Interesting parallel, in that the last film I watched in a theater was Sonic The Hedgehog. And while both are saddled with a few too many modern tropes, both get something fundamental right: People care about these characters, so the people making the movie should care about them too.
The people who made this are heartbroken Harold Ramis died. This movie is a gift to him. I honest-to-god cried at the end. It's just such a relief to see a franchise movie made with actual, genuine love.
I'm not going to go into every detail. Suffice to say, it's a really honestly good movie if you forgive a few bumpy spots. While most references to the original are done well, there's a handful where the movie just stops for a second to shove a thing in your face. Comedy's not as sharp-edged due to the PG13, but I did laugh out loud several times. There's a bit in a Walmart that reeeeeally feels like it was shoved in during reshoots. Overall, Afterlife is not as good as the other two Ghostbusters movies at their strengths. But it tries different things and is pretty damn good at them as well. For one, it's nice to see that Jason Reitman didn't just get the job out of nepotism. There are some beautiful shots in this. And the color's not all desaturated and dark! Hallelujah!
Two of the best things this movie does is casting and theming. For starters, the kids are actually skilled and actually funny. They're jaded, snarky teenagers, but they aren't unlikable assholes. They don't hate each other. They have believable interactions. And holy fuck, the girl playing Phoebe Spengler is phenomenal. It's eerie how well she slips into Harold Ramis' shoes. Egon was reserved, awkward and deadpan, but not cold. Brilliant, but self-assured enough to not patronize other people. Mckenna Grace does an amazing job of conveying all that. This movie walks a dozen razor tightropes of kid character types who usually come off as unrelatable, unrealistic and annoying AF, and instead nails a dozen bullseyes. Astonishing. (Also, I still cannot believe that, the song that plays over the credits? Mckenna performs it, wrote it, and co-directed the music video for it! And it's legit GOOD!)
Also, this movie gets the most important thing right about why Ghostbusters are so cool: anyone can be one. In probably the best thing MovieBob ever did, he laid out how Ghostbusters aren't "chosen ones" destined to save the land from evil. Winston walked in off the street and did it for a paycheck. The one thing you need to be, to be a Ghostbuster, is BRAVE. If you can see a slobbering undead phantasm hovering in front of you, stand your ground, and point your proton pack at it, you're in. Having the torch passed on to a bunch of kids was a brilliant idea. An inspiring idea.
There's two other themes this movie conveys that I really, really like. Ideas I think are dangerously rare in mainstream storyteling now:
*Both the old and the new deserve respect. Everyone is important. Everyone contributes.
*There are things more important than being safe.
1 month, 3 weeks ago
27 Nov 2021 21:13 CET