Film and drama Opinion

WHAT'S ON: Ghostbusters Afterlife — the legacy lives on

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A mother and two children discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind. Digital editor Dan Jensen ain't afraid of no ghosts and checks out the long-awaited sequel to the beloved '80s classics.

★★★★☆

GHOSTBUSTERS AFTERLIFE is a perfect example of a movie that has so much to love, the flaws fade into insignificance. A sequel to the original two Ghostbusters films from 1984 and 1989 (and disregarding the attempted 2016 reboot), this is a film that is going to satisfy old school fans and likely introduce a new generation of fans to the world of busting ghosts.

The story revolves around the family of Egon Spengler (played by the late Harold Ramis in the first two films) moving into the house left to them after his passing. The remaining Ghostbusters have hung up the proton packs and moved on, their exploits becoming a thing of legend. Egon’s daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), soon discover that the surrounding area is plagued by a problem of a supernatural nature and it becomes up to the kids and their friends to carry on the Ghostbusters’ legacy.

Afterlife was directed and co-written by Jason Reitman, the son of Ivan Reitman who brought us the original films. In his own words, this is a movie “by a family about a family” and there was no one better to helm this film as it perfectly captures the feel and tone of the first two Ghostbusters movies. This is the sequel that fans have longed for since 1989.

Mckenna Grace is easily the highlight of the film as the 12-year-old granddaughter of Egon Spengler, a cynical girl who shares Egon's passion for science and technology. Not only is her character an absolute pleasure, but the performance by Grace is superb. Phoebe Spengler is one of the best characters committed to the screen this year and carries the film brilliantly.

Another delightful performance comes from Paul Rudd as the kids’ summer school science teacher, Gary Grooberson. He is essentially playing Paul Rudd, as he usually does, but that’s far from a bad thing. Rudd helps to make Afterlife a lot funnier than one might expect, elevating it to one of the most hilarious movies of the year. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments and add to the film’s charm.

One of the most beloved aspects of the ‘80s films was the way they used practical special effects to bring the supernatural elements to life. Afterlife features a lot of CG wizardry, but everything looks great and helps to enhance the story. This new chapter does a great job in retaining the feel of the previous two films, with a few familiar faces returning and fitting perfectly with the new cast. The music by Rob Simonsen cleverly uses elements of the 1984 score by Elmer Bernstein, also adding to the nostalgia.

But it’s the reliance on nostalgia that is also one of Afterlife’s biggest downfalls. The third act of the film is almost identical to that of the 1984 original. Sure, it’s explained why, but a new scenario would have been welcome. Aside from that, various things happen that serve no real purpose to the story other than to remind us of things we loved in the first film.

The only other gripe is that the kids figure out how to use the ghostbusting equipment far too quickly and easily. There’s no learning curve for things like proton packs or a remote controlled ghost trap — everyone just automatically knows how to use this advanced technology.

But while Afterlife has a few flaws, the warm and fuzzy feeling you’ll leave the theatre with makes them entirely irrelevant. This film has such a massive heart and is a touching tribute to Harold Ramis, with an emotional conclusion guaranteed to move you. The amount of fun to be had from start to finish and the number of laughs Afterlife provides are all that matter and all that you’ll remember long after seeing it.

Ghostbusters Afterlife is not only essential viewing for fans of the original films, but a perfect movie for anyone after a good time at the cinema.

Ghostbusters Afterlife opens on 1 January 2022 in cinemas across Australia.

You can follow digital editor Dan Jensen on Twitter @danjensenmovies or check out his YouTube channel, Movie Talk with Dan Jensen.

Follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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