Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Movie Review: Bustin’ Makes You Feel No Good in This Sluggish, Overstuffed Sequel (LatestLY Exclusive)

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Movie Review: You can tell a movie is lazy when, despite numerous recent blockbuster films being called out by reviews and YouTube videos for exploiting the trope, it still opts for a finale featuring a light beam in the sky. So, on that note, let me begin my review of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the continuation of the Ghostbuster franchise and the direct sequel to a decent but overtly nostalgic 2021 film, Ghostbusters: AfterlifeGhostbusters–Frozen Empire Review: Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon’s Supernatural Comedy Film Receives Mixed Response From Critics.

After the events of the previous film, the Spengler family has relocated to New York to uphold their grandfather’s legacy. Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), along with her older brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), their mother Callie (Carrie Coon), and their stepfather Gary (Paul Rudd), also their former science teacher, are actively engaged in ghostbusting. This endeavour is financially supported by Winston (Ernie Hudson), a former Ghostbuster.

Watch the Trailer of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire:

Their citywide pursuit of a sewer dragon leads to significant damages, prompting the mayor, Walter Peck (William Atherton), to insist that Phoebe, as a minor, should not participate in their operations. Meanwhile, New York City is besieged by strange occurrences, including the onset of an ice age, which can be traced back to a metal ball purchased by Ray (Dan Aykroyd) from a slacker named Nadeem (Kumail Nanjiani). This ball contains an ancient and malevolent entity intent on causing… dum, dum, dum… world-ending havoc. Of course, it gets released and to contain it, the old, the new and the additional guard all have to come together to ghost-bust the hell out of the monster.

The Weak Antagonist

Frustratingly, it takes nearly the entirety of the film for the main antagonist to arrive, never mind the over-convoluted manner it takes to gain full power (seduce a teenage girl, trick her into relinquishing her soul using a conveniently made contraption, and then using that soul to bring about your emergence). Unlike the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man or Gozer from the original Ghostbusters movie, or even Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II, it hardly leaves an impact, leading to a weak finale. Even its instant freezing is quite inconsistent, for that matter.

A Still From Ghostbusters Frozen Empire

As for the remainder of the film, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire unmistakably feels like an empty, profit-driven endeavour for the studios, aiming to capitalise on the nostalgia of a franchise (that perplexingly has only one awesome movie). Even Ghostbusters: Afterlife could be accused of falling into this category, but director Jason Reitman had made an effort to alter the formula while paying homage to the franchise’s legacy, albeit excessively in the finale with a CGI recreation of the late Ivan Reitman. Now, with the sequel, Reitman passes the baton to Gil Kenan, co-writer of Afterlife and known for directing the eerie yet thrilling Monster House as well as the lacklustre remake of Poltergeist.

The OG Ghostbusters

Regrettably, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire comes across much like the Poltergeist remake – hollow, devoid of a soul, and squandering a talented cast. The film is burdened with an abundance of characters, leaving it unsure of how to handle them all, whether they are returning from previous instalments or newly introduced.

A Still From Ghostbusters Frozen Empire

For fans of the original Ghostbusters, the disappointment is palpable as the OG cast members are given shockingly little to do. While Dan Aykroyd surely enjoys more screen time and involvement in the second and third acts, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts are left with virtually nothing to contribute, raising the question of why they were brought back at all. Other than, of course, getting easy paychecks in the twilight of their acting careers.

The Sequel Ghostbusters

Even the Afterlife entrants get affected by the cramped narrative, despite getting more spotlight. The family track of Gary trying to get acceptance from Phoebe as her ‘new dad’ has staleness splashed across. With Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania and now Frozen Empire, it is high time Paul Rudd (looking pretty tired here) needs to evolve beyond that goofy dad charm. Finn Wolfhard hardly has anything to do as well, except getting overpowered by Slimer. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire also brings back Podcast (Logan Kim) and Lucky (Celeste O’Connor) in inconsequential capacities (Trevor’s crush on Lucky is not even acknowledged this time).

A Still From Ghostbusters Frozen Empire

Then we have two new characters in the mix in Lars (James Acaster), Winston’s paranormal expert scientist, and Nadeem. Nadeem has a crucial role in the story, and Kumail Nanjiani at least makes you chuckle here and there, but at the same time, Nadeem also feels a forced character. If that’s not enough, there is a scene where three Ghostbusters need a long geeky exposition dump, and who are you gonna call? Why, of course, Patton Oswalt, who plays a nerdy librarian. Ghostbusters Afterlife Movie Review: Mckenna Grace and Paul Rudd-Starrer Is a Poignant Love Letter to Ghostbusters’ Legacy!

A Still From Ghostbusters Frozen Empire

The only mildly intriguing thread emerges from Phoebe and her friendship with a park ghost, Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), tinged with romantic attraction. Unfortunately, the sweetness of this interdimensional teenage infatuation is diluted by the movie’s other subplots and further muddled by its connection to the events leading to the finale.

Final Thoughts on Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Is Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire a hopelessly lost film? Perhaps not entirely. Despite the weakly drawn characters, the cast manages to salvage moments with their performances, occasionally injecting humour into the narrative. Like Trevor shouting ‘I know that guy’ after Slimer does the group a favour. Or Gary using the lyrics of Ghostbusters theme song to convince Callie to stay. But when I heard the actual song being played in the last scene, I just couldn’t feel a damn bit of joy, and I know in a few hours, I may not even remember whatever happened in the film. I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost, but I am truly afraid of how Hollywood continues to exploit beloved franchises with lazy, cash-grab sequels like Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 26, 2024 07:25 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website

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