Movie Review – Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Busting makes me feel good, 3.5 readers.

The reviews thus far aren’t great, but I liked this movie. If I have one complaint, it’s with the ending and while I found it to be an enjoyable ending, I understand why reviewers aren’t being kind.

SPOILER ALERT: I don’t think I can talk about it without giving major spoilers as well as giving the entire ending away, so look away if you don’t want literally the whole movie spoiled for you.

The movie begins with the revelation that an elderly Egon Spengler long ago abandoned his ghostbusting pals as well as his family and moved to the middle of nowhere to become a lonely, dirt farming hermit.

Thus begins the captivating mystery of the film – why on earth would Egon do such a thing?

After the nerdiest G-Buster’s untimely demise, his estranged daughter and grandchildren who he never met, financially down on their luck, move to the dilapidated farmhouse left to them and make it their new home. McKenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard’s bro/sis team Phoebe and Trevor (spitting images of Harold Ramis) team up with science teacher Mr. Grooberson to investigate the strange, supernatural doings in town, slowly but surely working their way through Egon’s left behind research and clues.

Ultimately they unravel (YOUR LAST CHANCE TO AVOID A SPOILER)…yeah, it’s just freaking Gozer and the devil dogs causing trouble again. Cue original Ghostbuster team cameo to rush to the kids’ aid and a…well I’m still debating if it’s a sweet loving tribute or blasphemous cashgrab of a cameo of a computerized Harold Ramis as a ghost. He doesn’t slime anyone or say anything really. He just finally gets to meet his grand kids and have a moment with his daughter where all is forgiven and they realize he never wanted to abandon them, he was just trying to save the world.

So…I’d say 2/3 of this movie managed to build something new, walking the fine line between fan service and going in a new direction, and then the last third is just plenty o’ fan service, callbacks, gag repeats and cameos. If they could have found, say, an entirely new threat that Egon was fighting, it might have saved the film from bad reviews but the franchise’s inability to score a modern day critical hit seems to lie with the fact that the writers can’t come with a villain other than Gozer.

It almost made it and even so, I found the ending fun just…yeah, I get why the critics have a problem with it. Still, McKenna Grace does a fun turn as a 12 year old female Spengler clone, putting her grandfather’s quirks and mannerisms on full display.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. SPOILER ALERT – A post credit scene shows us that Winston Zeddmore has become a multi-billionaire/financial genius. He proposes using his big bankroll to turn the Ghostbusting franchise into an international company so…perhaps the next film will give us Ghostbusters in Europe? Japan? Africa? Australia? Who knows? Just…well, look, I’m just a silly old fanboy from way back so if you give me the fanservice, I’ll lap it up like the dog that I am but if you want decent critic reviews, you’re going to have to come up with a villain, any villain than Gozer. Name him Schmozer or something. Make an attempt an originality.

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