Ghostbusters reboot lacks spirit

Will Ferris
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Ghostbusters: Afterlife (12A, 125 Minutes)

Who you gonna call? The CGI department!

Just when you thought they couldn’t resurrect yet another franchise best left alone, along comes Jason Reitman to continue his dad’s work.

Ghostbusters: The Force Awakens – whoops! I mean Ghostbusters: Afterlife – follows the distant clan of Egon Spengler (sadly deceased Harold Ramis in Obi-Wan ghost form), as they head to their grandfather’s rickety old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere to collect an inheritance that doesn’t exist. What’s left in the absence of money is Spengler’s old ghost-catching equipment and, miraculously fast, the grandkids – McKenna Grace and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard – seem to catch up quick and become Ghostbusters themselves. By amazing coincidence, they’re situated right next to a portal to hell and the spirits of the dead are leaking through.

What could go wrong?

Everything.

The beauty of Ghostbusters was that it never took itself too seriously. Sure, the stakes were high but the jokes landed and the four leads bounced off one another wonderfully – though it must be said upon rewatch Bill Murray’s character would have most definitely been MeToo’d.

It’s unfortunate that the same fun can’t be had here. I’m not familiar with the likes of Finn Wolfhard (surely not his real name) and Stranger Things, but I understand the lad gets a lot of comedic praise. I’d love to know if we’ve been watching the same actor. Sorry, Finn. You know what they say: “there are no bad actors, only bad directors” (eyebrow raise).

Paul Rudd plays Paul Rudd.

The effects are the saving grace here. Along with that nostalgic vibe of cameo appareances where you can just see the pain in their eyes.

God, I hope the pay was worth it.

As for the plot? It’s a nice setup, but all the elements and plot devices are there for the taking but never used. The villain of the first film was Ziggy Stardust look alike Gozer The Gozaerian. The villain of this sequel is Gozer the Gozerian (Olivia Wilde).

The first film had a conclusion with demonic dogs and a big temple that looked like she was going to sing Beauty School DropOut. This one has exactly the same. The last hour is all so very familiar, with the only exception being the last ten minutes which are painfully rushed through to hit those post credits, so much to the point it made me angry.

If you’re going to revisit something, put in the effort and make it original. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the equivalent of someone claiming they can paint a replica of the Mona Lisa then presenting a stick man with a smiley face.

RATING: 1/10

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