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The Stylus

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is better than expected


 When I learned producers were making another Ghostbusters movie, I braced myself for a flop. The failure of the movie “Ghostbusters II” in 1989 was regretted by everyone, even actor Bill Murray. This new movie’s role in the franchise was kept a secret for the most part. Not knowing if it would be a sequel or a reboot, fans planned for the worst. 

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is a tribute to actor and director Harold Ramis who played the character of Egon Spengler in the original movie. The filmmakers used Ramis’ death to introduce Spengler’s death in the movie. There’s no better way to honor a ghostbuster than to bring him back as a ghost. With the setting of the movie in a small town in Oklahoma instead of a big city, fans were in for an odd shift in the story.  

The movie follows Spengler’s estranged family who moves into his old house after his sudden death. The family consists of his daughter and her two kids, Phoebe and Trevor. Phoebe takes on the leading role in the movie acting as the scientist of the group, just as her grandfather did. The family quickly finds out Spengler’s presence in the small town was not welcome. Deemed the “dirt farmer” and the local “lunatic,” fans begin to wonder where it all went wrong. 

 The movie explains Spengler’s breakup with the ghostbusters when Phoebe makes an emergency call to ghostbuster Ray Stantz. It’s clear things did not end well between the four of them, but the news of Spengler’s death is what eventually brings the team back together. 

The movie is filled to the brim with cameos and one-liners from the old film. However, the references are borderline to over-saturating the new content. Most of the nostalgia in the movie is provoked through the discovery of Ecto-1, the uniforms and the gadgets. The over-use of allusions forces the movie to be more than what it needs to be.  

The most interesting link between the two movies is the directors. The director of the original, Ivan Reitman, is the father of Jason Reitman, director of “Afterlife.” Fans can be assured that the sequel was made to honor what came before.   

Today’s movie effects have achieved greater things than they have in the past, but this didn’t cause “Afterlife” to deviate from the movie’s original aesthetic. “Afterlife’s” effects aimed to enhance what the original movie did. Effects such as the beam from The Proton Pack and the computer-generated ghosts stay true to what they were in the original “Ghostbusters.”  

The creation of “Afterlife” was meant to deepen the ghostbuster story, and the sequel does just that. The movie not only honors Ramis’ death, but also honors his beloved character and storyline as well. This sequel proved to be better than the last and is perfect for fans old and new. 

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