Okay. Here it comes.
On November 19, 2021, five years after Sony attempted to reboot the Ghostbusters franchise with Ghostbusters: Answer The Call
, and a year and a half after Sony wanted to release it because Covid, Ghostbusters: Afterlife
was released in theatres. Instead of a reboot, it's the third movie set in the continuity of the first two. To paraphrase something I said back in 2016, this time we're getting the movie Ghostheads wanted, but will it be the movie we need?
Based on the amount of tickets sold the first couple weekends it was out, the answer appears to be "yes"
On November 27, 2021, Ogre, our youngest brother, and I went to see it. I haven't done one of these semi-snarky reviews of anything in a while, but this seems like the perfect time to blow the rust out of my review muscles and give it a try.
Which seems to be very on-point for this movie, actually...
(Disclaimer: Okay, I only saw this movie once, so if I get a thing or two out of exact order, I apologize. There was a lot going on, after all. I did consult some stuff on Wikipedia and read some other reviews, but I can't guarantee I didn't flub a detail or two)
It's a dark but not stormy night, because being dark helps cover up the fact that the guy we see driving for his life in a beat-up pick-up truck is not actually Harold Ramis, who's been dead for seven years, but a body double playing his character, founding Ghostbuster Egon Spengler, probably with the help of makeup and CGI. He crashes the truck, then limps to a dilapidated farmhouse carrying a ghost trap. He holds it up at one point, like he's taunting whatever he's running away from. He throws a switch, the farm's giant towers spark, and then...fizzle out.
I could just hear Maurice LaMarche snarl "Crumbs..." in my head. "Sometimes I think the world just waits for me to get cocky."
Egon races into the house, stashing the trap in a panel in the floor. Then his chair starts sprouting arms and groping him, just like when Zuul came after Dana Barrett...
And in that, we have the first scene expressly designed to remind us of something from GB1. Do not make a drinking game out of taking a swig every time a scene, line, or musical cue reminds you of GB1. You'll be dead of alcohol poisoning before the entire main cast is even introduced.
Egon pulls out his PKE Meter, and flips the arms into full-up position, causing an electrical spark between them. This has been dubbed "taser mode", and frankly, it reminds me of something we've seen before in GB media: The Extreme Ghostbusters
PKE Meter, which had an electrical sparking effect on the top.
A giant ghostly image appears--a Terror Dog!!!
Like I said, do not
play that "take a swig every time something reminds you of GB1" drinking game. I meant
We then get a "Ghostbusters Afterlife" logo, and then switch scene to Chicago, where we meet approximately forty year old single mother Callie (Carrie Coons), no last name given until very late in the movie, as she deals with her two children: Trevor (played by Stranger Things
's Finn Wolfhard, not the name of a heavy metal rock group, which is ironic actually
), who is whining as his mother tries to cut his hair; and and twelve year old Phoebe (McKenna Grace), who's rewiring the apartment's electrical system.
Grace is normally blonde, but here she's in thick, slightly kinky dark hair and wearing circular glasses. If her appearance and demeanor makes you think "Tweenage Rule 63 Harold Ramis" I remind you once again about that drinking game I told you not to play.
Turns out, the Callie family is being evicted just as she's found out her father, who she never met and never seemed interested in her in the slightest, has just died. Hey...you think there may be a connection to that scene before the logo?
Sure enough, the family takes off for the armpit town of Summerville, Oklahoma, and find themselves at the same dilapidated old farmhouse we saw Ramis's body double sprinting into. And then Callie runs into Janine (Annie Potts), her mother.
Hah hah hah no, of course not. Because apparently Jason Reitman realized that he's spending the whole movie pandering to fans of the first, so he had to pick one aspect of GB1 fandom to piss all over, and the Egon/Janine fans got designated. I feel so special. I mean, grife, he couldn't even throw the bone of "I'm Janine, we spoke on the phone. I guess I'm your stepmother."
Anyway, Janine hems and haws when describing her relationship with Egon. "Y'see, kid, ever since 1987 dumbasses at various levels of creative control with various stupid agendas have had it in for me and fucked up my character so bad there are days I wouldn't be surprised they made me an alien from the planet Mongo. Anyway, I gotta go before I remember that you're one of those sucker punches besides I'm surprised they even put me in this movie anyway..." She's obviously hurting from Egon's death, but why would we want to dwell on her
emotional pain, right?
So rather than go into the next part of the movie beat by beat, let's look at each character progression from the next several scenes:
Callie--Finds out that Egon hasn't exactly been making friends here, either. He was known as the weird old "dirt farmer" who never grew anything. The guy at the electronics store is the only one who'll miss him, because ol' Egon bought lots of stuff from him. Callie does take a look around the old house and remark that there's not a single picture of her or anything around there.
Trevor--Meets another main character, Lucky Domingo (Celeste O'Conner) at the Spinners restaurant in town, and is smitten. He even lies about his age (claiming to be seventeen even though, we later find out, he's only fifteen and will be sixteen "next February" (2022)) so he can get a job there and be around her. Lucky, by the way, seems to have the absolute only callback to Answer the Call
: she wears a necklace with her name on it that's similar in style to the one Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) wore. Lucky mentions that she's a fourth generation inhabitant of the town, and that the town was founded by someone named Ivo Shandor. That name probably got some ears pricking up in the audience, didn't it? Lucky also mentions a boyfriend at one point, but when she and Trevor go with a bunch of other townskids to the nearby abandoned selenium mine, I didn't see her really paying any special attention to anyone other than Trevor. (Selenium? Where have we heard about that before...)
During that trip to the mine, something weird happens: Trevor and Lucky hear a creepy voice saying "Gozer".
Trevor is also the one who finds a rusting 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor in the dirt farm's barn. It's got well expired New York plates reading "ECTO-1", a bunch of broken electronic junk on the roof, and a number of cartoony ghost logos. Being a bit of a car hound himself, he starts to try to get it running again.
Phoebe's is the most important arc, so here we go: She gets enrolled in a summer school class taught by seismologist Gary Grooberson (Paul "Ant Man" Rudd), who mostly just tries to entertain his bored students by playing old VHS horror movies like Cujo
. Phoebe is placed next to a weird little boy known only as "Podcast" (Logan Kim) because he hosts a podcast devoted to weird mysteries and conspiracy theories, and suggests all the usual stuff like aliens and the Illuminati. He probably mentions Shandor too. This movie was made too early to have him also quoting "Covid is a hoax" and "election 2020 was stolen" bullshit thankfully. Podcast also seems to have a dead ringer for Dan Aykroyd's 1984 hedgehog haircut (I TOLD you not to play that drinking game!!!)
Bored with Cujo
, Phoebe wanders off to find Grooberson looking at some charts. She impresses him by identifying them as seismic maps. He then tells her that this part of Oklahoma shouldn't have any of this earthquake activity it's been having: it's too far away from fault lines and fracking activity. And the seismic vibration curves are all wrong--they're more like explosions.
We see more weird things happen to Phoebe at home: she notices a white pawn on the chess set next to her bed has moved. She moves a black pawn. She comes back later to see another piece has moved. Still later, one of her knights literally flies off the board as one of the white pawns captures it.
She finds a weird device under the table--it's the PKE Meter that Egon dropped when he was attacked and killed. It leads her to a patch on the floor--and she finds the ghost trap Egon stashed there.
She takes the trap to class the next day, and Grooberson gushes about what a great "replica" it is. Phoebe is confused; Grooberson explains about the Ghostbusters, and how back in the 1980's New York was like "the Walking Dead". He knows all about it because he was there as a kid, and was a big fan. But "No one's seen a ghost in thirty years" so sucks to be you Video Game (since the movie was intended to be released in 2020) and IDW and Extreme Ghostbusters
and all the fan franchises hah hah hah. Phoebe, Podcast, and Grooberson even watch the original Ghostbusters commercial, the same one Dana Barrett saw right before eggs started cooking themselves on her counter (If you're foolishly playing that drinking game anyway, take one now. I envy your cast iron liver).
I can't remember whether Grooberson drove Phoebe home and met Callie next, or he and the two kids tried to hotwire the ghost trap--and let whatever was in it loose--but both those things happened. Callie and Gary seem to hit it off well.
Phoebe discovers Egon's secret laboratory. Down there are all sorts of interesting things. A scale model of the dirt farm. The inevitable spores, molds, and fungus. I think I may have spotted Janine's whale paperweight at one point--I know it was in some of the set photos, and I was looking for it, but I can't say with 100% certainty I definitely saw it (just wait until the DVD/Blu-Ray slow-mo, I guess to be sure). A set of greyish-tan jump suits, one of them bearing a nametag with the name "SPENGLER" on it. And the big prize, a somewhat run down proton pack who's neutrona wand has been jury-rigged a bit. With the help of the "poltergeist" who moved the chess pieces, she starts fiddling with the pack.
Right around that same time, the "poltergeist" fixes a connection on the ECTO-1, allowing Trevor to start it up.
We next see Phoebe eating a bowl of popcorn (there's reportedly a deleted scene where she fires up the proton pack in a corn field, and the beam turns the corn into popcorn. I can see why it was cut for pacing issues, though it would have been (intentional or not) a call back to Egon cooking popcorn with a neutrona wand in the fourth issue of Now's RGB comic series)
The next day, Phoebe and Podcast do the first onscreen test of the proton pack--Phoebe annihilates their improvised target, and Podcast is thrilled; at this point he's even wearing a set of ecto-goggles, cementing his role as "Ray Stantz stand-in". He's also sporting a creepy Aztec spirit whistle (which is a real thing, by the way) that they found in the farm house, and Callie was more than happy to letting him have (it sounds awful).
It's about then that they meet their first, honest to gosh fully visible ghost, a blue, metal-eating Class 5 which has been nicknamed "Muncher" A long chase scene follows, with first Phoebe and Podcast trying to catch him--and failing when Podcast throws the trap badly and it ends up on its side--and then Trevor joining in with the ECTO-1. It's here we discover a modification not seen in either GB1 or GB2's ECTO-1A: One of the jump seats can swing out to the side, and has a proton pack built into it, making it a gunnery seat, which Phoebe uses to try and catch Muncher. She has her grandfather's aim though, and mostly hits everything but Muncher during the chase.
Podcast discovers another new (to us, anyway) piece of equipment: a motorized ghost trap on RC car wheels (the RTV). With Trevor's driving, Phoebe's improving aim, and Podcast guiding the RTV, they manage to catch Muncher...just outside the Shandor selenium mine.
Oh yeah, and then the cops show up.
Callie and Gary, meanwhile, are on a dinner date, which is the only time Callie's ex-husband, Trevor and Phoebe's father, is ever mentioned (but never named). Mister Ex got along fine with Trevor, but Phoebe was too much of a handful for him, so he split; yet anther man that abandoned Callie, part of a pattern as she sees it. (Based on Callie's acrimonious image of her biological father, I imagine Mister Ex was not necessarily dumb, but some kind of blue collar type, the exact opposite of a genius with multiple PhDs, because young Callie would be inclined to stay well the hell away from those.)
Their date gets interrupted, though because hey, Callie, your kids are in jail. Something about driving without a license in a car with very expired registration and yeah baking half the town with positively charged ions or something. (Check off "jailhouse scene" on your GB1 scorecard. Even your cast iron liver is failing now, isn't it?)
While they're waiting for Callie to bail them out, the kids see Lucky in the next cell. No, she's not in lockup too...Sheriff Domingo is her Dad. At first she thinks they're nuts too...but when the kids mention that Muncher seemed to be heading to the mine, Lucky remembers the creepy voice she and Trevor encountered, and is not so sure they're nuts.
As everybody who watches cop shows knows, you have the Constitutional right to one phone call. But instead of calling her Mom or a lawyer, Phoebe instead dials the number seen in the old Ghostbusters ad from 1984. The voice at the other end answers "Ray's Occult Books"
Yessir, the first sighting of an actual Ghostbuster (Dr. Ray Stantz) played by his actual actor (Dan Aykroyd) instead of a body double. And when Phoebe mentions Egon, he naturally growls "Egon Spengler can burn in Hell!!!" The last time Ray or any of the other Ghostbusters saw him, he took off with the ECTO-1, every ghost trap they had, and all of their "fuel isotope (curium-246
maybe?) because Egon had started ranting about Gozer coming back and the end of the world and gone completely nuts.
Dafuq? Ray Stantz
of all people didn't believe Egon? That's the second biggest character gripe I had in this movie. And it boils down to much the same reason: "It has to be this way otherwise the story we want to tell doesn't work so shut up". Granted, Ray calms down and becomes the character we're used to when Phoebe mentions Egon died last week. There's a little infodumping--Winston went into finance and is now super loaded; Venkman is now lectures on advertising for SUNY--but not much else before Sheriff Domingo ends the call.
The kids are sprung, and Mom is understandably mad as hell. Phoebe is also mad as hell, in part because the police are keeping all of the Ghostbuster equipment and the ECTO-1 in impound, and directly asks her mother "Why didn't you tell us our grandfather was Egon Spengler?" and Callie lets it fly how Egon abandoned her when she was a baby and never even tried to reach out to her. And points out that it was a pattern, apparently, with Egon alienating his business partners and of course more recently all the people in Summerville who thought he was a complete nutcase.
Grooberson, meanwhile, is feeling pretty good as he goes into a Walmart to buy some Baskin-Robbins. Sure, his date with Callie ended badly, but before that it was going okay. I have to wonder if he's also riding a little bit of the high of a grown up Ghostbusters fanboy thinking "Holy cow, I may be on the path to sexxing up the daughter of an authentic Ghostbuster!!!". And then he hears screams. A bag of Staypuft Marshmallows is coming to life, forming into a bunch of little tiny "Minipufts" that start acting like a bunch of drunk Gremlins.
On the one hand, they're blatantly shooting for the whole Grogu/Minion level of viral memeworthiness/toyetic. On the other, watching them set themselves on fire or play in the blender or turn themselves into S'mores is hilarious. (I might be biased, though--I once wrote a story with a bunch of tiny earth spirits playing in ovens and being overall little shits in similar manner to the Minipufts)
It's about then that Vinz Clortho shows up and starts chasing Gary. Vinz is just as klutzy as ever, but eventually corners Gary as he tries to start his car, and you know better than to still be playing that drinking game. If you are and are still even close to conscious, take a bow.
The kids as a group (Phoebe, Trevor. Podcast, and Lucky) go back to the mine. They go in deeper than Trevor and Lucky did earlier, and discover a creepy ass full Gozarian temple. There's a string of dates on the wall: 1883 (the Krakatoa explosion; as a reader of recent X-Men comics I had to stop myself from writing "Krakoa" instead),
1908, the Tunguska Blast; 1945 (As Lucky notes, what disasters didn't happen that year);
1984 Oh c'mon, if you're watching this movie you know this one; and
2021, which of course is "Terrorists try to overthrow democracy and, oh yeah, Gozer wants to come back again"
And then they find a glass sarcophagus containing the remains of Ivo Shandor (JK Simmons), the notorious founder of the Gozer cult that built Central Park West in New York City, using selenium girders mined from right here in Summerville. Did I say remains? Because despite being dead for
seventy six years, he just opened his eyes!!!
An earthquake starts up. A portal starts to open. And then an array of neutrona blasters starts up and blast the portal until it closes again, and Shandor returns to his little nap.
Phoebe starts to figure it all out: Gozer is trying to come back. And Egon knew it. Egon made all sorts of contingency plans, including these proton blasters and something else: the capacitors made out of the grain silos. But what else is there? Time to head home...
While they're doing that, Callie is all alone. She wanders around and finds the entrance to Egon's secret lab. She sees everything the kids saw earlier, even though they don't mean anything to her, and something that the kids either didn't see (and the audience didn't either) or its importance didn't register to them: a wall of photos. Of Callie. Going all the way back to when she was a baby. He wasn't a presence in her life; but she was more of a presence in his than she ever dreamed possible.
Then she gets possessed by Zuul.
Vinz goes to the mine, and starts breaking the neutrona wands Egon set up there. The earthquake starts again; and this time there's nothing to stop it. Uh-oh.
Zuul finds Vinz. He's of course splayed out with slightly rumpled clothing exactly
the same as he was while possessing Louis Tully in 1984. And Zuul snaps her fingers and is suddenly in the exact same shiny dress she wore while possessing Dana. They exchange some "romantic" banter only slightly less cringeworthy than Janine and Louis's in Venkman's apartment, and then because they didn't want an R or NC-17 rating on this movie, we fade away before they get to the "Time to make the sign of the Double Humpback Terror Dog" part.
I know anyone reading this at this point has not been playing that drinking game, because if you had you'd be dead by now.
The kids get back to the secret lab, and with the new information Phoebe thinks she's figured out Egon's plan. The four are now decked out in Ghostbuster flight suits: Phoebe in Egon's, the other three in the unmarked "generic" ones (though Podcast wrote in a nametag of his own reading "PODCAST"). Now all they need is the equipment.
Sure, they could just ask, say, the Sheriff's daughter where the keys to the cell the stuff is being kept in was, but where's the fun in that? Instead, Podcast reaches in, opens the trap, and lets Muncher eat the bars. The foursome grab the gear, and Let's Go Zoomer Ghostbusters!
Well, the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster have done their thing and Gozer arrived in the underground temple. They don't quite look the same, because different actress and different costume/makeup, but it's definitely Gozer. The ritual also woke up Shandor, who goes up to Gozer and is all "And together we can rule the world and end the menace of Spider-Man once and for all!"...except Gozer doesn't share, and literally rips him in half. Ouch. I guess even Gozer itself thought Shandor was too creepy a Gozer fanboy. I wonder how handsomely JK was paid for what was basically a ten-second cameo.
Things look bad, right?
A lot happens quickly after this. They trap Zuul out of Callie using the RTV, and with Callie and the trap in tow race back to the dirt farm--because that's where Egon hid all those traps he took with him from GBCentral. They get there, and Phoebe reenacts the scene from the beginning of the movie, taunting Vinz the same way Egon taunted Zuul. He moves in, she flips the switch...
...And the same thing happens. The capacitor towers short out.
Worse, the RTV gets opened, and this time Zuul possesses Lucky.
Podcast and Trevor are being attacked by Minipufts.
Things look REALLY bad, right?
But then comes the part we were all waiting for. "Hey, Gozer--miss us?"
Ray Stantz. Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray). Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson). How did they get here? Probably the very loaded Winston has a private jet. How did they make it in the nick of time? Style, baby.
Ray delivers a long, rambling warning to Gozer, just like in GB1 but even longer and I think intentionally jokier. And this time, when Gozer asks if he's a god, he says yes.
The Ghostbusters open fire, try to cross the streams (because they guy who'd tell them how little sense that makes since there's no gate right now isn't here because dead) and...it doesn't work. Gozer zaps them, and they're all moaning in pain except for Venkman, who's trying a strategy of actually sounding like a jilted ex-lover to drive the mad Sumerian to distraction. It's pretty much that and more of Phoebe telling the same terrible jokes she's told throughout the whole picture.
Egon's main mistake was violating the first rule of Ghostbusting: "Never go it alone". There's a whole team and a family here this time.
Podcast zaps the Minipufts with the PKE Meter in Taser mode. This time Callie flips the switch.
The capacitor towers start to sputter out again...until Trevor fires the jump seat proton beam into them, completing the circuit.
Gozer's fighting it though, but four proton beams slam into it. Phoebe's getting a little help steadying her beam as an ethereal deepfake appears.
Grifedamnit, I'm tearing up just remembering the scene as I write this.
The four original Ghostbusters reunited, for the last time. Egon's granddaughter and successor at their side.
Gozer doesn't stand a fucking chance.
Callie stomps the pedal.
The dozens of traps all open.
Suck it, you Sumerian jerkwad.
Anyway, as Trevor and Podcast free Lucky and Gary from the Terror Dog husks, the Ghostbusters share a quick moment with their dead friend. Egon doesn't talk, but that's okay (though again, I would have probably geeked out hard if they'd gotten Maurice LaMarche to voice a line or two). Ray apologizes for not believing him. Winston admits he misses him. Venkman, as is his way, says something flippant that conceals more emotion than he wants to show.
And then, if your eyes aren't wet with tears by this point, Callie gets a hug from the ghost of the father she never knew, and he fades away.
Venkman asks who she is. For probably the first time in her life since she got married, she answers "Callie Spengler" And this time she means it.
Venkman makes another flippant remark that suggests that he had no idea Egon had any kids. I find that difficult to believe, since he and Ray would have been working with Egon at the time Callie was presumably conceived...and it's not like when Ray got that phone call from Phoebe saying she was Egon's granddaughter he said "Bullshit. He and Janine never even had any kids!" Maybe more Venkman covering up his sentimentality in jokes, after all.
The closing credits start with a shot of the ECTO-1 driving into Manhattan as the familiar sound of Ray Parker Junior's theme song plays. Movie over!
Well, except this is 2021. No movie is over when the closing credits start.
We get a "mid credits" sequence with Venkman being subjected to the same card game scam he played with Jennifer and some other student in his very first appearance and your liver is begging for the sweet release of death. Conducting the test is Dana (Sigourney Weaver), wearing a wedding ring and thus, we assume, Mrs. Venkman now. Peter admits it was all a fraud to score with the co-eds because he shocked the boys but never the girls; Dana then continued to give him the electric shocks, and he's probably not even going to get five bucks for this. It's a cute scene, I admit, even though let's face it, there's a lot less fan sentiment behind this couple than the "B-couple" from GB1.
And then in the scene after the credits Jason Reitman decides to rub it in even deeper by having Janine recall the famous "lucky coin" deleted scene from GB1. Yeah, sure, great that you made that scene both canon and almost meaningless at the same time, JR. Thanks a lot. Honestly...the way they had Janine hem and haw about explaining her relationship with Egon to Callie, and her musing here, having her instead introduce herself as Callie's stepmom would have fit perfectly and made a segment of the fandom less annoyed with the massive retcons to Egon's pre-GB1 life.
Anyway, after we see Winston give her a pep talk, and mention him having multiple kids, we see him set up potential sequels by going to the dilapidated ruins of Ghostbusters Central (note: not actually a Starbucks!) as he contemplates reopening the company. I could complain about the shot of the Containment Unit being the same old hole in the wall as GB1 instead of the much cooler, bigger one used in RGB and practically every other Ghostbusters media since, but, again, GB1 pandering so shut up. The important part is that a red light is blinking ominously...
Hah hah. Right. Restart the company. We know how that'll go--by the time the next movie comes around, even if it's only two or three years from now, it will open up with Winston griping "Damn. We tried to reopen Ghostbusters but everyone thought we were losers and frauds and had to shut down again!" Because nobody seems to know how to tell a Ghostbusters story otherwise. And then Vigo the Carpathian will come back. (No, seriously, as the after-credit teaser ended, I said out loud "And in the next one, they bring back Vigo the Carpathian!!!" Ogre and our youngest brother agreed that would not actually be a good idea).
So what's the verdict?
Holy shit, did I enjoy this movie.
I really didn't expect to like it this much. They killed off my all-time favorite Ghostbuster, then made sure to show us that the movie version of the character was kind of a jerk--in ways, even more of a jerk than Venkman
. (Venkman, it can be assumed, raised a son who wasn't his by blood; Egon had a biological daughter who basically never met him). I mean, I still hate the massive retcon to Egon's background; it may not technically conflict with what's in the first two movies, but there's been plenty of other writers and other stories with the official seal of approval from Columbia/Sony that this just doesn't work with. And I hate that this situation will be in ever official product from now on. (Basically, MY Egon hasn't been since since 1997 save a couple of overstuffed IDW crossovers.)
That being said, the presentation of Callie's story is well done, and compelling. It's a bit aggravating that--and I'm far from the only one to think this based on stuff I've seen online--her stubborn, slightly snarky and abrasive character would have totally worked for the daughter of a certain stubborn, snarky, abrasive secretary from Brooklyn. They were so "don't think about it too hard" with so many other things in this movie, why couldn't the timeline on that have been one of them?
Phoebe is the star of this movie, and was sensational. Her story was also compelling--she makes a connection that her mother couldn't (or wasn't allowed to) which makes her own identity clearer to her. I mean, I could identify with this personally....I was close to one of my grandmothers but the other one died when I was about six, and I really never knew her. But years later I heard stories about her that made me go "Wait a second...is that where I got that from?" Phoebe and McKenna Grace are going to be ones to watch going forward.
Logan Kim as Podcast stole every scene he was in. His enthusiasm was infectious as the "Ray" analog--this was validated near the end when Ray and Podcast talk. Ray asks him why he calls himself that; Podcast names his show--Ray recognizes it. "You're my subscriber?!" Podcast exclaims.
Interestingly, despite being seen going into this as the biggest "name" of the four Zoomer Ghostbusters, Finn Wolfhard and Trevor didn't shine as much as Phoebe and Podcast. It kinda reminded me a bit of how going into Answer the Call
we all expected it to be the Melissa McCarthy/Abby Yates Show, and she was arguably the most subdued of the cast. Lucky wasn't given much to do other than be lusted after by Trevor and get possessed by Zuul late in the game, but she didn't make me go "Why is she even here?" either. She's spunky and brave and I think there's room for development if they decide to go that way.
And of course seeing the familiar characters again was exquisite. And for all my complaints, I got one genuine good vibe on Egon and Janine's relationship out of this: notice that, with the recurring theme of Egon basically alienating everybody around him--starting with the mysterious mother of his daughter and the daughter, then later his closest friends and business partners--there was one who kept tabs on him through it all, and that he apparently trusted enough to fulfill his wishes after he was gone. The one person who never gave up on him was Janine. I still think this all should have been done differently, but I think they did right by her character much more than it looked at first.
Well, hope this review was at least amusing and brought a new insight or two. I better go wake up that guy who played the drinking game and is now passed out in the next row, and see if he needs a ride to the hospital.
(Thanks to Ogre, who proofread this and suggested a joke or two)
(First posted December 4, 2021)