Plot: What’s it about?
In the summer of 1984, the world was introduced to Ghostbusters. A science-fiction/comedy that took the world by storm and is probably one of the more iconic films of the 1980’s. A few years later they gave us Ghostbusters II. The less said about that, the better. It’d be another three and a half decades until we saw another feature film bearing the name Ghostbusters, and in 2016 we got it. I tried to like it, but with a budget of $150 million, it barely made that back – worldwide. Oh and there was the whole “the movie isn’t good” part as well. I’m guessing that’s why. In 2021, they returned to their roots, but managed to stay faithful to what made the movie so popular in the first place. That and, c’mon, anything with Paul Rudd has got to be good – right?
We meet Callie (Carrie Coon) who’s just been evicted from her apartment. Her daughter, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and son, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) are in tow. Their only option is to move to a town in Oklahoma and live in a place that she inherited from her father. The kids start to find some unusual objects around the place and Trevor discovers an old white car in the barn. Phoebe finds some more paraphernalia (the viewer knows what all this stuff is) and so forth. The objects are brought to the seismologist, Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) who tells her that her family may have a connection to a Ghostbuster in New York back in the 80’s. As we might expect, paranormal activity spikes all around and Phoebe and Trevor have to learn how to use the tools they’ve discovered, though they’ve got help with an unseen spirit to help them in their endeavors.
There’s a lot done right in this one. It’s a far cry from the 2016 version which seemed to try to make more of a statement than an entertaining film. If you could change the locale of the original film and move it to the mid-west, this is most likely what you’d get. Director Jason Reitman has taken the reins from his father, Ivan, who helmed the original. And Reitman has helmed a few good films in his burgeoning career, notably Up in the Air, The Front Runner and Young Adult. In short, Ghostbusters: Afterlife gives fans more of what they want (or wanted), but also manages to spin things in a new direction. And with the critical and commercial success of the film, don’t be too surprised if there’s another one in the near future.
Video: How’s it look?
When you’ve got a major studio in Sony with a high budget film franchise, as we do here, it all sets the stage for what we know – the picture will (or should) look stunning. And, of course, it does. Sony’s 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image is nearly flawless. There aren’t enough words in my vocabulary to explain all the little nuances, colors and all the things in between to showcase the picture. Contrast is spot on, detail is off the charts – if Paul Rudd ever decides to age, I’m sure a transfer like this would actually show a wrinkle or a grey hair (not so far, though). Let’s face it, Sony’s 4K offerings are among the best out there, if not the best. And this one is no exception.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I have to assume that anyone who would buy this set would watch the 4K disc and its included Dolby Atmos soundtrack. But, if for some reason the Blu-ray is more your thing, the DTS HD Master Audio mix is no slouch. The Atmos mix gives us what we’ve come to expect – a nice, robust mix that fills the air with all sorts of surround effects, LFE and vocals that make it sound like the characters are in the same room with you (well, I guess they are, but you know…in person). It’s a nice, spacial mix that’s sure to satisfy and like the visual presentation, we’ve come to expect a new movie to sound as good as it looks. This fits the bill to a tee.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Most all of the supplements, aside from a few trailers, are located on the Blu-ray disc. It seems that as technologically advanced as we are, we’re either unable or unwilling to put all the extras on one disc.
- We Got One! Easter Eggs Revealed – Essentially a look at all the references found in the film, some obvious and others…not so much.
- Ghostbusters: A Look Back – The cast and crew reflect on one of the most iconic films in the last 50 years.
- A Look Ahead – If you wondered how this film was connected to the others, don’t worry – the screenwriters have done the heavy lifting for you. This explains it all (and oddly makes a lot of sense).
- Deleted Scene – Just one included.
- Is It Ever Too Late?
- Bringing Ecto-1 Back to Life – Pretty much just that – how they brought back the “ghostbuster mobile” and made it a part of this film.
- Special Effects: The Ghosts of Afterlife – Technology has improved visual effects since the original film came out, we get a look at some of the ghosts, new and old, and their place in the movie.
- Summoning the Spirit: Making Ghostbusters: Afterlife – Director Jason Reitman gives us the deep dive on the film, its legacy, how and why it was made and essentially gives us all we need to know in this segment.
- The Gearhead’s Guide to Ghostbusters Gadgets – The attention to detail was there, certainly. We get a look at some of the props and things put in the film to bring you back to 1984.
The Bottom Line
I’ve come to the conclusion that a movie studio won’t ever let a successful franchise go by the wayside. We’ll be seeing Star Wars movies for the next several decades, likewise with Harry Potter and James Bond. Ghostbusters fits squarely into that category as well. But this one was actually a delight to see. And, let’s face it, how can you not like Paul Rudd? Sony’s disc, as per usual, looks and sounds great. It’ll make a fine addition to any collection.