Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Review—An Icy Romp Through A Past Revisited

By   |   March 21, 2024   |   Entertainment
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Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire isn’t a car crash. But this installment—directed by Gil Kenandoesn’t quite rekindle the fire of its predecessors. While I don’t identify as part of its fanbase, I say this earnestly as someone who likes the original 1984 Ghostbusters directed by the late Ivan Reitman.

In this latest sequel, the Spangler family are loving their Ghostbusting jobs, bankrolled by Dr. Winston, the charming original GB Ernie Hudson, across Manhattan streets. Conflict arises when a glyph artifact lands in their possession, not to mention that the family is forced to bench the teenage Pheobe Spenger (Mckenna Grace) to avoid legal violations.

I remain of the opinion that Grace, who embodies a Phoebe with an always curious eye for the supernatural, should have been shouldering the load of the skeleton of a nostalgia-run franchise. Something could have glowed brightly within her paranormal friendship with a human ghost (Emily Alyn Lind) if there weren’t so many other things happening in the film. A genuine chemistry emanates from them, and I wanted to see more.

Are their spurts of warmth in Frozen Empire? Yes, in ephemeral sparks. There is one reflective moment between the OG cast members. It’s when Dr. Winston reproaches Ray (Dan Aykroyd) to find a new way to do what they love. Somewhere burrowed in this film is a heartwarming meta on aged legacy characters refiguring their place in the universe. Soon, the film will have a simple payoff for this answer. It’s nice to see Bill Murray, Annie Potts and William Atherton again, even if their roles feel superfluous.

Cute hijinks with poltergeists, especially a pesky little “Possessor,” do snag worthwhile interest. Dashes of funny lines surface in Kenan and Jason Reitman’s screenplay. Kumail Nanjiani finds amusement as Nadeem Razmaadi and one of the film’s great jokes is that the world’s fate might rest on a loser Chosen One warrior like him.

Even if Afterlife committed the sin of doing a zombified CGI carcass of the late Harold Ramis, the Afterlife reboot film plucked out some charm. But it didn’t know how to nurture a garden. Sans a CGI ghost of a dead actor, Frozen Empire repeats its predecessor’s shortcomings.

The film’s other stars Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Celeste O’Connor and Logan Kim do their best to enliven their parts. The family-friend dynamics are endearing, but the film doesn’t boil to any revelational relationship, not even in Rudd’s character adjusting to step-fatherhood. 

While Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire doesn’t quite extinguish a fire, it’s pleasant enough for some chuckles and worth its weight in the resurrection of our favorite OG GBs.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is opening on March 22.

photo credit: Columbia Pictures

Filed Under: Entertainment
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