Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Review

Bringing back a beloved franchise that’s been dormant for years can be a tricky business.
There’s always the possibility that you’ll damage the brand forever, which probably explains why
‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ from 2021 was such a safe movie, and with the release of its sequel,
‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’, the franchise had a chance to prove it can do something new
without destroying the old, and in some ways, the movie succeeds at that.


The movie is set a couple of years after the events of ‘Afterlife’. Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd)
and the Spengler family have moved to New York and reestablished the Ghostbusters in the old
firehouse. Business is booming, and despite some interference from old adversary Walter Peck,
who’s now mayor of the city, everything’s going well. That is, until Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd)
comes into possession of an ancient brass orb that contains a powerful evil spirit named
Garakka. This phantom has the power to freeze the entire city and its inhabitants, and it’s not
long before he escapes and starts doing just that. Now, all the Ghostbusters old and new have
to assemble to fight this new terror and face their biggest threat yet.

Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

Having used ‘Afterlife’ as a soft reboot of the franchise which relied heavily on nostalgia, this
movie stretches its legs with new characters, more advanced equipment, and a paranormal
research center set up by Winston Zeddemore, where they can study ghosts. With that being
said, though, the film still uses a lot of nostalgia to make things work. There are lots of
references to past events and characters, and it could have done without so many, especially as
this was a chance for the franchise to really take off with a new movie led by new characters.

Sony Pictures

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with callbacks, but there are so many, and it spills over into
the cast. Not only are there the main characters from ‘Afterlife’, but also the original
Ghostbusters, Janine Melnitz, and a range of new additions, such as James Acaster as Dr
Pinfield, and Kumail Nanjiani as Nadeem Razmaadi. All of them perform well though, and they
have enough unique characters and personalities to make their moments on screen stand out.
It’s also nice to see the original cast being included and actually having some input to the plot. It
just feels like the Spengler family is being pushed out of the limelight. They are the driving force
behind these new movies and they should be the center of the plot. Particularly with Callie
(Carrie Coon) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), who don’t get much to do.

Sony Pictures

Likewise, there are a lot of storylines weaved through the plot, and not all of them are
satisfactorily resolved. The return of William Atherton as Walter Peck feels more like it’s done
for the sake of it, and he’s just playing the bureaucratic guy who wants to shut down the
Ghostbusters yet again.

Luckily though, the two main staples of the franchise, humor and scares, are here by the
bucketload. The jokes are good, and there are some genuinely well-executed laughs. Actors like
Paul Rudd are no strangers to the comedy genre, and the whole cast pulls off their funny
moments with ease. As for the scares, Garakka is one of the scariest villains in the series, and

feels like a much bigger threat than anything the Ghostbusters have faced before, while fan
favorite Slimer makes a welcome return.
A big shout out has to go to the effects team who’ve made some incredible scenes here. One
problem with modern reboots of classic franchises is that the effects can feel too modern and
out of step with what’s been show before. That doesn’t happen here, partly thanks to the use of
practical effects and puppets to pull it off, partly because of intelligent design choices with the
new creatures and VFX.

Much like every movie that’s come out of the franchise since 1984, it’s not as smart as the
original, and it has its problems with pacing and story. But it follows a formula that’s served the
series well for four decades, and proves that it still works by delivering a movie that’s funny,
scary, and most important of all, entertaining, without stretching the franchise beyond its limits. It
won’t leave you feeling like you’ve witnessed a great cinematic event, but that was never its
purpose. It’s just there to provide some fun, enjoyable entertainment, and on that level, it
definitely delivers.

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