As I sit here, about to put this new review up on Madhatterpress, a memory surfaces.
It is 1984. Its pouring of rain, as it usually does in a UK summer! I`m on holiday in Torquay with my family and I am 13 years old. We decide that my mum, dad, my brother and I, will go and see a film that’s out. That film was Ghostbusters.
Before I give you my review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, let me ask you two questions. Here we go..
1. Were you around in 1984?
2. Who ya gonna call?
If you can answer both of them with a smile on your face, then you must remember the original movie.
Afterlife introduces you to the family, our family. They are a brother and sister (Trevor and Phoebe) and their mum, Callie, who move to a small Oklahoma town and take over a farm that belonged to Callie’s estranged father. Unusual activity starts happening around their small town, which heightens Phoebe’s interest. It gives her something to focus on. She seems to have developed the scientific interest of her late grandfather. As yet, she doesn’t know he was Egon Spengler. As yet, she doesn’t know that he was a ghostbuster.
But as her interest in the supernatural happenings rises, Phoebes science teacher, Mr Grooberson, explains to her how it seems to relate to the events of the 1980s. As Phoebe reminds Mar Grooberson “that was 20 years before I was born!” While at home, Phoebe finds herself in contact with a supernatural presence, and is not scared by it. She starts investigating her family history, and all of her past starts to unravel for her.
Jason Reitman, who is the son of Ivan Reitman who directed the 1984 classic, grew up with the franchise through his dads work. Now he is the writer and producer of this one . He really has recreated the feel of the original with a modern twist. Cast your mind back, the original was four scientific misfits who didn’t quite fit into society but believe in themselves when no one else does.
Here, in Afterlife, we have four diverse kids who come together to follow a similar path. The lead character in the ensemble is Phoebe, whose logical brain and love of science hinders her socially. (Think back to the original and you’ll remember, that was Egon too). Phoebe has some of her grandfathers traits. Add in, her brother Trevor, who lies about his age to try and get a job (and the girl!).
Throw in another misfit called ‘Podcast’ – no prizes for guessing what he likes to do. He has one subscriber. I’ll give you this tidbit for free – the subscribers name is Ray Stanz!! Finally, add in the girl that Trevor’s angling to get, and there you have our four misfits.
Concentrating on McKenna Grace as Phoebe. She is well known across screen on many TV shows and films. She played Ester Keyes in The Handmaids Tale. She was a young Tonya Harding in the successful movie I, Tonya. Add into that, the movie ‘Ready Player One’, ‘Captain Marvel’ and many more. McKenna has played many roles in her young years of acting but every single one, she has made her own. Phoebe is no different. As soon as she was on screen, her acting mirrored her onscreen grandad, Egon, someone she had never met. McKenna acted beautifully in not only her role, but also honouring the original.
Ghostbusters Afterlife has injected new life into the 80s franchise. This movie is good old fashioned fun. It stays respectful to the original, in that we have the Stay-Puft marshmallow man, well men, this time. ECTO1 is back. We have a ghost with more than a passing resemblance to Slimer from the original. We also see the return of Gozer the Gozerian. We even have Janine Melnitz making an appearance. But our writer saved the best until last. Let me just say, the boys are back in town. Ray Stanz, Peter Venkman and Winston Zeddemore are here to help save the day.
I loved it. The way that Harold Ramis was brought to life for this, worked beautifully. The throwbacks to the original movie were great. I can’t be the only person that remembers the original, and smiled to see the original Ghostbusters back to save the day. I definitely can’t be the only one that was glad to hear the Ray Parker Jr theme kick in. I definitely laughed when Dana and Peter brought out the electric shock machine from the start of the original movie. Thank you for giving me a return to my childhood. But I missed hearing one thing…
“We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.”