“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” Barely Manages a Chill – Movie Review

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire movie review
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Image via Trailer)

The sequel to Sony’s current Ghostbusters reboot fails to deliver a narrative that fully embraces the premise and goes for subzero temperatures. In my opinion, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a serviceable movie. And that’s disappointing to say considering what it could have been.

The movie opened with a flashback to 1904 New York with a bunch of firemen investigating a strange phenomenon involving a group of rich men frozen to death with a strange chant playing from a phonograph. We get to see a mysterious orb lock itself up and then we jump to the present with the Spenglers, including Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), giving chase to a Hell’s Kitchen Sewer Dragon.

The initial action scene helped give audiences a quick look at the current dynamic of the team. Finn Wolfhard’s Trevor is growing up (he’s 18) and doesn’t appreciate working as a Ghostbuster for free while Callie (Carrie Coon) and Gary have concerns about involving someone as young as Phoebe (she’s 15) on their missions. It also doesn’t help that Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) continues to be quite proactive and puts herself in harm’s way.

Another important dynamic was Gary trying to figure out where he fits in the Spengler household. He clearly wanted to be a father figure to Trevor and Phoebe, but he didn’t want to overstep any boundaries. I liked some of the mature moments the script added with Callie assisting Gary when interacting with the teens. There’s also a joke made by Gary about “busting” that made me laugh.

The script tried its best to balance three generations of characters, with the OG cast playing a bigger role this time around. However, I do feel that the approximately 1-hour and 50-minute runtime limited proper exploration of certain character arcs, especially with all of the lore that needed to be introduced via the ancient demon Garraka and Nadeem Razmaad (Kumail Nanjiani) being a descendant of Fire Masters.

The way the story utilized Garraka felt very predictable. From my understanding, he’s supposed to be a demon who used fear to freeze his surroundings. The concept of being killed by fear itself was also brought up in the trailer. But not once did the film show Garraka tap into the “fear” part of his powers. He was basically a demonic version of any cryokinetic comic book character. In my opinion, the narrative could have benefited from showing Garraka bring forth certain fears and using the accompanying emotions to give the cast some much-needed instances of character development.

Gary could have faced his insecurities as the newest member of the Spengler family. Callie could have feared Phoebe amplifying her disrespect and continuing to grow distant from her. Ray (Dan Aykroyd) could have faced the possibility of being forced to retire from partaking in paranormal activities.

There’s so much that could have been done with Garraka entering the scene instead of having him slowly walk towards the NY Ghostbusters firehouse to release the captured ghosts like some dime-a-dozen Ice-Type dark demon. Why even bring up a demon’s connection with fear and cold if you aren’t going to use it? Where’s the creativity?

The entire thing reminded me of how well Bleach handled coldness and fear during the ‘Thousand-Year Blood War Arc’.

Also, the explanation of a Fire Master’s ability to control fire to counter Garraka was undercooked.

Having said that, what I did like were the emotional moments shared between Phoebe and the ghost Melody (Emily Alyn Lind). While I don’t want to state anything definitive about Phoebe’s possible queer sexuality, let’s just say that I can see certain fans shipping Melody and Phoebe. There’s definitely enough subtext in the movie that can be used to sail said ship.

I mean, Phoebe literally went through an experimental process to separate her soul from her physical body for two minutes so she could interact with Melody on the spectral plane.

All in all, I found Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire to be a serviceable movie. It’s not particularly bad and does feature a bunch of action sequences, a bit of horror, and comedic elements for younglings and adults to enjoy. However, it is dragged down by a premise that had the main cast reacting to situations connected to yet another major threat instead of having them be the ones driving the story and undergoing character growth.

As of writing this review, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire has managed to gross more than $61 million at the global box office against a reported production budget of $100 million. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) was able to gross north of $200 million. So, let’s see how the sequel fares and if Sony will deem it successful enough to proceed with the multiple future films that have been discussed.

Did you watch Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire?

What did you think of it?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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