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Movie Review: Ghostbusters melts down in Frozen Empire

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the original Ghostbusters movie. But its new sequel Frozen Empire's boring story will leave audiences feeling cold.
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the original Ghostbusters, a beloved sci-fi comedy franchise that’s back with the new sequel Frozen Empire. But instead of the series’ usual spooky hijinks, it’s boring story will leave audiences feeling cold.

Director and co-writer Gil Kenan has completely misunderstood what makes the Ghostbusters fun to watch. The plot features only three action scenes in its two hour run time, barely any jokes or attempts at humour, and there’s barely any ghosts in the character list.

When Frozen Empire offers instead is a lot of cheap references to past movies in the series that were both funnier and more exciting. Without any original humour or suspense, it’s missing both key elements this genre needs.

Continuing the events and new characters from 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, teen Phoebe Spengler (a talented Mckenna Grace) has moved with her family into the iconic New York Ghostbusters fire house. There, they team up with the living 80s ghostbusters to stop Garraka - a demon ghost who uses lethal ice to literally freeze people with fear.

That concept of a ghost so scary you could freeze to death is a strong hook for the story, but the plot is eighty percent mystery and exposition. Garraka would be an appropriately scary and formidable villain - except he’s only in the last half hour of the movie.

Instead of ghost hunting and catching action scenes throughout, most of the first hour and half of the film is a predictable mystery and spineless set up for the big fight at the end. Like the newer Jurassic Park: Dominion, it’s a messy combination of old and new characters basically just waiting for the big finale.

The worst parts are the apparently countless plot holes, however high stakes the fight fight is. The entire human cast could and should have died on several occasions, and there’s no explanations offered in how or why they’ve conveniently survived.

Some of the special effects are well-produced, and Kumail Nanjiani offers some of the film’s few laughs as new character Nadeem. But aside from the opening chase through New York, the rest of the movie seems to have slipped on the ice.

Gil Kenan seems under qualified to have directed this blockbuster: most of his past credits are in animation, and one of his only two past live-action films is the forgotten 2008 family adventure movie City of Ember (coincidentally, also featuring Bill Murray in its cast.)

Frozen Empire is without question the worst movie of the series yet; its plot feels more like a Ghostbusters flavoured spin-off that’s made as content filler on a streaming service. There are no ghosts here worth worrying about.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

4 out of 10

PG. 1hr 56mins. Sci-Fi Comedy Mystery.

Directed by Gil Kenan.

Starring Mckenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Dan Aykroyd, Finn Wolfhard, Kumail Nanjiani, Ernie Hudson and Bill Murray.

Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, 5 Drive-In, Cineplex Winston Churchill & VIP and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.