Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Review

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Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

The Ghostbusters are back!  Our new characters in the franchise have moved to New York, the original spot for trapping ghosts. They are even living at the old firehouse. But when an ancient artifact containing an icy evil is released, the team must recruit the original Ghostbusters to combine forces and save their city. If they don’t, hell will literally freeze over. 

Positives:

I’ve always associated “Ghostbusters” with fun. Even in the wonkier movies, the series has always maintained a level of silliness and enjoyment to recommend them. I’m happy to report that this trend continues with “Frozen Empire”. Our new cast members are transported to a fresh setting that maintains lots of nostalgia for fans of the series. It’s nice to see them embracing the ghostbusting lifestyle and paying homage to the members who came before them. But I also enjoy how they are each forging their own paths. Gary is learning to be a father figure to the Spengler kids, which is a nice evolution for his character if he is going to be in their lives. Phoebe is in another stage of her life as well, too young to be involved in team dynamics but old enough to want some freedom. As for the veteran characters, Ray Stanz and Winston Zeddemore are used the best. Their roles in the story are prominent, serving as a knowledge base for the new characters and a staunch supporter of  supernatural studies. This reboot series is doing a nice job at balancing the old with the new, where respect is paid to both. What more can a fan of the series ask for?

Another welcomed surprise was the fresh story. My main complaint with “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” was that the story felt too similar to the original. Sure, the setting was new and the characters were fresh…but the carbon copy villain and story structure were noticeable. “Frozen Empire” shakes things up a bit, where a new villain is lurking in the background within a story that progresses the world of ghostbusting. Winston is now funding the study and exploration of the supernatural, which opens up a world of opportunities to explore in the franchise. With the expansion of lore and ghost history, there is room for many future ghostbusting stories. Very exciting as a fan! I enjoyed seeing how these ghouls and entities were brought into the modern world, being studied by Winston’s team and the older Ghostbusters. Lots of new creative elements to please older fans while gaining new ones. The special effects on the ghosts were cool too. It’s clear that the filmmakers want to keep the DNA that gave “Ghostbusters” a unique style, but update things where they can. The ghosts look as good as ever, with special shoutouts to Slimer and Garraka. Lots of fun to be had here!

Negatives: 

As much fun as “Frozen Empire” has with the bombastic premise, sometimes it feels overstuffed. The main issue that the story faces is the number of characters and ideas being explored. It almost feels as if the film is not only trying to juggle all of the characters, but also wants to set up future films with the worldbuilding. Being a film that is under two hours, it’s difficult to give care to each character appropriately. With that, people like Callie, Trevor, Janine Melnitz, Peter Venkman, and others feel stuffed into the story. As great of characters as they are, their inclusion in the story didn’t always feel necessary. Hopefully the next film finds a better balance or simplifies the story in order to make each character’s appearance feel earned. 

But the characters aren’t the only aspect that feel overstuffed. There are also too many side stories going on at once. Phoebe’s ghost friend dynamic, Nadeem’s connection to the villain, and the parenting relationship between Gary and the kids all needed more substance. Simplifying the story and including these ideas in future films would have helped the plot feel more fluid. Maybe these ideas can be expanded upon in the next movies because they deserve more attention. 

Conclusion:

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” is a worthy addition to the franchise. It’s fun, fast paced, and utilizes nostalgia to unite the old with the new. While the story is overstuffed and the characters feel crowded in the story, there’s enough enjoyment in seeing them all come together to take down another ghostly villain. It distinguished itself from previous films with a fresh story, but perhaps leans on nostalgia too much at times. It’s fun for families and fans of the series alike. Check this one out to see all of the ghostbusting potential for the future!