Saturday, March 23, 2024


Thank you Sony Pictures for inviting me to the Detroit premiere of GHOSTBUSTER: FROZEN EMPIRE that was held at Emagine Theatres' Royal Oak, Michigan location. The Ghostbusters franchise celebrates forty years of busting ghosts with a new sequel to the hit summer flick of 1984 that started it all...the original GHOSTBUSTERS movie. GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE is rated PG-13 for supernatural action/violence, language and suggestive references by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) though from this dad's perspective I didn't see anything particularly troubling that would be prohibitive of younger viewers who aren't inclined to having nightmares about ghosts from seeing it. 

GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE returns the franchise to New York City after its cross country road trip to Oklahoma in the last movie. To honor the legacy of Egon Spengler and reward his daughter and grandkids for their contributions in foiling a new plot by Gozer the Gozerian to unleash anarchy, Winston Zeddemore bankrolls Spengler's daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) to reinitiate the Ghostbusters business in New York City. They bring along with them the kids former science teacher and Callie's current love interest, Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) as part of the Spengler family making up the new Ghostbusters team.

The movie begins with a haunting flashback scene and a fun, energetic ghost chase that highlight why this franchise can captivate you and has developed such a fanatic following with cosplayers and fan clubs around the world. Starting off the film with the Ghostbusters return to New York City and the campy tone of the original movies shows why this franchise is beloved by so many people forty years after the original movie debuted. I was GEEKED as the movie rolled through its first scenes that this might be the best Ghostbusters movie yet.

Yet then the movie's pace began to freeze like the victim's of the ghostly menace emerging to threaten the Big Apple. A big part of the movie begins to focus on a teen angst side plot involving Phoebe that while played well by Grace just is to be honest is awkward and awful dragging down the energy of the movie and really just was not very enjoyable to watch. Additionally, a lot of the one-liners and physical comedy that makes Ghostbusters entertaining were falling flat in this movie not causing me to chuckle while it was obvious that was the intent of the Director. The slow pacing along with a lack of ghost busting action scenes and moments that generated enthusiasm for the movie by the audience laughing out loud together put a damper on the film for me.

I really enjoyed GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE but one criticism was that it lacked a character with the appeal of Rick Moranis' Louis Tully. GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE attempts to address that with the inclusion of comedian Kumail Nanjiani who takes on a similar, though more heroic role, as Louis Tully. While I give credit to Nanjiani for having some nice moments in the movie, overall his role in the movie falls flat contributing to a lack of positive energy in the vibe of the film. I see what the film's producers were trying to accomplish with Nanjiani's casting and character but unfortunately in my opinion they whiffed in the effort.

The film also brought back two popular characters from GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE for some continuity between the movies, Lucky (Celeste O'Connor) and Podcast (Logan Kim). Lucky's role is puzzling because she has an important leadership role in a new paranormal research center Winston has created to support the new Ghostbusters' operations but states she is in town just for a "summer internship." Lucky also was a love interest of Trevor Spengler in the last movie but there is no connection between the characters, not event as friends of colleagues, in this film. Podcast has run away from home pretending to be at Space Camp so he can live with Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) over the summer to learn more about paranormal investigating. Aykroyd and Kim have some nice scenes together but it lacks the same impressive chemistry the Podcast actor had with Phoebe Spengler in Afterlife which is a detraction instead of an improvement from the previous film.

The film adds two shining performances in engineer James Acaster (Lars Pinfield) who plays a believable science geek and scheming specter Melody (Emily Alyn Lind) who provides a nice performance for a poorly scripted role. GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE also brings back a key adversary from the original 1984 film, Environmental Protection Agency investigator Walter Peck (William Atherton) who is now Mayor of New York. Atherton's character remains as unlikeable as ever and just as much as a thorn in the side of the Ghostbusters.

There are some nice nostalgic moments in GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE including returning to the original Ghostbusters firehouse headquarters and the library featured in the first movie. There are also some nice cameos including super geek Patton Oswalt and Slimer the ghost. I have to admit the Slimer scenes are great!

Of course, the remaining living Ghostbusters, Ray, Winston and Venkman (Bill Murray) along with their assistant Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) suit up to help save the day. The big climatic battle scene that brings together the new and old Ghostbusters isn't overly dramatic which is disappointing with Ray, Melnitz, Venkman and Winston more being there to be in the moment than contributing to overcoming the movie's primary threat. Yet, seeing the four of them suited up with proton packs is a nostalgic treat for any Ghostbusters fan. 

GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE also brings back the popular miniature Stay Puft marshmallow men from the last movie. They engage in similar hijinks as in Afterlife. They also are featured in a mid-credits post-movie scene. So, don't run out of the theater as the credits roll though you don't need to stay for the entire scroll through them. 

All in all if you are a diehard Ghostbusters fan this is a must-see at a theater on the big screen. For casual fans it can be a pass though I did find it entertaining enough to recommend having you pick it up on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD or Digital for a family move night when it eventually is released on home video. You can preorder the home entertainment release now on GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE gets a three out of five star Geek Daddy review. 

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