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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Rondina

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Review

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a fun, but flawed supernatural romp, that still has plenty to offer audiences old and new, my full review.


Growing up in the 80s, Ghostbusters defined so much of my childhood to the point I feel like I was born with the Neutrona Wand in hand. From the movies, toys, and The Real Ghostbusters animated series, I’ve been there for it all. The franchise isn’t just a series of films; but a cultural phenomenon that captured the imaginations of children and adults alike. Its gritty charm and story of unlikely heroes smiting spectres on the streets of New York just oozed cool.

"Its gritty charm and story of unlikely heroes smiting spectres on the streets of New York just oozed cool."

Fast forward to the soft re-launch of the franchise with 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife – It acted as a direct sequel to the original films, connecting to the franchise by following the story of the next generation of Ghostbusters. Now, Frozen Empire has arrived in the Big Apple to continue the legacy of ghost bustin.’ Does it live up to lofty expectations and carry the proton torch for a new generation? Read on to find out in my full review.


Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Details

Release date: March 22nd, 2024

Director(s): Gil Kenan

Actor(s): Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt

Run time: 115 minutes

Genre: Comedy, adventure, fantasy

Content Rating: PG-13


Back in the Big Apple

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire continues the story from Afterlife following the Spengler/Grooberson family who left Summerville, Oklahoma for life in New York. The high-octane opening sequence of the film has the family battling spectres through the streets of the city while hashing out family matters. The dynamic is incredibly funny and offers a more personal side to the crew than seen in previous films. This also helps to pave the road for more emotional moments in the later acts. Paul Rudd portrays the ever-enthusiastic Gary Grooberson turned Ghostbuster/father figure and Carrie Coon, as the resilient family matriarch. As a parental pair battling paranormal activity they offer some great chemistry and funny moments. Their kids Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) take to the life of ghost busting like naturals. Trouble comes knocking when the four wreck too much havoc in the city while hunting ghouls and mayor Walter Peck (William Atherton) acts a foil and “benches” Phoebe. This starts to a fracturing of the group (and the plot) as things move in many directions at once. Unfortunately, very few of these different story arcs are brought to a satisfying conclusion, but it's still a fun ride.

"Unfortunately, very few of these different story arcs are brought to a satisfying conclusion, but it's still a fun ride."

A tangled, but fun Ghost Bustin’ plot

The plot becomes a little too bloated as it tries to reconcile new era of Ghostbusters with cameos from the old school crew. We see the return of many familiar faces in fun ways namely the return of Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz offers a comfortable bridge to the past, through his role as a mentor. Additionally, Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt join the cast offering some of the best performances in the film. The central story tries to pull too many threads at once, while loading a lion share of the action at the start and end of the movie.

"The central story tries to pull too many threads at once, while loading a lion share of the action at the start and end of the movie."

It would have been great to see more action spread throughout the film. There are also some genuinely scary and adult oriented moments that don’t seem to fit with the tone of the film, but I still found it quite enjoyable and hilarious.


An ancient evil returns

The discovery of an ancient artifact releases an evil force, and the Ghostbusters, both new and old, must unite to stop the evil entity. It sounds like a great concept on paper that can't fail, unfortunately it falls short in many areas, especially pacing. When the film’s feature baddy makes his appearance which leads to a grand showdown, it all feels very rushed. One of the biggest issues with Frozen Empire is the pacing of the plot which starts off great then drops off considerably.

"One of the biggest issues with Frozen Empire is the pacing of the plot which starts off great then drops off considerably."

The story tries to weave together many threads and while it hits the mark in some areas, it misses in others.

There are neat gadgets and ghouls introduced that offer a lot of fan service, but some of it could have been left on the cutting room floor to create better cohesion in the story. The film tries to strike a balance between the whimsical humor of the entries, and a new, more somber tone that doesn't always mesh well. Overall, with these conflicting concepts I still really enjoyed the flawed but ultimately fun ride.

"Overall, with these conflicting concepts I still really enjoyed the flawed but ultimately fun ride."

Final thoughts on Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire resonated with me through its ability to evoke a sense of wonder like the original films while also charting its own course. The movie’s exploration of legacy—both the characters and the franchise’s—struck a chord, reminding me that some spirits never fade.

"The movie’s exploration of legacy—both the characters and the franchise’s—struck a chord, reminding me that some spirits never fade."

In essence, Frozen Empire is a love letter to the fans, a cinematic experience that both chills and charms. It’s a film that celebrates the past while moving forward, proving that the Ghostbusters’ adventure is far from over.

 

Overall, I RECOMMEND Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.


Special thanks to Sony Pictures for the advance screening of the film for the purpose of this review.

 

About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina

Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!

 

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