First Ghostbusters: Afterlife Reviews Mostly Good, Mixed on Nostalgia

Today, Sony lifted the embargo on Ghostbusters: Afterlife reviews. The movie hasn’t screened for all press (including Superhero Hype), but it screened semi-secretly at CinemaCon in August. And more recently again to junketeers. Across the board so far, the reactions seem the same with the industry trades and the more friendly junket press. The movie garners strong praise for its young cast and Jason Reitman’s direction. Yet most feel it leans a bit too heavily on nostalgic references. For some, that’s a deal-breaker; for most, not so much.

William Bibbiani at The Wrap speaks for many when he writes, “Those who enjoyed the 1984 film and who actually wanted a new installment of Ghostbusters to offer something different, instead of shamelessly pandering to pre-existing fans, may be disappointed, but they can probably settle for Afterlife’s slick and straightforward, formulaic craftsmanship. ” He adds that the movie appears to reject everything but the original film — even Ghostbusters II.

For Kaitlyn Booth at Bleeding Cool, the mix of old and new played as more of a plus. She writes, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife could have been an easy cash-in for everyone involved and relied entirely on the fans of the original to get a decent box office. They didn’t know, they put in the work, and they put in the effort, and it all pretty much works. It’s one of the best movies of the year and is going to bring in a whole slew of new Ghostbusters fans to the party while leaving old fans satisfied.”

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Variety‘s Peter Debruge, rarely the easiest of marks for nerdy blockbusters, begins his review with a dig at franchise movie marketing, but finally decides, “It’s designed to work for those who’ve never seen any of the franchise’s earlier incarnations, and though the film adopts an unmistakably Amblin-esque vibe — there’s an obvious ‘what if the Goonies were Ghostbusters?’ sensibility at work here, reinforced by Spielbergian magic-hour shots of kids assembling around a Devils Tower-shaped rock formation — you needn’t have grown up on such movies to appreciate how they elevate adolescent rejects to hero status.”

EW‘s Christian Holub proves the most negative, calling it, “a gloomy nostalgia trip through the ruins of American culture,” while IGN’s Rosie Knight represents the most positive take, saying, “Director Jason Reitman does his father and fans proud with a funny, sweet, and spooky family movie that proudly takes on the legacy of Ghostbusters, while also introducing something exciting and new. It helps that Mckenna Grace is the kind of talent that only comes around once in a generation: charming, authentic, and the beating heart of this already heartfelt movie.”

Regardless of the ultimate thumbs-up or down, a fairly consistent picture emerges. The new stuff plays well. However, the old stuff may depend upon the viewer’s individual nostalgia. Look for Superhero Hype’s review closer to the actual release date, Nov. 19.

Are you excited for Ghostbusters: Afterlife? Let us know in comments!

Recommended Reading: Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History

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