A Film Review by Tim Riley


GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE” Rated PG-13 Nostalgia is a good thing to relish during the holiday season. For most, we hopefully reminisce about happy times with family and friends gathered for celebrations and seasonal parties.The same feeling is also most welcome when a movie taps into a sentimental yearning for the past. Good news arrives for fans of “Ghostbusters” for a franchise still alive when it could have been given up for dead after the 2016 reboot.The aptly-named “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” may evoke the spirit of the 1980s but it is rooted in contemporary times with the relatives of the late Harold Ramis’ Dr. Egon Spengler carrying on the legacy.

Ghostbusters” is family-driven from the aspect of director Jason Reitman helming this sequel to his father Ivan’s directorial effort for the 1984 original comedic blockbuster.To be sure, there are plenty of sly special effects with maliciously destructive apparitions, but Jason Reitman is equally focused on a character-driven story that draws the family of one of the original Ghostbusters into the picture. Estranged from her father, the now divorced and broke Callie (Carrie Coon) learns that she has inherited Spengler’s property in Oklahoma, and she’s hoping for a fresh start with teenage son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and 12-year-old daughter Phoebe (Mckenna Grace).Enrolled in a summer school class taught by flippant Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), the nerdy, precocious Phoebe is befriended by spirited classmate Podcast (Logan Kim), a loquacious but hilarious narrator of even the most mundane details.

Meanwhile, Trevor ends up working a local diner where he pretends to be older only because he has a crush on Lucky (Celeste O’Connor). Not surprisingly, Grooberson develops a romantic interest in Callie. There’s a time when Callie wistfully hopes that Phoebe might get into some trouble if only because she seems so proper. Little does Mom know that the adventurous kids are going to unearth the remnants of Spengler’s ghostbusting days. Finn discovers the vintage Cadillac ambulance used by the Ghostbusters and the kids end up joyriding through town and get their first taste of what it is like to hunt down malevolent ghouls and also end up in the local jail.While the plot is expectedly predictable, the delight to be had is from a very likable, charismatic cast, from the always genial Paul Rudd to the resourceful kids. A moving tribute to Harold Ramis and great cameos bring a nice touch to the pleasing “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.”When the credits start to roll, be sure to stay for a mid-credits scene and the one at the very end when the screen goes dark. The “Ghostbusters” franchise has probably not have zapped its last ethereal being. A new generation may be taking hold.