Ghostbusters: Afterlife has already had one surprise screening at Cinemacon back in August, with fans seeming to be quite pleased with the belated sequel to the original Ghostbusters movies. At New York Comic-Con another group of fans were delighted to get the opportunity to see the movie ahead of its theatrical debut next month, and again the word coming from the screening is that the movie is a huge nostalgic win for Jason and Ivan Reitman. That can only be good for fans of the franchise who are eagerly awaiting the return of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson to the series.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife sees a single mother and her two children arriving in a small town, in which they discover a legacy left to them by their grandfather, Egon Spengler. While much of the story itself has been hidden, even after the trailer release, there has been enough given away in the trailer to herald the return of terror dogs, the Stay Puft Marshmallow man (although not quite in the same way) and the threat of Gozer, the original menace to the gang back in 1984. From this, there are few people who were expecting this movie not to be a nostalgic hit with the massive fan base of the original movie, but what about newcomers to the franchise?
Like many recent movies that draw from the 80s, Ghostbusters: Afterlife had a choice, to become a disconnected sequel that just happened to feature some of the well-known characters of its past, or tie itself fully to the mythology of Ghostbusters and assume that everyone watching knows what has gone before. As we have seen with Marvel's Cinematic Universe, there are ways to turn a movie franchise into an elaborate ongoing Saturday morning cartoon series on the big screen, with recurring characters, villains and themes but no time taken to reintroduce anything that longtime fans already know from previous installments. That seems to be the route Ghostbusters: Afterlife takes in the main, throwing in not only old characters and villains, but seemingly also keeping the look and feel of the old movies and not going for a full-on CGI decimation of everything that made Ghostbusters great.
That is all very apparent in the latest tweets from those attending the latest screening. Maggie Lovitt (@maggieofthetown) commented, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife makes a strong case that nostalgia can be exactly what a franchise needs & I'm never eating marshmallows again. McKenna Grace & Logan Kim steal the show. Paul Rudd didn't have to be that hot. Go in cold & stay to the VERY end of the credits." A second, Chris Killian, echoed the sentiment saying, "I'm not exaggerating when I say that Ghostbusters: Afterlife is everything I wanted from a sequel - a perfect love letter to Ghostbusters fans that acts as a loving tribute to the original all while crafting its own exciting path for the next generation." Meanwhile, Matt Neglia (@NextBestPicture) said, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife merges the past with the present in an entertaining crowd-pleaser. Serves as a satisfying tribute to Harold Ramis & the original films while introducing new likable characters to push the franchise forward with McKenna Grace & Logan Kim stealing the show!"
While there will be some who don't care for movies that stuff themselves full of Easter eggs and nostalgia, it seems that the overriding opinion is that Ghostbusters: Afterlife does everything it needs to in order to make sure the legacy of Ghostbusters is kept intact, while bringing the franchise to a new generation who will likely want to go back and see where it all began.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife arrives in movie theaters on November 19th.