“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is a film fan’s dream come true: a charming, fun and mightily enjoyable time at the movies. This is because director Jason Reitman, son of original director Ivan Reitman, chose the path of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’
In the new movie, the late Harold Ramis’s Egon Spengler, the famed Ghostbuster, has a daughter named Callie played by Carrie Coons. Dad left her a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere called Summerville, Oklahoma. Reluctantly she moves there with her kids Trevor (Finn Wolfhard from “Stranger Things”) and Phoebe (McKenna Grace). Phoebe is a 12-year-old scientific genius, while her brother aches to fit in to any group he can. Phoebe is in summer school; the school still uses VHS’s to give you a clue to how un-hip this town is. Her teacher (the always appealing Paul Rudd) quickly realizes how wise and smart Phoebe is. Phoebe literally stumbles onto Granddad’s true identity and calling, to save the world from this supernatural threat of evil ghosts.
From there the plot unfolds, and critics have been asked not to reveal any spoilers. Suffice to say that the actors are all absolutely off the charts engaging and appealing, and boy do they have the comic beats down to a ‘science’! McKenna Grace is the beating heart of this film, and wow is she good. Her Phoebe is rebellious, smart, funny and a truthteller.
Reitman directs all his actors from a clever script he co-wrote with Gil Kenan, pitch perfectly. Kudos to Reitman for making a sequel with sincere movie love and respect, paying tribute to the themes and characters that make it so beloved and iconic. Remember the disaster that was the 2016 reboot? Not so easy, but Reitman more than succeeds. Now this generation has its own “Ghostbusters,” and a worthy tribute it is to its classic predecessor. “Afterlife” will have film nerds jumping for joy and newcomers delighted.
PS With “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” and “Spider Man: No Way Home,” Sony’s going to have an excellent season. No Oscars, but that’s what Sony Pictures Classics is for.