Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the sequel to the eighties film known in this part of the world as Ghostbusters, will hit theaters until December 13, 2021, after a one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The sequel from director Ghostbusters Afterlife and co-writer Jason Reitman leans so much on his dad's original that at times it seems like a must-check list of signature elements of the super-hit. From the Cadillac Ecto-1 to the Marshmallow Man, Ghostbusters appearances survivors and even the same song by Ray Parker Jr.
The Ivan Reitman original - which gave the feel of an anarchic sketch from “Saturday Night Live” taken to the last consequences. Has been taken too seriously. He fetishizes the ghost-trapping gear and trudges on until the original actors arrive, one cynically resurrected, to give him some unearned excitement.
The film takes place several decades after the events in "Ghostbusters", and changes the urban environment for a rural one, ignoring the other sequels. It focuses on a struggling single mother, Callie (played by a stiff Carrie Coon), and her two sons, teenage Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and her science-loving daughter Phoebe (Mckenna Grace, who participates in the soundtrack with a song appropriately titled "Haunted House").
So here is a better movie than the crybabies deserve. All of the original cast are back for one of the most indifferently received films of the year. That’s not entirely fair. Right up until the last half-hour finds migraine-inducing new levels of fan service, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a serviceable post-Stranger Things Spielbergian yarn, replete with absent fathers, smalltown adventures, puppy love, and - oh - Finn Wolfhard.
After Callie's estranged father dies, the family packs up to move to their dilapidated estate in Summerville, Oklahoma where the boys realize their grandfather was the famous ghostbuster Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis), who abandoned his mother for unknown reasons and has not been forgiven. "A little advice," says the mother to her children. "Don't go chasing ghosts."
Supernatural things happen in the first hour, and it's fitting that "Stranger Things" famous Wolfhard is here to mix that series' vibe with a Steven Spielberg movie of his own that follows stressed-out suburban parents and their quirky kids. (The family motto is "Don't be yourself!"). There are chess pieces that move by themselves, flashlights, and proton packs to play with.
Remember when an online army of crybabies lost their minds over Paul Feig’s gender-swapped Ghostbusters and hounded Leslie Jones off the internet? Remember how the same folks cheered when this sequel to Ghostbusters 2 was announced with Jason Reitman, son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, attached? Did it matter that nothing in Jason Reitman’s illustrious career as the maker of bittersweet dramedies Up in the Air and Juno, signals his suitability for the gig? Did it heck?
The amount of acting talent wasted on this film is staggering, from a creature named Muncher “with the voice” of Josh Gad (making eating noises) to Logan Kim playing a boy interested in podcasts and great actors J.K. Simmons and Tracey Letts (actor and playwright married in real life to Coon). Mom's heartthrob is Paul Rudd as a handsome teacher, but the "Sexiest Man Alive" of 2021 can't light comic sparks because of so much ghost slime.
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” winds like an evening special - guys, did you know science can be interesting? - until the inevitable happens: original stars Bill Murray Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson arrive in the last 10 minutes to save the day (curiously, supporting actresses Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver also appear, but they are marginalized). And then the turning point occurs: Ramis heroically reappears thanks to the supernatural power of computers, a moment that can seem honorificly crude or incredibly insensitive.
"What the hell is going on?" Asks a girl and she's right. Poorly edited, the film's music must often indicate to the viewer what he should be feeling. Poorly explained, the plot depends on an audience that already knows the first film and especially the villains themselves: Gozer, the Guardian and the Master of Keys. Come on, at least update the bad guys!
Once viewers realize that it is merely a compilation of greatest hits, they can feel comfortable and anticipate the reappearance of dialogue such as "Who you gonna call?" ("Who are you going to call?"). After all, this is not a movie that can stand on its own; it's more like half a movie in the shadow of his father's. It's a movie made to sell more lunch boxes.
"Ghostbusters: Afterlife," a Sony Pictures premiere, debuts in theaters in the United States and Latin America this weekend. It is rated PG-13 (advising parents that it may be inappropriate for children under 13 years of age) from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for "supernatural action and some suggestive references." Duration: 124 minutes. One star out of four.