Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)

Genre: Sci-Fi Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 55 min.

Release Date: March 22nd, 2024 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Gil Kenan Actors: Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Patton Oswalt, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Alyn Lind, Celeste O’Connor, Logan Kim, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, Annie Potts, William Atherton, James Acaster

 


 

A

fter a series of hair-raising, near-death, and heavily property-damaging forays into capturing otherworldly mischief makers, the Ghostbusters, including Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon), her two children, and Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), are put on thin ice by New York Mayor Walter Peck (William Atherton). And youngest member Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) is even decommissioned from the group for three years until she turns eighteen. While her brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) tries to step up and prove his maturity, Phoebe attempts to live a regular life as a normal teen. But it’s not long before she befriends a sardonic ghost (Emily Alyn Lind) and gets mixed up with an ancient artifact containing an unimaginable malevolency. When a doomsday-bringing menace once again arises, the world will have to call upon the Ghostbusters – expectedly led by the intrepid Phoebe and held together by friends and family, including several veteran wranglers of restless spirits.

An exceptionally uninformative cold open establishes meager concepts that will surface later in the film, but it presents no graspable conclusion; it’s a strange way to introduce a picture, though this ties into the standard sequences post-credits. Audiences aren’t reacquainted with the cast; the roles are simply shown, bandying about their signature wits as if they’re all world-renowned. But this merger of two distinct Ghostbuster gangs – the classic ‘80s surviving trio (quartet, if Annie Potts counts) and the young roles from “Afterlife” – which carries a vibe similar to “X-Men: Days of Future Past” or “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” isn’t concerned with a recognizable continuity. They share a job and a largely fanciful, heedless attitude, and that should be enough to make them thoroughly understandable.

Unfortunately, with a cast that is far too big for its own good, the majority of characters remain ignored or forgotten; numerous appearances barely feel as if more than a cameo. Even Trevor, who was essentially the star of the previous entry, has no real reason to be in this movie – let alone the supporting players like Lucky (Celeste O’Connor) and Podcast (Logan Kim), who are not just unnecessary (written to have zero impact on the story), but also entirely forgettable (given almost no lines that allow them to stand out). And the Spenglers as a family in business are, in general, incredibly lame. “We save the world.”

As for the story, it stays the same as before: an immeasurably powerful, “ender-of-worlds” entity is unleashed, intent on wreaking havoc. Following in the footsteps of “Hancock” and a minor theme in Marvel episodes, the Ghostbusters’ devastation of New York in their pursuit to contain ethereal fiends has turned them into a public relations nightmare and the target of an irate local government. The rest is plenty of humor, a bit of goo, and a handful of little scares, though some of the laughs fail, some of the ooze is shopworn, and some of the thrills are unstimulating – perhaps a result of the rare formula of trying to make a family-friendly horror hybrid with mischievous or social specters rather than typical possessions and hauntings. Many of the misadventures are also childish and light-minded, even when adults are in charge; time is regularly spent larding the parental bonding, sisterly bonding, and romantic bonding, since with all the wisecracks and jokes, danger and death are never sincere threats.

It’s nevertheless amusing to see the old cast yet again (perhaps more so for anyone who has forgotten “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which did the same thing), bringing back familiar faces and tech and tunes, along with the good-natured, fun-loving feel of ghost-chasers not having to worry about anything particularly creepy or upsetting. Plus, the special effects, including some animatronics and twitchy demons, are visually proficient. Yet at every turn, “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” struggles to prove that it ought to exist, continually rehashing greatest hits rather than doing something different. And during its worst moments, rather than leaving spirituality and science-fiction to their separate unknowns, it attempts to define the disunification of a soul (“She ghost-walked!”), which becomes outrageously messy for a franchise that has depended so heavily on viewers tending to agree on what exactly a human ghost is, as well as dismissing the reasons behind monster-ghosts (the climax is, once again, a nonsensically vague, made-up-on-the-spot notion that only works when people are told not to think about it). “How is that possible?”

– The Massie Twins

  • 6/10

Ghostbusters Franchise


Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)