Ghostbusters: Afterlife – Film Review

Sony

I love the Ghostbusters franchise and was excited to see how Jason Reitman would fare taking over from his father Ivan – and I’m pleased to report that Ghostbusters: Afterlife does not disappoint.

The film follows Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) as they are evicted from their home and forced to move to a decaying house in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma. It once belonged to Callie’s late father – Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis) – who upped sticks and left his family without warning when she was young to move to the farmhouse – and she finally figures out why when supernatural beings start to appear.

Reitman does a solid job of balancing the old with the new and gives the franchise a new lease of life. It is incredibly nostalgic, with plenty of references and Easter Eggs to the 1984 original throughout, but he also manages to make it feel like its own thing. You could probably enjoy this as a standalone film but I wouldn’t recommend it – you’ll have a richer, more exciting experience if you’ve watched the 1980s movies first. That’s because Reitman takes the fan service a bit too far and borrows too much from the original towards the end.

For this reason, I enjoyed the first half far more than the second. I loved meeting these new characters, learning more about Spengler’s old house and what he was up to, watching know-it-all science whizz Phoebe figuring out her connection to the Ghostbusters and the first outings of Ecto-1, the proton packs and ghost traps and of course, our first ghost sighting! I also think the script was stronger and funnier in this half. The family – plus Paul Rudd as teacher Mr. Grooberson and Logan Kim as Phoebe’s kooky buddy Podcast – were given some fantastically witty lines that made me laugh out loud often.

However, the narrative became messier as the film approached its finale. The plot wasn’t explained very well so I found it quite confusing. It seemed like Reitman worked on the assumption that everybody knows the 1984 film super well whereas I’ve not seen it for years so take my advice and have a rewatch. There are plenty of cameos – some old faces, some new – to keep an eye out for and while it brought me pure joy to see some of them, I didn’t love them all. Some felt meaningful and with a purpose while others felt like a box-ticking exercise for the fans.

The star of the show is Grace. The child star has been amazing in earlier roles such as Gifted, I, Tonya and The Handmaid’s Tale and she just keeps getting better. This film was a change of pace for her and she seemed to have a ball with it. I loved her awkward outsider character, her unashamed cleverness, her lame jokes and her friendship with Podcast. Kim has established himself as one to watch with his first-ever movie role. His comic timing, facial expressions, line delivery and general personality are spot-on and he is given so many great lines that he simply nails. He is hilarious and I’d like to see more of him please.

We all know Rudd is funny as hell but I think this should be reiterated because he is so great here (I want to see his supermarket scene again) while I just adore watching Coon’s effortless acting style. Wolfhard is the new boy in town trying hard to fit in and Celeste O’Connor rounds out the young foursome as Lucky, who isn’t fleshed out very much.

It’s not perfect by any means but Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a fun, entertaining ride that will make fans of the franchise very happy. Make sure you still until the very end of the credits.

In cinemas Thursday 18th November

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Addams Family 2: Film Review

Courtesy of Universal

As the spooky season is now upon us, it’s time for the influx of Halloween-themed movies to begin! First up, it’s The Addams Family sequel.

As Wednesday (voiced by Chloe Grace Moretz) is seeming more down and despondent than usual, Gomez (Oscar Isaac) proposes that they go on on a three-week family holiday across America, beginning in Salem and ending in Death Valley. Naturally, the trip doesn’t go smoothly as they are being followed by a man who claims Wednesday was switched at birth and isn’t an Addams, while Uncle Fester (voiced by Nick Kroll) is slowly morphing into an octopus following a botched science experiment.

Although this sequel feels as unnecessary as it is, it was nice to revisit these characters once again – especially Lurch (voiced by co-director Conrad Vernon) and Cousin Itt (Snoop Dogg) – and it was still plenty of fun. The comedy isn’t quite on par with the first one – I certainly laughed less – but there is still a lot of silly hijinks to keep kids entertained and jokes for the adults too. I felt the attention in the cinema screening starting to dip as the film approached the final act but it brings it back with a wild monster battle. I certainly preferred the story in the first one and the fact that it was largely set in their wickedly weird house.

Much like the first film, this sequel has a stellar soundtrack filled with contemporary bops, rap and the surprising use of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. We also get a random but delightful musical number courtesy of Lurch, who takes on Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive to hilarious effect.

I’m not particularly taken with the animation style either, I think the characters look ugly – especially Pugsley, Gomez and Fester – and it’s not all that pleasing to the eye. I know their proportions have been exaggerated for comedy value but Pugsley (voiced by Javon Walton, who replaces Finn Wolfhard) just looks so unwell!

The majority of the voice cast from the 2019 film return and they do a solid job bringing the characters to life. Just like before, you might be unable to pinpoint who voices the characters as hardly any of them speak like themselves. Isaac gives his voice a Hispanic flair for Gomez, Moretz drags her sentences out and speaks slowly and quietly, like it’s an effort, as Wednesday and Charlize Theron goes for something quite different as Morticia.

The Addams Family 2 is unnecessary and nowhere near as entertaining as the previous film but children should still find it an enjoyable watch.

In cinemas from Friday 8th October

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

It Chapter Two: Film Review

I’m not a big fan of horror films but I loved the first chapter of IT. I thought it was a terrifying horror but also a funny coming-of-age piece. Naturally, given it’s set 27 years later, Chapter Two doesn’t have that coming-of-age aspect anymore and so I didn’t enjoy it quite as much.

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Stranger Things 2: What I loved and what I didn’t

I’m not much of a binge watcher but I finished Netflix series Stranger Things 2 in just four days because I loved it so much. That isn’t to say it’s perfect – here’s a rundown of what I liked and what I didn’t.

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It: Film Review

I’m not a massive horror fan but after hearing all the positive reviews of It and reading about its box office success, I had to check it out and I was not disappointed.

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