Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Review

REVIEW: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is the latest ‘requel’ entry into the ghostbusting franchise, following on from 2021’s surprisingly successful Afterlife. And while this latest film certainly ticks all the right nostalgia boxes on paper, the end result is sadly lacklustre and unmemorable. 

The film picks up three years after the events of the last film, where Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon), boyfriend Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) and her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) have relocated to New York City and have re-established the Ghostbusters in the old firehouse, with the help of Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) and Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd).

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Review

After causing destruction chasing after the Hell’s Kitchen subway ghost, Mayor Walter Peck (William Atherton) threatens to close the Ghostbusters down again, especially when he discovers underage Phoebe is working with them. To appease Peck, Callie stops Phoebe from taking part in fieldwork. Upset at this, Phoebe deals with her emotions by playing chess in a local park, where she encounters the ghost of a girl called Melody (Emily Alyn Lind) whom she befriends.

Meanwhile, Ray is collecting cursed items for examination in his shop and is visited by Nadeem (Kumail Nanjiani), who’s selling his deceased grandmother’s possessions. Included with them is a brass orb, which emits high levels of psychokinetic energy that Ray believes to be some kind of trap. Ray hands the orb over to Winston to investigate at his private paranormal research centre led by scientist Lars Pinfield (James Acaster), where testing reveals powers that damage the dangerously over-capacity ecto-containment unit at the Ghostbusters firehouse. As the team investigate the orb and Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) assesses Nadeem for supernatural abilities, they soon discover the story of an ancient demonic god who could bring about the end of the world. 

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Review

Following on from Afterlife, which for me was a surprisingly entertaining, nostalgic and successful return to the original Ghostbusters franchise, I had higher hopes for Frozen Empire than I might have had otherwise. Unfortunately, these hopes were well and truly dashed pretty sharpish, as this latest film is pretty dull. After the initial opening ghost chase, which wasn’t particularly thrilling and had one of the cringiest lines of the entire film, nothing exciting happens for a very long time. Instead, there’s a lot of talking, barely any ghosts and a lot of teenage angst that we’ve seen a million times before. I’m sorry to say I’ve never cared less about a teenager’s plight than I have about Phoebe’s issues in this film, it was just so boring. With a script that was mostly cheesy and not particularly funny at all, as well as a big bad that doesn’t appear far too late in the film and when he does he’s a bit of a disappointment, this entire film is such a letdown.

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Review

It’s frustrating as the nostalgic bits in this film could have made it brilliant. We see the return of so many elements from the original franchise, from Walter Peck to Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz, to the firehouse, Slimer, the library ghost – there’s even a scene featuring ghosts flying over the New York City skyline which made me smile. On paper, these sound fantastic, but somehow the film and plot let them down and they just don’t come off right. 

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Review

Without a doubt, the best scenes of the entire film involve Murray’s Peter Venkman, but sadly these scenes are few and far between. It almost felt like they’d given Murray the best, wittiest lines and then lost interest in the rest of the script. Even Kumail Nanjiani is completely screwed over here, obviously meant to bring the bulk of the comedy with his character being similar to Rick Moranis’ Louis from the original, but instead left with questionable lines that just aren’t funny, no matter how hard Nanjiani tried. 

One person I was pleasantly surprised by however was James Acaster. Having seen and listened to him in various guises as himself, I think he’s hilarious but wouldn’t have thought he could pull off a proper acting gig, but he does very well. In fact, I almost wish we could’ve seen more of his rather deadpan, grouchy Dr Pinfield. 

Despite good intentions, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire can’t seem to blend the old and new crews successfully as it has before. Instead, the end result is a dull, uninteresting mashup that is entirely forgettable.

Where to Watch

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire | March 22, 2024 (United Kingdom) 6.5


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