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Review: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. Average, easy and forgettable

  • Release year: 2024
  • Director: Gil Kenan.
  • Producers: Jason Blumenfeld, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman.
  • Screenplay by: Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman.
  • Cinematographer: Eric Steelberg.
  • Music by: Dario Marianelli.

Synopsis: the ghostbusters face an evil entity that turns fear into ice to freeze people.

Shotgun Commentary: another forgettable Ghostbusters film saved by nostalgia and Paul Rudd.

Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd).
Source: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Gil Kenan, 2024).

Review

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is exactly what comes to mind if you think about the franchise, but with Disney managers moulding it into their concept of family-friendly. It features all the original characters you’ve been missing, plus a run-of-the-mill family that includes the kid that used to be popular in Hollywood when the previous instalment happened, and all-time likeable actor Paul Rudd.

ABC, nothing more

The story is pretty simple: there is a new bad guy in town, the ghostbusters know nothing about it and mess up badly, they get their sh*t together, they defeat the bad guy. Essentially, the same plot as always. It would be great to be able to say “only this time, …”, but there is nothing new about this adventure.

Kumail Nanjiani, a stressed-out James Acaster and a trope of mini Mr. Stay Pufts with very masochist tendencies are the only novelties of this instalment. They are great additions, but not really relevant to the plot nor interesting past their second appearance on screen.

Left to right: Lucky (Celeste O’Connor), Trevor Spengler (Finn Wolfhard), Lars (James Acaster), Podcast (Logan Kim) and Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd).
Source: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Gil Kenan, 2024).

Average villain, boring heroes

The villain is your average “Sandman in a cloud of darkness with horns”, a figure that you’ll be familiar with if you have encountered any Creepypasta before. His powers are to freeze things and control ghosts. The first ability is literally his whole plan of action. The second is used once for about three seconds. That’s it, no depth, no interesting background of motivations. He might just be the laziest written villain in history.

As for the heroes, they are polite enough to not outshine the villain at all, other than in mediocrity, that is. All of them are exactly the same as they were at the end of their first appearance in the franchise. There is no character journey or emotional evolution whatsoever.

Left to right: Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson).
Source: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Gil Kenan, 2024).

The most fascinating addition is that of Nadeem (Kumail Nanjiani), a random guy who behaves exactly the same as Trevor Spengler (Finn Wolfhard), only he’s around twenty years older. Nanjiani brings the humour that Wolfhard is incapable of, making him a great choice. However, one can’t help but wonder if he would have been necessary at all had Wolfhard been capable of making comedy past his “awkward teenager” impersonation.

The magic recipe

Contrary to what it may seem after reading the previous paragraphs, the film is not actually boring. It is a very generic adventure with one of the laziest scripts ever made, but it is not dull. This is due to Paul Rudd’s charming humour, and the humongous amounts of nostalgia that the film taps into.

Both factors carry the weight of the story and make it successful in terms of entertainment, although they can’t hide the inferiority of its content. The lack of substance is desperately hidden behind all the characters from the first film, librarian and ghost librarian included, and a few callbacks spread here and there. For his part, Rudd’s innate likeability lightens the slowest moments of the film where you might just give up if no one adds a joke.

Ghostbusters hunting a ghost. Source: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Gil Kenan, 2024).

All in all, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is entertaining as long as you don’t expect much from it. It is funny at times, but if you get your hopes up, you’ll find that it doesn’t even come close to what you want from it. It will keep you distracted for a bit, though.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • Nostalgia will make you watch anything.
  • A lack of imagination is always obvious, no matter how many actors you try to hide it behind.
  • Never trust a ghost.
Frozen Ghostbuster’s headquarters. Source: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
(Gil Kenan, 2024).

What’s your take? Have you watched Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire? What are your thoughts on milking a product even when there is nothing new to say? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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