• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire – Frozen… And Dead On Arrival!

ByTaylor T Carlson

Mar 20, 2024
GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE is directed by Gil Kenan. The film stars Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Celeste O’Connor, Logan Kim, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, William Atherton, Kumail Nanjiani, and Patton Oswalt. It’s the fourth film in the core GHOSTBUSTERS series, and the fifth overall.

Following the events of the previous GHOSTBUSTERS film, Spengler’s daughter and her children have relocated to the New York City firehouse where the days of ghost busting began. But there’s no rest for the Ghostbusters. When the group is discredited following public destruction caused by one of their ghost chases, they must step back into action to do battle with an ancient evil lurking in a mysterious artifact, threatening to plunge the world back into the Ice Age.

There’s no denying the place of GHOSTBUSTERS in popular culture. However, the film series has admittedly been a hit-and-miss affair. The 1984 original is an unabashed classic which arguably stands as the best work from the men who created it. 1989’s GHOSTBUSTERS II had its moments but couldn’t quite recapture the thunder of its predecessor. The female-centric reboot/remake GHOSTBUSTERS: ANSWER THE CALL was pretty much reviled across the board, both before and after its release. But in 2021, we got GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE, a well-made legacy sequel that was easily the best movie since the original, passing the torch to a new generation of Ghostbusters while also paying homage to what had come before.

And now, a new movie has arrived. GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE is the latest installment. Hopes are certainly high, but sadly, lightning doesn’t strike twice. The film suffers from sluggish pacing in its first half and tries to juggle far too many character arcs and plot points. Everyone does the best they can with what they’re given, but the results are underwhelming.

From a production value standpoint, FROZEN EMPIRE looks the part and then some. It’s clear no expense was spared bringing this follow-up to the big screen. There’s a big cast, impressive effects, and setpieces that certainly pop off the screen and then some, from the ghosts to the wide array of locations.

Unfortunately, FROZEN EMPIRE is a proverbial melting icicle for most of its duration. One of the biggest problems is that the movie tries to juggle a TON of plot points and story arcs. Gary Grooberson wanting to become a husband/father figure. Zeddemore and Stantz coming to terms with their “golden years.” An eccentric man who may be the heir to a group of people once entrusted with catching ghosts in ancient times. Phoebe having an identity crisis and striking up a friendship with a spirit. The Mayor of NYC wanting to shut the Ghostbusters down. Oh yeah, and something about an ancient demon. It’s ironic that some of the dialogue in FROZEN EMPIRE revolves around overstuffed ghost traps in the NYC firehouse, because the movie is overstuffed to the same extent. And these are just the subplots I could think of off the top of my head after the screening!

Another major weakness that drags this sequel down the ghost trap is its pacing. In the first hour, the movie has no idea where it wants to go or what it wants to go; the aforementioned overabundance of subplots speaks for itself. It doesn’t help that the movie retreads and rehashes plot points from earlier installments and feels frustratingly predictable. Nothing of consequence happens until over an hour into the movie. And when the inevitable climax comes, it’s frustratingly short and feels like a wasted opportunity. In addition to the overstuffed cast, the movie tries to introduce a handful of new characters, though only Kumail Nanjiani really makes a lasting impact and impression; I’ll give this guy credit where it’s due if nothing else. Some characters are wasted; even Bill Murray’s Venkman gets frustratingly little to do, and Annie Potts basically puts on a Ghostbusters uniform… and that’s about all she does. And don’t get me started on the jump scares… I saw this in an IMAX theater screening, so they were particularly bad and grated on my every nerve.

I wanted to love FROZEN EMPIRE the way I loved AFTERLIFE before it, but sadly, it just doesn’t reach the same highs despite some laughs and interspaced entertaining moments. The cast is great and the production is equally impressive, but this ghost is having a spit personality and an identity crisis. Even if you ain’t afraid of no ghost, wait for the home video/streaming release.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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