The first reviews for long-awaited sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife are in, so was it worth the thirty year wait? Well, yes, seems to be the general consensus, as critics so far have praised the performances of the cast, as well as director Jason Reitman’s efforts in bringing the beloved franchise into the modern age.
We shall begin with Deadline’s Pete Hammond, who heaps praise on Reitman, and his endeavour in successfully reinventing the long-running franchise, ultimately crafting a “warm, funny, exciting, nostalgic, emotional” adventure.
“Perhaps the real star here is Jason Reitman who, like Phoebe, rediscovers and reinvents his own family cinematic legacy and in doing so provides a warm, funny, exciting, nostalgic, emotional, and altogether winning return to the pure joy of that 1984 classic by making something that also seems very new in all the right ways.”
Rosie Knight of IGN also found much to enjoy in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, again praising Reitman’s efforts in dropping the iconic lore into the modern day, while still managing to hark back to the beloved adventures of old.
“Afterlife harks back to the age of The Goonies, but with a thoroughly modern twist. As the burgeoning ghost hunters try to save their town and themselves, there are enough Easter eggs to make a grown man cry. But those who’ve never watched a Ghostbusters movie are still in for a very fun ride, filled with cool creature work, awesome action, and more.”
A third Ghostbusters movie has been in various stages of development ever since the release of Ghostbusters II way, way back in 1989, with production on the project having stalled over and over again. Fortunately, many of the reviews so far have described a sequel that was well worth the wait, with Empire Magazine’s Olly Richards gifting the movie an exceptional 4/5, and again commending Jason Reitman’s approach to the long-awaited sequel, which they say manages to pay homage to the original movies whilst creating something fresh.
“While full of love for the originals, Jason Reitman’s film firmly establishes its own new generation. On the potential here, Ghostbusters still has plenty of life in it.”
CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell was sadly less enamoured with the outing. While he praised McKenna Grace’s lead performance, he felt that the movie does loses its way too often. “McKenna Grace makes the franchise her own, instead of borrowing a part in someone else’s game. Bustin’ might have felt better if the rest of the movie committed to that revolution, but for now, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a sometimes rousing, sometimes amusing, and sometimes unbalanced continuation of a beloved franchise that Hollywood doesn’t want to see die.”
Entertainment Weekly’s Christian Holub found the movie even more at fault, stamping a C+ grade on Ghostbusters: Afterlife and saying, “Anyone looking for connections to the original ’80s blockbusters will find what they’re looking for, but it’s hard to imagine Ghostbusters: Afterlife minting a new generation of fans.”
While Courtney Howard of indieWire found much to enjoy about Ghostbusters: Afterlife, including the female leads and contemporary reinvention of some of the franchise’s attributes, they too found the movie to be flawed, most notably due to its inability to untie itself from the original movie enough, leading to a dependency on nostalgia.
“Despite a fresh, female-forward spin and clever evolutions of its hallmarks, this resurrection of a beloved franchise suffers from an over-reliance on its previous life.”
Thankfully, the positivity picks up again courtesy of Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter, who said, “Afterlife’s engaging cast has the comic beats down, and they also play more fully fleshed people than the first film offered, reflecting the director’s interest in character-driven stories.”
Finally, Eric Francisco of Inverse even found Ghostbusters: Afterlife to be an improvement on the iconic original in some aspects, most notably the action and horror elements.
“[T]he movie is keenly aware of the original’s most important legacy: its genre-blend of action, comedy, and horror. Afterlife takes the 1984 film and cranks up the volume for 2021. The action is more visceral – a midpoint chase with the Ecto-1 could encourage Fast & Furious to take notes – while the series’ unique flavor of horror is more fierce than the originals could dream.”
Set thirty years after the 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II, Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows a family who move to a small town, where they discover their connection to the original ghost-busting team. After being evicted from their home, single mother and daughter of the late, great Dr. Egon Spengler, Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two children, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), are forced to move to a decayed farmhouse in Summerville, Oklahoma, left to them by the children’s late grandfather, where a series of unexplained earthquakes are occurring despite not being situated on any fault and strange things are happening in an old mine which once belonged to the alleged occultist Ivo Shandor.
The children discover their grandfather’s history with the original Ghostbusters, who have since been largely forgotten by the world beyond their fan base. When supernatural phenomena relating to New York City’s “Manhattan Crossrip of 1984” arises and threatens the world, the kids, along with their family and friends, must solve decades-old mystery of their grandfather’s relocation and use the Ghostbusters’ equipment, and become their successors to save it.
Directed by Jason Reitman (who is, of course, the son of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II director Ivan Reitman) and written by Reitman and Gil Kenan, Ghostbusters: Afterlife stars Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace and Paul Rudd. The long, long-awaited sequel also finds the original movie’s core cast returning to their respective roles after all these years, including Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Raymond “Ray” Stantz, Ernie Hudson as Dr. Winston Zeddemore, Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett, and Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is scheduled to be released by Sony Pictures in the United States on November 19, 2021, after being delayed four times from an original July 2020 date due to the ongoing global circumstances.