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Ghostbusters: Afterlife Cannoli Send a noteboard - 23/11/2021 05:37:31 AM

This is a sequel and a reboot of sorts for the franchise. Plotwise, Aftermath is a direct sequel to Ghostbusters 1 & 2 (much more heavily referencing the first movie. Actually, come to think of it, there might not even have been any acknowledgement of the second at all. The most I can say for sure is that it does not deny or contradict its existence), but it's a different sort of movie that hopes to set up new sequels with a new cast.

The film starts with mysterious happenings at a rundown farm in the middle of nowhere. Then the main character family, a single mother and her teenage son and preteen daughter, Trevor and Phoebe (Finn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace) is introduced in desperate straits, broke and evicted, so they move to that same farm, which was left to the mom by her late father, with whom she has a bad relationship. The farm is basically tapped as well, with no money to use, as explained by Janine, the original Ghostbusters' secretary, who handled the business end of things for the prior owner, so they settle down there, as it's all they have.

The mom, Callie (Carrie Coons), is the daughter of Egon, from the Ghostbusters, so when the kids start poking around the buildings of the farm, they begin finding paraphernalia from their grandfather's work, and Phoebe begins encountering preternatural phenomena, in conjunction with her bonding with her science teacher, played by Paul Rudd, who has made his own observations of inexplicable events. Trevor flails around in pursuit of a theoretically attractive local girl. Little by little, with some nudges from an unknown entity, the kids and their friends begin taking up the mantle of their grandfather and seeking out information about his ghostbusting job, in order to stop the paranormal threat Egon came to the area to combat.

This is not a comedy on the order of the first one, and as the 2016 remake failed to be. It's more on the order of a teen paranormal adventure, which is turning into a typecasting for Wolfhard (Stranger Things, It) by this time, especially when you mix in the 80s nostalgia element. Where I criticized the 2016 film for failing to create a group dynamic, this new crew has a similar vibe to the original, even if they don't interact much except when working together in the final act. But they are also not really convincing as a unit like the Ghostbusters, which consisted of grown men, three of whom with advanced educations. The film does the bare minimum to justify their ability to handle the equipment, and wisely, does not rely on the kids to actually save the day at the end.

More than a reboot or setup though, this movie is a heavy tribute to the original film. The original Ghostbusters are referenced heavily, but barely in the movie (probably for the best, given their ages). The older actors appear in three scenes during the movie proper and two post-credit scenes. Two of those three serve more of a purpose of catching up the audience with what happened to the after the prior movies (as does one of the post-credit scenes, while other, if not for the ages of the performers, could easily have been deleted footage from either of the first two films). The paranormal plot, when it finally gets moving, is an interesting expansion of the first film.

This might give the impression this is a "Force Awakens" style rehash, but I don't think it really is. It's more like telling a continuation of the story from another perspective (which, to be fair, one could say about Force Awakens, except in this, we don't go through identical plot elements, just similar beats that any action movie would have). It also has a lot of heart and can be surprisingly touching at times. Carrie Coons' performance is kind of brave, playing an authentically unpleasant and off-putting single mother, rather than a noble, self-sacrificing heroine such characters are usually depicted as. Rudd is doing his thing, but with less of the usual snark, and more of a wide-eyed nerd excitedly savoring a new discovery. His eagerness is (probably deliberately) reminiscent of Rick Moranis' Louis Tully. Phoebe is a version of the science-nerd-girl that genre movies seem obligated to insert, but done right and not at all obnoxious or intrusive or idolized (especially since Grace has most typically been cast as young flashback versions of obnoxious heroines). She makes friends with an off-putting and improbable fellow outcast, who is called Podcast, and goes everywhere rigged up with recording equipment and affecting a journalistic/documentarian narration, and was not nearly as intolerable as I usually find such characters. Their friendship is portrayed not as outcasts bonding but as two freaks whose lack of normal social comprehension and behavior dovetails sufficiently to allow them to function together when their respective interests overlap in examining the local oddities.

The heart of the movie lies in the way Phoebe's story becomes as much a search for her grandfather as answers to the paranormal mysteries, being the closest thing to a kindred spirit among her family and acquaintances, and how it pays off both the character and plot elements while servicing the film's Doylist function of delivering nostalgia and tribute to the original film and characters.

There's flaws in this movie, and I'm sure a partisan or ideologically-motivated critic could show that it was no better or made equally egregious mistakes to the 2016 film. But the heart I mentioned comes out and sands them down. It might be just as calculated in its references as 2016, but it feels like it's trying work with 1984, while 2016 wanted to elevate itself at the expense of '84. It's basically a nicer movie than 2016 (and probably even 1984), and while it's not all that funny, at least the reason there is because it was not trying to be.

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Ghostbusters: Afterlife - 23/11/2021 05:37:31 AM 33 Views

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