When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.
THE GOOD STUFF:
-MCKENNA GRACE– Chances are if you’re familiar with McKenna Grace, it is because some of her most notable roles are playing younger versions of prominent characters in big projects (Captain Marvel, Malignant, I Tonya, the 2020 version of Scooby-Doo, the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) A while back she was in a movie called GIFTED (2017) Once I saw that film, I told whoever was willing to listen that Mckenna Grace was on the way. All she needed was the right type of flick to show people that she can carry something major…and up until now, she hasn’t gotten that opportunity.
Grace is the heart and soul of the film, and carries the film as its main character rather effortlessly. This film does not work whatsoever if her character doesn’t exude the charm and charisma THAT one needs to head a major Hollywood tentpole. The third act of this film is a testament to McKenna Grace quite possibly being the best young actor in the game right now. I would say I’m surprised, but I’m honestly not surprised at how good she is.
-THE CINEMATOGRAPHY- At some point in the middle of the first act I couldn’t help but to be taken aback at how beautiful everything looked. All the shots of small town rural Oklahoma look fit for a tentpole such as this one. This is a movie that is fit for IMAX and has nothing to do with the CGI. In terms of the scenic visuals this movie wildly overachieved. A pleasant surprise.
-ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PREVIOUS ENTRIES- I want to be very specific in saying that this film is a flat out TRIBUTE to the late, great, Harold Ramis, and to everyone else involved in previous installments it is simply an ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RESPECT. There is a difference. The distinction between the two is very important to point out.
This is not a film that tries to build up what is left the original Ghostbusters team as the ONLY people who can help deal with the boss villains, this is not a film trying to sneak in notable quotes from the first two films to try and force nostalgia, or trying to borrow action beats from those films due to a lack of creativity. Nor is this a film (unlike the previous Ghostbusters entry) that is TRYING to be so radically DIFFERENT from the previous films, that it becomes the most notable aspect about the film itself.
The nods to the events that happened in the first two Ghostbusters movies are subtle but noticeable. This movie knows what it’s trying to be, and does not need the awesome moments from the first two films as a crutch in order to be good.
THE BAD STUFF:
-WASTED TALENT- Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon DO NOT give bad performances in this film by any means, but it needs to be said that these two actors are so good, that you can kind of forget that these are very, very, two-dimensional characters. They really are given NOTHING to do until the very end of the film, but they’re good enough actors to make you think that they’re doing a lot of things in general.
The adults in this film play out as plot devices more than they do actual characters with things to do. As good as this film was it could have been really great if this were not the case.
-FINN WOLFHARD- In mentioning the case of McKenna Grace having to play essentially the same things due to her age range, the same cannot be said anymore for Finn Wolfhard. Not too long ago he was in IT: PART ONE (2017) and he was very much comic relief. Not to be taken too seriously, and effective in doing so. It showed that he had range.
But what he’s doing in this film is a full blown extension of Mike Wheeler, his character from the series STRANGER THINGS. If you have not seen this show, then his performance in this film is fresh for you, and you’ll probably understand why he is indeed on the rise. But if you have seen the show, and you’re not some super fan of the character he plays…then his presence is really uninteresting in comparison to everything else going on in this film.
THE UGLY STUFF:
No ugly stuff. No ranting. No caps lock key activation leading me to blasting Slipknot whilst I spew bile about something I’ve come to hate. Not for a while now. I am at peace. Hopefully the winning streak continues.
Ask yourself, what is a “good tentpole flick” these days? If ETERNALS, with its super serious, heavily expositioned, slowly paced world building doesn’t feel like ENOUGH of a tentpole for you… And say F9, with its way, way, way, over the top action, cheesy 80s level one-liners, and maximized machismo feels like TOO MUCH of a tentpole for you, then GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE is comfortably somewhere in the middle.
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE is in theatres now.