Published on March 23rd, 2024 | by Harris Dang

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire – Film Review

Reviewed by Harris Dang on the 21st of March 2024
Sony Pictures Releasing presents a film by Gil Kenan
Produced by Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman, and Jason Blumenfield
Written by Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman
Starring Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Celeste O’Connor, Logan Kim, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, William Atherton, James Acaster, and Emily Alyn Lind
Cinematography Eric Steelberg
Edited by Nathan Orloff and Shane Reid
Music by Dario Marianelli
Running Time: 115 minutes
Rating: PG
Release Date: the 21st of March 2024

Frozen Empire is a continuation of the film Ghostbusters: Afterlife. It follows the story of the Spengler family as they leave Summerville, Oklahoma, and move to the Ghostbusters headquarters in New York. The young tykes of Summerville have ventured to greener pastures. Their new jobs and spirited enthusiasm have made them more attuned to the supernatural world. The Spengler family are still feeling slightly fractured though now that Gary (Paul Rudd) is part of the picture.

Thanks to curiosity, inexperience, and naivety, the crew of old and new are sprung back into action as the discovery of an ancient artifact happens to contain pure evil. With the world at stake under an impending spectral army in tow, it is up to the Ghostbusters to save the world again.

From first glimpse, the synopsis looks sparse and simple enough. However, Frozen Empire is essentially the same story as the prior films, no more, no less. While the sense of familiarity may appeal to long-time fans, this déjà vu makes Frozen Empire a dearth of amazement and wit.


First, the positives. A major criticism of Afterlife was the sheer lack of focus on its primary thesis. Did the film want to be a family drama about reconciling with its past? Did it want to be a sequel about the need to relive past glories? Did it want to be a love letter to the decade of the 1980s? By being a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, Afterlife became a lumbering mess. In the case of Frozen Empire, director Gil Kenan (who co-wrote Afterlife) bring a sharper focus to tone and storytelling, presenting a simple, straightforward adventure.

Another positive is McKenna Grace’s performance. She was the one bright light in Afterlife. She still manages to display intelligence, conviction, and oddball charm to make her endearing, and compared to the other characters, human. Her scenes with Emily Alyn Lind (who plays a ghost named Melody) are some of the most compelling. The bond between the two is engaging, relatable, and provides whatever drama there is in the otherwise consequence-free narrative.

Therein lies the negatives. If one is looking for anything resembling well-done drama, surprises or invention in its narrative or filmmaking, you will not find it here. The storyline (written by Kenan and Jason Reitman) is trite and lacking suspense. No consequences are felt throughout. The attempts at fan service (much like in Afterlife) unintentionally become negative foreshadowing and kill any sense of spontaneity stone dead.

We know when the originals actors will appear because they have not appeared before or not have appeared enough. Will Slimer make an appearance? Will Walter Peck still be a dick? Will Peter Venkman still be smarmy as he points out ghosts? If you do not know the answer to either of these questions, it is either you have not seen the Ghostbusters films, or you have been in a coma.

Speaking of appearing comatose, let us talk about the cast. While they all lend a watchable presence at best, they give performances that are either unenthused (Bill Murray looks like he was anaesthetised before the cameras started rolling), woefully predictable (Paul Rudd does the lame dad routine again ad nauseum), given very little to do (the talents of Carrie Coon are nowhere to be seen), or are vessels of tired fan service (the appearance of William Atherton does exactly what you think he does).

It is depressing to say such criticisms about the talent involved. Regrettably, their considerable skills are wasted in Frozen Empire. It still suffers from Afterlife’s flaws. It is a dull, forgettable piece of work that goes to show that some ghosts need to be put to rest.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire – Film Review Harris Dang

Summary: A dull, forgettable piece of work that goes to show that some ghosts need to be put to rest.



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