Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Review

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Review

By Kevin Hoskinson
Entertainment Editor

Ghostbusters is part of many lives around the world. The original film was released in 1984, and a sequel followed shortly after, creating one of the most influential and popular franchises of all time. While they weren’t the first to incorporate comedy into the horror genre, they were the first to be taken into the mainstream with the pedigree of its cast and the film’s cutting-edge special effects. As a kid, there was nothing cooler than imagining putting on the iconic jumpsuit, throwing on a proton pack, and rushing in the Ecto-1 to the scene of a haunting. Even as an adult, the fantasy still persists, and that’s why it’s so popular. It appeals to kids and adults in equal measure, acting as a gateway horror experience and adding levity and laughs to a genre that many around the globe adore.

In the years since Ghostbusters 2 was released, there have been rumblings of a third film in the franchise. Decade after decade, fans would get their hopes up, and nothing would happen. Although director Paul Feige released a Ghostbusters film in 2016, it wouldn’t be until 2021 that a proper sequel was released. In that year, fans finally got what they wanted with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a film that was met with mostly positive reviews and an incredible amount of fan service. That brings us to 2024 with a new movie in the franchise, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. While original director Ivan Reitman didn’t take the helm of Afterlife, his son Jason took the reins. Frozen Empire marks the first time a Reitman hasn’t directed, with those duties falling to Afterlife writer Gil Kennan.

Over the years, I’ve realized the key to enjoying legacy sequels is to go in with tempered expectations. So many of us want to get excited about seeing our favorite characters on the big screen again, and we have often been let down. In defense of the creatives behind these films, it’s not an easy task to recreate the magic that made the originals so iconic. Not only are there deep ties to the stories and characters already ingrained in the public consciousness, but filmmaking as an art form has changed, and sensibilities are different. What entertained audiences in the 80s isn’t the same as what audiences want now, and the balancing act is difficult. It’s about so much more than bringing familiar faces back; it’s about nailing the world and characters and expanding the story so that it makes sense. Fan service is good, but it only goes so far before people can see right through what is going on.

The good thing is that Frozen Empire kind of nails the impossible balancing act. In many ways, it feels like a proper Ghostbusters 3, but it also manages to fall short. The original cast of Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson are back, along with Annie Potts, and they actually serve a purpose as opposed to their glorified cameos in Afterlife. It’s great seeing them on screen again, and they seem legitimately thrilled to be there. The humor and horror elements are blended well enough to bring you back to the glory days of the franchise.

The new cast introduced in Afterlife is also accounted for. The descendants of Egon Spangler are the heart of these new films, and there’s a lot of family drama to unpack. When the movie focuses on them and their issues, it shines. Mckenna Grace is the highlight of the entire film, as her character Phoebe is trying to figure out her place in the world and family. She has some beautiful moments of introspection and growth, but they are cut short by the need to focus on action over drama. They also never want us to forget that it’s Ghostbusters by cutting to less interesting moments involving the rest of the cast. If the film had focused on this family and their quest to solve the mystery and defeat the big bad, it might have been better for it.

Even with all of that being said, it was a good time at the movies. None of these new films are going to match what came before, and that’s ok. They aren’t perfect, but they are fun. I do hope that if they green light another, they forget about the past and look towards the future by focusing on the new cast. That would be best, and I look forward to seeing what they do next.

Rating: 2.5 Pastrami Nations out 5

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