- Movie Rating -

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)

| March 22, 2024

I saw Ghostbusters: Afterlife for the first time yesterday morning because I knew that I was going to see Frozen Empire today.  That film broke my heart.  It was laughless, listless, needless and retreated to an endless and frustrating series of callbacks to the first movie and recycled the plot without doing anything new with it.  After falling in love with movies like Thank you for Smoking, Juno and Young Adult, it was heartbreaking that he couldn’t or wouldn’t bring anything new to this series.

Reitman has stepped away from the series and the reins of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire are given to Gil Kenan, who directed a wonderful animated feature almost 20 years ago called Monster House but hasn’t yielded a filmography that would be much envy to anyone – the bottom of which was a soulless remake of Poltergeist.

With Frozen Empire, he has a much better handle on the material.  It is nice to have the Ghostbusters back in New York – The Big Apple is really as much a character to this series as Chicago was to The Blues Brothers and San Francisco was to Dirty Harry.  Oklahoma just didn’t feel right.

The problem with Frozen Empire is that this movie is painfully overstuffed.  It takes forever to get started.  There aren’t enough laughs.  There are way too many characters, far too many plots to keep up with and a lot of missed opportunities.  Again, we get brief shots of those little mini-marshmallow men, but I keep waiting for them to start menacing the town like Gremlins.

The story finds Egon Spengler’s family transplanted from Oklahoma to the iconic firehouse, busting ghosts more or less at random and without legal protection.  Through a series of events way too convoluted to be printed here, they discover that Egon had set up a lab that would allow them to trap and study various kinds of ghosts.  Within the lab is an orb that everyone is very slow to discover contains the soul of an ancient mega-demon named Garraka whose plans are to control the world via a Death Chill.  The characters spend a lot of energy explaining this but we get very little time watching it in practice.

Garraka is not that interesting.  He looks like your local video game villain.  There’s a more interesting villain here called The Possessor who can possess anything.  He’s a lot of fun.  HE should have been the antagonist here.

I wasn’t bored by GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it.  Unlike AFTERLIFE this one feels like a Ghostbusters movie, and it offers some new ideas.  The best, for me, is a tender queer teen romance between Egon’s granddaughter Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and a ghost named Melody who died in a house fire.  Their relationship occupies a small but not insignificant space in this story but it was refreshing because it was something I hadn’t seen before.  It has the sad textures that might be present in a Miazaki film.  I was really moved by it.  Unlike the last film in which Bustin’ made me feel nothing.  This one at least made me feel something.  I just wish it were more organized and slimmed down.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2024) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy