Review of Ghostbusters Afterlife: A Less Fun Stranger Things by Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ghostbusters: Afterlife – released in theaters on Friday – is a film with roots in the past and created after the image of his contemporaries. There’s a huge spectrum of Stranger Things hanging over Ghostbusters: Afterlife. After all, the Netflix series is the current gold standard of pop culture for children battling evil supernatural creatures. Ghostbusters: Afterlife not only abandons the adult association formula that the Ghostbusters movie series has used so far, director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) even chose a Stranger Things actor from Finn Wolfhard for Ghostbusters . Like the Netflix series, the new Ghostbusters movie takes place in a fictional American city. Summerville, Oklahoma takes Hawkins, Indiana. The story is set nowadays, but Reitman uses a trick to eliminate all modern technology.

Reitman – who is also a writer with Gil Kenan (Monster House) – seems to have created Ghostbusters: Afterlife after watching Stranger Things from all points of view. This is a great tribute at one point in season 2 of Stranger Things – which took place in 1984, the year in which the first Ghostbusters the film appeared in theaters – the Duffer brothers put the Hawkins team dressed in Ghostbusters costumes. But Stranger Things isn’t the only SF property inspired by Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

If you are trying to make a safe and calculated sequel to the soft reboot of a much-loved Hollywood original over 30 years later, the obvious plan is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As JJ Abrams did in a galaxy far, far away, Reitman touches on a lot of the rhythms of the original film – except for the new characters in the new sets. Like Abrams, Reitman spreads Ghostbusters equipment that the audience has a nostalgic attachment to in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The Ectomobil car is the falcon of the millennium, the protons are wrapping the laser swords of this world. The original band has also returned, although, unlike Star Wars, there are no legends here, but they are largely forgotten. A villain returns – played by a new actress – in a useless capacity, similar to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife isn’t as servile to its original film as The Force Awakens, but it’s not nearly as enjoyable. For what it’s worth, Reitman is trying to create a new voice for the Ghostbusters series – abandoning New York and Bill Murray-style dry intelligence for a family-friendly adventure, as Steven Spielberg did (whom Abrams imitated nice with his Super). 8). He fools the Ecto-1 with a folding tuner seat and a floor hatch that releases a remotely controlled phantom trap. It’s great, although I found it hilarious how the RC trap kept up with the speed of the Ecto-1.

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But Reitman uses these elements to do what the original Ghostbusters did; there’s a Slimer action sequence, though now it’s blue and it’s called Muncher (voiced by Josh Gad, Olaf from Frozen). And instead of a huge Stay Puft Marshmallow Man terrorizing New Yorkers, we have a bunch of little ones in an empty Walmart who rejoice in melting, frying, stirring, making skewers, and putting on each other. Disturbingly, Ghostbusters: Afterlife doubles the nostalgia for the end – which cancels out the good work Reitman is signaling for most of his film.

Set more than three decades after the events of the first film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows a family of three: single mother Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon from The Leftovers) and her two children, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace). , from Talented). Yes, I am the daughter, grandson and niece of the late Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), who was killed on screen after the actor’s disappearance in 2014. But Egon is not fondly remembered by anyone – Callie hates him for leaving his family in New York. and he moved to Summerville never to be seen again, and everyone in Summerville only knew him as the “Dirty Farmer” because the guy worked his land, but he didn’t cultivate anything. But after Egon goes out, the moneyless thugs arrive in Summerville hoping to sell the house.

Watching the family of one of the original Ghostbusters is an obvious way to connect with the original movie. Ghostbusters fans would know that this happens behind the scenes – Jason is actually the son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, who is the producer of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. It is far from a case of nepotism; led by George Clooney and Vera Farmiga Up in the air is an award-winning film, as it is June with Elliot Page and Michael Cera. And to be honest, Jason is better at developing the character than his father was in the original Ghostbusters.

Phoebe is a really great character. She is intelligent, curious and undisturbed – a born scientist, unlike her mother, who has no interest in science, probably because her father stole it. But Phoebe is also struggling to make friends. It probably doesn’t help that her jokes aren’t for everyone. She doesn’t process emotion like everyone else, she admits (Phoebe is the author? Ghostbusters: Afterlife doesn’t say directly, which I prefer). Nor does she respond to stimuli – as she puts it, an overexposure to something enthusiastic or terrifying calms her down. This is what makes a character fearless and uniquely confident, who is always eager to explore. It may be billed third because of the power of Coon and Wolfhard, but Grace is the real leader here – Phoebe is the heart and soul of the film.

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Paul Rudd as Gary Grooberson, Carrie Coon as Callie Spengler in Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Photo credit: Kimberley French / Sony Pictures

After the Spenglers arrive in Summerville, Ghostbusters: Afterlife throws them into their new lives. Phoebe begins reluctantly at the “public” summer school, where seismologist Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd, from The ant man) play movies for children, rather than teach them. There, he makes a new friend on the Podcast (newcomer Logan Kim) who calls himself that because he has – you guessed it – a podcast. Meanwhile, in an attempt to court a girl, Trevor begins to work at a restaurant only to realize the annoying work involved. He soon discovers that Summerville is not only a sad place, it is also a curious one. Earthquakes occur almost daily, even if Summerville is nowhere near the fault lines. Phoebe and Podcast begin investigating with Grooberson’s help.

There are several scenes that affect children, especially when trying to discover the old Ghostbusters technology. But Reitman can’t make them play each other in a way that creates a boost for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The podcast is a joy from the start – but it becomes a narrative device for the new Ghostbusters movie, similar to Harish Patel’s Karun from Marvel. eternal – because Podcast provides live feedback on their adventures. He kind of breaks the fourth wall, creating a movie of their lives. Wolfhard is wasted because he seems to exist only to be the new Ecto-1 driver for the gang later. There’s also a leap in logic in the way kids go from not knowing anything about Ghostbusters to understanding all the issues pretty soon – I bet there’s a version of Ghostbusters: Afterlife that connects the dots more organically.

Annoyingly, the adult characters in Ghostbusters: Afterlife receive an even shorter move. Problems with Callie’s father can be identified instantly, but only because Coon is a great actress. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t give it much time – it’s a bit of a big deal for someone who can bring so much to any performance. This is also true for Rudd, who is always great at comedy stuff, but works a little here. Not only does Ghostbusters: Afterlife waste Coon and Rudd, but it also has terribly useless roles for JK Simmons and Olivia Wilde – it will be a spoiler to say who is playing.

And we didn’t even talk about the old band’s nostalgic cash-on returns, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson. Even though everyone knows about it, Sony has done its best to hide them everywhere in marketing. Unfortunately, they have little to do in film. In fact, the old Ghostbusters crew probably has more lines and time in the two post-credits scenes, one of which tries its best to tease the future of the struggling Ghostbusters franchise.

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Finn Wolfhard as Trevor, Mckenna Grace as Phoebe, Logan Kim as Podcast in Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Photo credit: Kimberley French / Sony Pictures

Around their arrival, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is lost. Not only does Reitman go with nostalgia, but the director also opts for an inorganic, sentimental and sugary ending. It doesn’t make sense how or why they find their way to Summerville. The highlight is small photos and dialogues, recreating from the original Ghostbusters movie and the beginning of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. And he tries his best to shed the tears of the fans – he is unsuccessful and wrong in his desire to put an orderly bow on the whole thing. What makes it more annoying is that Reitman spends much of the film trying to create a new language for Ghostbusters, only to give it all up in the third act for a safe approach that screams, “This version has been tested the most. good with the majority of the public ”.

Reitman is unable to update Ghostbusters for today. Ghostbusters is one of the many fantastic / supernatural properties in Hollywood that turned to Eastern cultures – this is the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, Sumer – to create its “exotic” mythologies. Not enough people cared about this in the 1980’s, but this is limited to the inexcusable in 2021. The main villain Gozer, named after a Sumerian goddess, is played by a white woman in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. And Gozer’s only goal is to bring about the apocalypse – it doesn’t make much sense at all. It is a complete cultural approach, with the sole purpose of seasoning a Hollywood movie franchise. It feels awful.

For a series that produced a good movie (the original is dated in some respects) and a bunch of sequels / spin-offs that are best forgotten, Ghostbusters has a huge impact on pop culture. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is not even the first attempt to revive Ghostbusters – I had exclusively female restart In 2016, this failed miserably, which Reitman chooses to ignore completely as if it had never happened. There is no reference to anything. And that’s why it really exists – to clean the slate and make room for more sequelae. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a clear attempt to revive the franchise for a younger audience, thus matching the Hollywood target audience and its entire four-quadrant blockbuster philosophy. It’s all about giving Sony Pictures a new stream of revenue.

If Sony were as opportunistic as other Hollywood studios. Watching Ghostbusters: Afterlife, I couldn’t help but feel that maybe Reitman should have fully embraced his double inspiration: Stranger Things and Star Wars. I’m talking about turning Ghostbusters into a TV series. Stranger Things is good because it has time to develop its characters, Ghostbusters: Afterlife could have used that. Star Wars was a huge hit in TV (with The Mandalorian), while his films were shaken. But since Sony doesn’t have its own streaming service in the US, I imagine this thought never crossed their minds.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife appears on Friday, November 19, in India and elsewhere.

Updated: March 13, 2022 — 4:54 pm

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