Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Brings On More Scares and Fun

(L to R) Callie (Carrie Coon), Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), Gary (Paul Rudd), Janine (Annie Potts), Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), Podcast (Logan Kim), Ray (Dan Aykroyd), Lars (James Acaster) and Lucky (Celeste O'Connor) in Columbia Pictures' GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE. Courtesy of Sony Pictures. © 2023 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It’s all in the family as Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire takes the Spengler family back to where it all began in New York City.

I don’t ask much from Ghostbusters films other than to be not quite as dark as Ghostbusters 2. They don’t change up the formula too much in this film. What I can say for certain is that the Spenglers and Gary have embraced their role as Ghostbusters following the previous film. It’s just sad that original director Ivan Reitman is not around to see it. The franchise is now in the hands of his son, Jason Reitman. The younger Reitman handles co-writing and producing duties while Gil Kenan steps in as the sequel’s director. He has some big shoes to fill but gets the job done. In any event, Jason was able to tell his father the story for the film before Ivan died.

There is a mid-credits scene during the end credits. Spoilers will follow.

The Ecto-1 races through New York City in Columbia Pictures' GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE.
The Ecto-1 races through New York City in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE. Courtesy of Sony Pictures. © 2023 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The earlier film’s Oklahoma setting may have been a good thing. It allowed the franchise to reset so to speak. Egon Spengler’s daughter, Callie (Carrie Coon), and grandchildren, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), and Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) work with the original Ghostbusters as both generations work together. Lucky (Celeste O’Connor), and Podcast (Logan Kim) have also relocated to NYC. While the iconic firehouse is falling part, Winston Zeddemore’s (Ernie Hudson) Paranormal Research Center is busy with studying the future of busting. It’s been 40 years so one figured that they had to have a backup in case something went wrong. It’s only after Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) gets his hands on an artifact that all chaos begins to break loose. If they don’t find a way to stop it, a new Ice Age is going to begin shortly.

You know how there’s always a slacker child who didn’t listen to the important thing? That’s what happened here with Nadeem (Kumail Nanjiani). Who wouldn’t want to get rid of junk lying around the house? Anyway, it turns out that it was being kept there for safekeeping!

One of the things I love about the film is how Kenan and Reitman pay homage to the original 1984 classic. I mean, we go back to the New York Public Library. A certain image might or might not be appearing on the screen. William Atherton makes his return to the franchise, reprising his role as Walter Peck. The former  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspector is now New York’s mayor. How did that happen?!? Anyway, he still has vendetta, wanting nothing more than to see the end of the Ghostbusters! Anyway, I just love the many other homages to the original film. There’s even a snippet of Ray Parker Jr.’s music video for the theme song.

Visually speaking, this is a film that does its best to stay aesthetically close to the originals. I love that. I love that they go for practical and visual optical effects as much as possible. We’re living in a CGI world but this is a film that finds the right balance. But anyway, the modern technology allows for something that we’ve never seen in a Ghostbusters movie: the act of Slimer sliming someone as it happens. There’s no cutting from A to B as Slimer slimes in camera.

Nothing can ever live up to the original but Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is another solid outing for the franchise in bringing the scares and fun.

SCREENWRITERS: Gil Kenan & Jason Reitman
CAST: Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Celeste O’Connor, Logan Kim, James Acaster, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, William Atherton

Sony will release Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire in theaters on March 22, 2024. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.