Sunday, October 16, 2022

Ghostbusters: Afterlife


Based on the film series written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis that was directed by Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the story set more than 30 years after events in New York City in which a single mother and her two teenage kids inherit a home from her late father who had discovered something terrifying as it related to his old job as a Ghostbuster. Directed by Jason Reitman and screenplay by Reitman and Gil Kenan, the film is the third part in a film series that began in 1984 with a sequel five years later as it explore a family in a small town in Oklahoma who discover what a woman’s estranged father had discovered. Starring Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Bokeem Woodbine, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, and Bill Murray. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is an exhilarating and adventurous film from Jason Reitman.

Set in a small town in Oklahoma, the film follows a single mother and her two teenage kids who have been evicted from their home in Chicago where they inherited the home of that woman’s father whom she never knew where her kids discovered an event that their grandfather was trying to prevent before his passing. It is a film in which a family doesn’t just discover a legacy this man had left behind but also a chance to finish something that he wanted to prevent in order to save the world. The film’s screenplay by Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan opens with an old man driving out of a cave and waiting for a ghost to arrive at his home and then cut to another city where this woman in Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon) has just been evicted from her Chicago apartment as she and her two teenage kids in Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) travel to Summerville, Oklahoma where they live in the home of Callie’s estranged father Egon whom the town refers to as the Dirt Farmer. The script is largely straightforward in its narrative yet it does a lot in exploring not just Callie’s resentment towards her father whom she felt abandoned her but also her two kids who are just trying to find themselves in this new town.

Phoebe is the most compelling of the Spengler kids as she is someone who loves science and is offbeat as she is the first to discover things in her grandfather’s home as it allowed her to get to know who he is. While Trevor isn’t as developed as his younger sister as he’s just a 15-year old kid trying to get a summer job and win over his co-worker in Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor) at drive-in restaurant they work at. He does manage to discover something in the mountain above the cave as well as fix up a car he found in the garage that was the Ecto-1 car the Ghostbusters used in their exploits in the 1980s. The script also play into what Egon is trying to deal with and stop from preventing as it is clear that it related to events that happened in 1984 as Trevor, Phoebe, Lucky, and Phoebe’s classmate Podcast (Logan Kim) try to stop it while Callie is in a subplot where she finds herself fascinated by Phoebe’s science teacher Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) who is a fan of the Ghostbusters as he is suspicious about the earthquakes that is happening in Summerville leading to some big revelations over what everyone has to face.

Reitman’s direction is sprawling in terms of its setting as it is shot on location in areas around Calgary, Alberta in Canada along with a few bits in New York City as it play into a world as if nothing serious is happening though it opens with a chase in which Egon Spengler (Bob Gunton and Ivan Reitman) are awaiting for something to happen only to later be attacked and die of a heart attack. While there are some unique wide shots of the locations that Reitman uses in the film including the scale of Spengler’s farm what he has hidden under his crops. Reitman does maintain an intimacy as well as some style in the medium shots and close-ups that does include moments where Phoebe discovers things about her grandfather as including the ghost trap and the proton pack that her grandfather was updating. There are moments that are funny that involve Phoebe, Podcast, and Gary Grooberson trying to open a ghost trap as well as Grooberson geeking out over the proton pack that Phoebe was using during a chase with Trevor and Podcast.

Reitman definitely creates some callbacks to the previous films that his father helmed but also what happened to the Ghostbusters after the events from the second film and why Spengler went crazy though what Phoebe, Trevor, and eventually Callie discover is that there’s something bigger that is emerging with their old enemy Gozer (Olivia Wilde and Emma Portner, with the voice of Shohreh Aghdashloo) whose arrival in New York City back in 1984 was small compared to what she wanted to do in Summerville. The film’s climax is definitely grand as it doesn’t just have callbacks from the events of 1984 but with much bigger stakes as well as twelve-year-old girl who proves that she too can go against an evil spirit through just sheer will and brains. Especially as the film does serve as a fitting tribute to one of its creators as the film is sort about legacy but also what a parent does for their children. Overall, Reitman crafts a thrilling and enjoyable film about a single mother and her teenage kids finishing up a man’s quest to stop ghosts from creating havoc around the world.

Cinematographer Eric Steelberg does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography in the way many of the daytime locations look in its natural setting along with some elaborating lighting for some of the interior/exterior scenes at night. Editors Dana Glauberman and Nathan Orloff do excellent work with the editing with its stylish approach to fast-cutting for some of the action scenes but also knowing when to slow down in order to have shots linger for a bit including some of the funnier moments in the film. Production designer Francois Audouy and supervising set decorator Peter Lando do amazing work with the look of the Spengler farm with some of its rooms including a secret basement as well as the look of the old Ecto-1 car that is in ruins as well as the look of the Shandor cave in its interiors. Costume designer Danny Glicker does fantastic work with the costumes as it is largely casual including the Ghostbuster jumpsuits. Special makeup and live action creature effects designer Arjen Tuiten, as well as Muncher designer Brynn Metheney, does incredible work with the look of Gozer and some of the creatures as well as the Slimer-like creature known as Muncher who can eat metal.

Special effects supervisors Michael Gibney and Elia P. Popov, with visual effects supervisors Michael “Tiny” Alcorn, Sheena Dugal, Alessandro Ongaro, Shirkanth Patil, and Raul Perez, do terrific work with the visual effects in not just using practical effects for some of the design of the monsters and props but also digital effects in the look of the ghosts and a few other bits. Sound editors Will Files and Perry Robertson, along with sound designers Scott Sanders and Chris Terhune, do superb work with the sound as it has some unique sound effects as well as the sound of the Ecto-1 siren and the way the proton pack sounds when it’s on as it help add to the film’s tone. The film’s music by Rob Simonsen is wonderful for its exhilarating orchestral score that has elements of humor and adventure along with somber strings for some of the dramatic moments. The film’s music soundtrack not only features some motifs from the two previous films that was scored by Elmer Bernstein but also music from the Buzzcocks, Funkadelic, Shirley Ellis, the Shirelles, Otis Rush, Willie Nelson, the Delmore Brothers, the Newday, Kelly’s Lot, an original song by Mckenna Grace, and the iconic theme song from the 1984 film by Ray Parker Jr.

The casting by John Papsidera and Ali Safdari is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Tracy Letts as a warehouse store owner, Josh Gad as the voice of Muncher, the trio of Ira Heden, Sarah Natochenny, and Shelby Young as the voices of the mini-Stay Puft marshmallow men, Stella Aykroyd as deputy Medjuck, Bokeem Woodbine as Lucky’s father in Sheriff Domingo, and as the body doubles for Egon Spengler via shadows in Bob Gunton for the opening scene and Ivan Reitman as a stand-in for the ghost version of Spengler with digital effects utilizing the face of the late Harold Ramis. For the role of Gozer, Olivia Wilde brings an un-credited cameo as the physical version of the character with Emma Portner as the spiritual version of Gozer with Shohreh Aghdashloo providing the voice of Gozer as they do terrific work in that character. J.K. Simmons is superb in his cameo as Ivor Shandor as the man who created a temple for Gozer as he is seen as a sleeping body who only wakes up for Gozer.

From the previous films who makes special appearances, the performances of Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz, Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore, Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz, and Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett are an absolute joy to watch in not just being fan service but also playing a key role to the story with exception of Weaver whose cameo appears in a comical post-credit scene that is a call-back to Venkman’s exploits as a professor with Weaver being the one in control. Still, Aykroyd, Murray, Hudson, and Potts do help bring important moments that are inspirational to the younger cast but also set the seeds for a possible future. Paul Rudd is fantastic as Gary Grooberson as a science teacher who teaches at summer school who is also a geek for the Ghostbusters while is also someone who notices how smart Phoebe is where he would have an unfortunate encounter with a ghost. Celeste O’Connor is excellent as Lucky Domingo as a 16/17-year old girl who works at a restaurant as she befriends Trevor while also helps them in dealing with ghosts as she proves to be tough and resourceful.

Logan Kim is brilliant as Podcast as Phoebe’s new classmate who is fascinated by the paranormal and other strange things as he has a podcast of his own while also taking part in many adventures in chasing ghosts. Carrie Coon is amazing as Callie Spengler as the estranged daughter of Egon as she is just dealing with the chaos in her life as well as resentment towards her father where she would discover things about him in why he was never around. Finn Wolfhard is incredible as Trevor Spengler as a 15-year old kid who knows how to fix cars and such as he is trying to figure himself out where he takes part in the fun of catching ghosts as a way to get to know his grandfather while also realizing something bad is happening in Summerville. Finally, there’s Mckenna Grace in a phenomenal performance as Phoebe Spengler as the 12-year old granddaughter of Egon Spengler who is a total nerd that loves science and is always smarter than a lot of people older than her. It is a performance that is filled with humor as she says some bad jokes while also proving she is a lot more powerful and determined to kick some ass as it is a major breakthrough for Grace.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a sensational film from Jason Reitman that features great performances from Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Carrie Coon, and Paul Rudd. Along with its supporting cast including people from the previous films, dazzling visual effects, a compelling story on loss and legacy, an exhilarating music soundtrack, and its sense of adventure. It is a film that isn’t just something fans of the film series from the 1980s would enjoy for its callbacks but it is also a film that offers something new while being a tribute to two of its creators in Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman. In the end, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a spectacular film from Jason Reitman.

Jason Reitman Films: Thank You for Smoking - Juno - Up in the Air - Young Adult - Labor Day - (Men, Women, & Children) – Tully (2018 film) - The Front Runner

Related: (Ghostbusters) – (Ghostbusters II) – Ghostbusters (2016 film) - The Auteurs #30: Jason Reitman

© thevoid99 2022


SJHoneywell said...

I really enjoyed this a great deal. I went into it with some real reservations, but they were handled quickly. I liked the story and the characters, and I really like how this played with the mythology of the Ghostbusters universe.

thevoid99 said...

@SJHoneywell-It was better than I thought it would be as I will totally on board for a sequel with Jason Reitman at the helm with the main cast while it would be something of its own with a few callbacks to the original film series.