Fans waiting decades for a film about their favorite 1980s paranormal investigators finally got their wish earlier this year with help from the franchise patriarch Ivan Reitman and his directing son Jason.
The spooky comedy now materializes on the 4K disc format in Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 124 minutes, $45.99).
The coming-of-age story has the down-on-her luck, estranged daughter of famous, and deceased, Ghostbuster Egon Spengler, Callie (Carrie Coons), moving into his farmhouse in the small town of Summerville, Oklahoma, as part of her underwhelming inheritance.
Along with her 15-year-old son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and brilliant, tech-minded 12-year-old daughter Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), they adjust to rural life. However, the haunted secrets of the farm come to life, and Egon’s legacy reveals his final mission was to contain an apocalyptic world threat from a certain entity named Gozer.
Ignoring their cynical and sometimes oblivious mother, Egon’s grandchildren take up the paranormal mantle and figure out how to bust ghosts with some antiquated technology, help from science teaching nerd Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) and a trio of pop icons returning to the screen.
And, by the time viewers get to the big reveal that brings back those legendary original Ghostbusters — Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stanz (Dan Aykroyd), Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) — fans will be grinning from ear to ear, shedding a few tears and thrilled to be back in the real Ghostbusters’ universe.
The story may be cliched, but it’s an all-ages affair with an exploration of the eccentricities of family loyalty and the importance of friendship underlying the entire supernatural shenanigans.
The grumpiest critics will argue that Mr. Reitman only delivered a frothy serving of the familiar, rehashing too much from the 1984 film for fan service akin to what J.J. Abrams concocted in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
It doesn’t matter. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is a jolt of sorely needed love to fans as well as one big apology, considering the abomination fans were forced to deal with back in 2016 with Paul Feig’s miserable all-female reboot, “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.”
4K in action: A subtly tuned visual presentation enhanced by 2160p clarity and high dynamic range delivers its greatest impact when appreciating the mountain ranges of Oklahoma; a metal-eating ghost called Muncher; the colorful and vintage proton pack streams; the collection of miniature Stay Puft Marshmallow men; and a translucent purplish disembodied version of the evil Gozer.
Best extras: An average selection of featurettes are found on the included Blu-ray version of the movie.
Specifically, viewers first get a 20-minute overview of the production with plenty of words by the Reitmans and cast that touches on the original story idea; casting; locations; costuming; building the temple of Gozer; the use of the same style of visual effects used in the 1984 movie; and the original Ghostbusters on the set.
Other segments (another 40 minutes) cover the iconic ghostbusting gadgets; special effects, creating the ghosts; Easter eggs in the film (for example the Bug-Eye ghost from the animated series makes an appearance); words from the original cast fondly reflecting on the movies; and the reintroduction of the Ecto-1 vehicle.