Review – Ghostbusters : Frozen Empire

Nostalgia accounts for a lot of movie culture these days, with the Ghostbusters franchise causing an overwhelming amount of this with 2021’s requel Afterlife. Now that need for nostalgic dopamine is on overload with Frozen Empire reuniting the original Ghostbusters and fusing with the new cast to take down a” tall dark and horny” ancient god who wants to wage his revenge on humanity with ice and snow (sound familiar?). While there are large helpings of nostalgia in this movie, it also suffers from being overstuffed with too many cast members, old and new, different storylines that don’t marry up to each other and an uneven pace that regrettably leaves all the action too far into the movie to have any real impact. Someone needs to zap this franchise with a proton beam and realise that what made the original movies great in the 80s cannot be replicated, no matter how many times you drag the old cast out of retirement for. This results in Frozen Empire delivering one of the year’s worst movies (and yes, I have seen Madame Web!). 

The Spangler family have relocated to New York City,Callie (Carrie Coon) her daughter Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard)  along with Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) who is leading the family zipping around on the geared-up Hearse chasing a sewer dragon. It’s a great re-introduction to the new cast with one-liners and gives a real sense of the family dynamic and how their dynamic has changed since the previous film. It was a great introduction that quickly nosedives the story’s pace to a grinding halt. The film furiously attempts to juggle wheeling in the old Ghostbusters to help stop the ancient evil while giving the new ones enough screen time (poor Finn Wolfhard barely gets a look in here!) then there are more new characters to introduce with Kumail Nanjiani playing a entrepreneur who stumbles across the ancient evil’s protective orb. Rounding out the cast is Patton Oswald, who plays a language specialist at the library. He brings just enough charm and wit to make this story nearly salvageable. 

By the time the freezing starts, it is too little too late. There are no great action sequences here or anything outside of getting Bill Murray (wasn’t he cancelled?), Dan Akroyd, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts to gear up in their original costumes, grab their proton guns and shoot at an evil that they have been told will have no affect (yes it as ridiculously stupid as it sounds!) before Nanjiani fumbles his way to fulfil his destiny after discovering his past is linked with the entity. 

There is another trope that this film falls into: Phoebe forms a flirtatious friendship with a ghost by the name of Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), and this film is not brave enough to embrace this relationship and present it as it should be. Regrettably, it goes one step further by falling into the queer character stuck in purgatory and easily manipulated to be evil. It’s quite sad that the writers felt they couldn’t embrace Phoebe’s flirtations and once again put the stigma on the queer community. 

Instead of innovating and moving the series forward, it seems to be habitually stuck in the 1980’s even reusing the Ghostbusters theme song and footage from the music video to get the nostalgic dollars. The only innovation here is the use of the Stay Puft marshmallow creatures who are now the official Minions of the Ghostbusters franchise. They are just as irrelevant and annoying as the minions themselves and offer nothing to further the story apart from an amusing post-credits scene. 

Ghostbusters : Frozen Empire is truly built on the foundations of nostalgia and its 1980’s past. While the writers are intent on not updating the story to bring it into the 2020s era, it will unfortunately be fuelled by pure nostalgic and offer nothing new to the franchise. Newcomers Rudd and Oswalt do the best with what little they have been given here, unfortunately it is not enough to make this movie even remotely watchable. 

Ghostbusters : Frozen Empire is now showing in cinemas.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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