostbusters film. And truthfully, that's okay because there are some great, emotional moments to be had here. Fans have been itching for that nostalgia for quite some time.

The kids in question are Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), whose mother is struggling to raise them without a father. After they get evicted, the family moves out to the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma where their absent grandfather has just passed away and left them his farm and land. The townsfolk knew him to be a strange fellow who would buy oddities and label his place as the dirt farm. Once they get settled in, Phoebe who has a penchant for science starts to realize there are other forces at work in her life of the supernatural kind. This sets off a chain of events where big nostalgic scenes start flowing like a waterfall. In nearly every scene reveals some iconic wardrobe pieces, vehicles, and characters. The problem is these nostalgic moments come too often and the desire to remind people of original Ghostbusters tidbits seems to be the major factor in making the film.

It's great to see these objects and events take place once again forty years later, but it also feels redundant and forced. The best elements for Afterlife come from Grace's Phoebe as she struggles with her scientific, nerdy personality in making friends in a new town. She's a fantastic character that has multiple layers of personality and grit that should be explored in a hopeful sequel. Finn's character of Trevor is good as well, but he isn't given much to go on as his character is more of a side note than anything. The newly minted sexiest man alive Paul Rudd plays the hilarious science teacher who takes an interest in Phoebe's discoveries and reveals that her findings are from some memorable historic events in New York City.

It all plays out nicely in a classic Amblin Entertainment sort of way with some exciting action sequences of the kids chasing ghosts through town and some bigger reveals that will come full circle from the first movie. There's a bit of emotional heft to the film's final act that will no doubt split fans of the franchise but in this instance, I felt it works and feels good in all the right ways. The new score that's mixed in with the familiar tunes of the first film sounds excellent and bigger than life. And be sure to stay for two end-credit scenes that hopefully will set up the franchise for more ghost busting adventures.


Video Review


Audio Review


Special Features


Final Thoughts

Ghostbusters: Afterlife looks at the iconic franchise from a child's point of view rather than adults. Even though that unique sarcastic and punchy humor of the first Ghostbusters film is vacant this time around, the amount of magic, wonder, and entertainment that this film has in store for the new, younger generation is off the charts, and for that, it succeeds. Recommended!

 In Theaters Friday, November 19th - Order Your Tickets on Fandango!