Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire - Chills, Laughs, and Frozen Thrills

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire - Chills, Laughs, and Frozen Thrills

The Spengler family is back in action, returning to the iconic New York City firehouse where it all began. Teaming up with the original Ghostbusters, who have established a top-secret research lab to elevate their ghost-busting abilities, they face a new challenge when an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, threatening the world with a second Ice Age.

In Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the story kicks off with an exciting ghost chase through the streets of New York City in the Ecto-1. Callie (Carrie Coon) and 'Step-Teacher' Gary (Paul Rudd),  have relocated with her children Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) to join the family business. However, the initial thrill of the movie gives way to an overly complex plot that struggles to find its footing.

The Ghostbusters find themselves once again at odds with the former EPA inspector turned mayor, Walter Peck (William Atherton), who seizes upon their perceived recklessness to hinder their operations and sideline Phoebe, leading to a disjointed storyline for her character. Despite Grace's continued charm and quirkiness in portraying Phoebe, Frozen Empire presents her character with a convoluted journey where her intellect clashes with inexplicable decisions. Phoebe's tumultuous interactions with her family lead her to cross paths with Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), a ghost with unresolved issues. Amid clumsy attempts at introducing a cross-dimensional romance for Phoebe, Melody's purpose feels lost, especially amidst the film's increasingly convoluted narrative.

As the ghostly threat escalates, the movie introduces a slew of supporting characters, to handle exposition duties, including familiar faces like Annie Potts and comedians James Acaster and Patton Oswalt. While Kumail Nanjiani's character, Nadeem, a vape shop owner entwined in the Ghostbusters' quest, enjoys a more prominent role, even his comedic prowess struggles to elevate the character's somewhat implausible role in the narrative. The film becomes crowded with numerous characters and subplots, leaving little room for substantial character development. The main ensemble is underutilized, while the veteran Ghostbusters' appearances, though nostalgic, feel more like superficial nods that do little to enrich the overall plot.  

Despite some  fun moments, the film struggles with a sluggish pace and a weak storyline that unfortunately overshadow its inherent charm. The introduction of a vengeful god as the Ghostbusters' adversary sets the stage for a climactic third act, but the underwhelming villain's delayed appearance further adds to the film's forgettable nature.

One main issue with the film is that it lacks a cohesive central unit of funny Ghostbusters. The Spenglers often find themselves at odds with each other, with Trevor even embarking on a solo ghost hunt. While Rudd and Coon exhibit good chemistry, the humor derived from their interactions feels forced and lacks the charm of the original Ghostbusters team.

Despite strong performances, particularly from Mckenna Grace, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire struggles to find a balance between humor and the impending apocalyptic circumstances. The overreliance on CGI effects in the final act detracts from the overall experience. While it may offer some entertainment value for fans of the franchise, its disjointed narrative and excessive reliance on nostalgia prevent it from reaching its full potential. 

Overall, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a somewhat passable addition to the enduring Ghostbusters franchise, now spanning over four decades. While it manages to avoid being a total flop, one can't help but feel a sense of frustration at the relentless push to prolong a franchise that seems to have lost its creative spark. As the humor falls flat and the original charm fades, perhaps it's time to consider laying this beloved ghost-hunting series to rest.

The film appears to be tangled in its own mythos, constantly revisiting the past and struggling to find a footing in the present. This results in a disjointed narrative that feels more like a string of loosely connected "Ghostbusters-themed" vignettes rather than a cohesive cinematic experience. While it may not reach the heights of its predecessors, it still manages to deliver a serviceable entry that will entertain fans of the series.

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