Ghostbusters Frozen Empire (2024) Film Review

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire (2024) Film Review

Eight years after the spectral resurgence in Summerville, Oklahoma, "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" (2024) reunites the legacy cast of the beloved franchise with the next generation introduced in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" (2021). Director Gil Kenan takes the helm, aiming to capture the iconic spirit of the 1984 original while carving a path for the future. "Frozen Empire" delivers a mixed bag – a potent blend of nostalgia, impressive visuals, and an overstuffed plot that struggles to find a consistent tone.

The film excels in its core mission: the passing of the torch. Carrie Coon's Callie Spengler, daughter of the brilliant but eccentric Egon Spengler, relocates her family back to New York City.  Driven by a mix of sentimentality and a desire to honor her father's legacy, Callie revives the dormant Ghostbusters business.  Paul Rudd injects his signature upbeat charm as Gary Grooberson, Callie's parapsychologist boyfriend, offering a welcome counterpoint to Coon's determined portrayal.

The dynamic between the old and new guard is a highlight. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson effortlessly slip back into their iconic roles – Peter Venkman's sardonic wit, Ray Stantz's boundless enthusiasm, and Winston Zeddemore's level-headed pragmatism are all present and accounted for.  Annie Potts reprises her role as the ever-reliable Janine Melnitz, adding a touch of heartwarming continuity.

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However, "Frozen Empire" stumbles in its tonal consistency. The opening chase scene brilliantly sets the stage, weaving thrills and laughter in equal measure as the new Ghostbusters team – Callie, Phoebe (Callie's tech-savvy daughter played by Mckenna Grace), Podcast (the tech whiz Logan Kim), and Lucky Domingo (Celeste O'Connor, a quick-witted newcomer) – tackle a mischievous prankster ghost.  This balance between humor and scares proves elusive throughout the film.  Moments of genuine spookiness, particularly involving spectral figures from Egon's past, are undercut by juvenile humor that feels out of place.

The central antagonist, an ancient, CGI-heavy monster unleashed by the discovery of a mysterious artifact, suffers from a lack of originality.  His motivations feel generic, and his design lacks the same memorable quirkiness that defined Gozer the Gozerian in the original.

The plot itself, while intriguing, attempts to juggle too many moving parts.  The threat of a second ice age triggered by the supernatural entity leaves little room for character development.  Phoebe, who emerged as a scene-stealer in "Afterlife," is relegated to the role of tech wiz, her potential largely untapped.  Similarly, Gary's role feels underdeveloped, despite his potential as a bridge between the generations.

Despite these shortcomings, "Frozen Empire" boasts impressive visual effects. The spectral apparitions are a chilling delight, rendered with a level of detail that evokes a sense of unease.  The return of iconic locations like the firehouse headquarters and the library from the original film will bring a warm smile to fans' faces.  The proton pack battles are a highlight, especially with the ingenious high-tech upgrades implemented by Phoebe.

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A Legacy Under the Microscope

"Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" inevitably invites comparisons to the original film, a cultural touchstone that continues to resonate with audiences today.  While the 2024 sequel lacks the groundbreaking wit and unconventional scares that made its predecessor such a phenomenon, it captures the spirit of camaraderie and goofy charm that solidified the franchise's place in pop culture history.

The film's greatest strength lies in its celebration of legacy.  Seeing the original Ghostbusters team back in action, albeit older and a little worse for wear, is a treat for fans.  The passing-of-the-torch narrative, while familiar territory, is executed with sincerity.  The banter between Callie and Ray, for instance, evokes a sense of shared purpose and mutual respect, highlighting the enduring power of Egon's legacy.

However, the film's reliance on nostalgia can feel like a double-edged sword.  While familiar references and callbacks will undoubtedly elicit cheers from longtime fans, they may also leave newcomers feeling excluded.  The jokes often rely on a deep understanding of the franchise's history, potentially alienating a younger generation of viewers.

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The Verdict: A Chilling Treat with Room for Improvement

Ultimately, "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" is a popcorn flick with a decidedly frosty center. Fans of the original will likely appreciate the reunions and familiar references, but the uneven mix of nostalgia, scares, and humor may leave some viewers feeling a bit…well, burned.


If you're looking for a light-hearted dose of ghostly action with a generous side of nostalgia, "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" is worth a trip to the cinema.  However, if you crave the sharp wit and groundbreaking scares of the 1984 classic, this sequel might leave you feeling a tinge of disappointment.  For newcomers to the franchise, the film might be more enjoyable with a viewing of the original beforehand to fully appreciate the callbacks and character dynamics.

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Looking Forward: The Future of Ghostbusters

"Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" leaves the door wide open for future installments.  The ending hints at a potential larger threat looming on the horizon, and the camaraderie between the new team is a promising sign.  Here's hoping that any sequels can strike a better balance between nostalgia and fresh ideas, while continuing to develop the characters and the unique world of the Ghostbusters.

The film also reignites the age-old debate about remakes and sequels.  While "Frozen Empire" doesn't quite recapture the lightning in a bottle that was the original, it offers a heartfelt continuation of the franchise's legacy.  Perhaps the future of Ghostbusters lies not just in honoring the past, but also in embracing new narratives and unexpected scares, all while retaining the core themes of teamwork, humor, and the thrill of the hunt.

One thing is certain: the enduring popularity of ghosts and the iconic Ghostbusters themselves ensures that there are still plenty of stories to be told.  Whether future installments will solidify "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" as a worthy successor or leave it as a charming but uneven footnote remains to be seen.


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