Monday, April 8, 2024

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)

Movie Name/Year: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Length:  1h 55min
Rating: PG-13 
Director: Gil Kenan 
Writers: Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman, Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis 
Actors: Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, Annie Potts, William Atherton, Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Celeste O'Connor, Logan Kim, Emily Alyn Lind, James Acaster, Chris Tummings, Kevin Mangold, Ian Whyte, Natalie Cousteau, Allison McKay 
IMDb Blurb: When the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second ice age. 
Cat’s Point of View: 
There was really no question that I wanted to watch Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire as soon as physically and fiscally possible. I mean, it was my #1 pick for my March 2024 Top 20 article, after all. When a friend offered me a chance with an invite to an early matinee this past Tuesday afternoon, my response included “I’ll get the popcorn.”
I loved every second of this new sequel.
My friend had a slightly different take on it, but they seem to have taken one of the trailers a little too literally and were hoping for a spin leaning further into horror than comedy. This made for an interesting debate as we exited the theater. I countered with the fact that while the trailer teased that “every ghost they’ve ever caught will be unleashed” that it didn’t promise that they’d be fighting all or even the majority of them. That wouldn’t have even been feasible within the time constraints. That might be a great plot for a spin-off series – but it would have pulled away from concentrating on the big bad that earned this sequel’s frosty title.
Further, that the goofy comedy was a key aspect of this franchise going back to the very beginning. It’s meant to be family fun, if a little on the spicy side. Thus, of course, the PG-13 rating for Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) as well as this new installment. The original 1984 Ghostbusters came in under the wire within a month or so from when they even began to split the PG rating into a more advanced category. (I think the first sequel dodged the bullet with fewer sexual overtones and a more fantastical plot involving the pink goo taking away some of the intensity.)
To both points, as well, the note about “every ghost” was an ominous portent that did set up the plot elements that tied into the concept where failure to learn from history would make you doomed to repeat it. There were some excellent moments of déjà vu that I quite enjoyed as events unfolded. It also stood to reason that not all of the specters released in the original containment breach would have been caught in the interim; as well as not every spirit involved in the dirt farm incident was sealed away when Gozer was. I absolutely adored and delighted in each and every ghostly cameo.
I also had great appreciation for the fact that Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire provided such a seamless, if a little time-advanced – continuance from where Afterlife and its mid-credits scene left off. There didn’t need to be a lot of exposition into what was going on or how things got to where they were. Everything just worked – including the connections between original cast and new.
I was also very relieved that they didn’t try to bring ghostly Egan back again. There was one scene where I was worried, but it was a proving point that they wanted to honor him in a different way and moved forward to something else advancing the new plot.
I have realized that I generally agree with a fan theory that believes that Egan’s “spirit” – figuratively, rather than literally this time – within the team lives on with Winston’s head tech guy Lars, played by James Acaster (Cinderella, Springleaf, Seize Them!). He has the whole vibe of Egan’s character within The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991) animated series, both on an aesthetic and team contribution level. It is clear that they were by no means trying to replace him or say that this new guy was some sort of stand-in, however. I took it as a natural progression out of necessity to fill the tech development void left with his passing, and a nod to other aspects of the Ghostbusters universe that just don’t often get acknowledgement. I loved that animated series and watched it religiously. I even have the #1 of the comic that was a spin-off from the cartoon. There were actually several elements within Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire that referenced (if sometimes loosely) plot and equipment details from the series. There’s nothing that officially solidifies that particular concept, as far as I know – but for now, it’s my own head-canon.
There were several other new characters that made a big impact within Frozen Empire. Kumail Nanjiani (Stuber, Welcome to Chippendales, Destroy All Neighbors), Emily Alyn Lind (Replicas, Doctor Sleep, The Babysitter: Killer Queen), and Patton Oswalt (Mystery Science Theater 3000, Heroes of the Golden Masks, Manhunt) are welcome additions to the franchise, and I really appreciated how each of their characters contributed to this story – whether on a plot or emotional level.
Gil Kenan (Monster House, Scream: The TV Series, Ghostbusters: Afterlife) has done a phenomenal job with these last 2 movies, and I can only hope that he continues to bring us stories from this beloved franchise. I also appreciate that he has maintained a dedication to continuing the vision that the creative minds that have come before him brought to us – as well as keeping up with a usage of practical effects wherever possible. There’s a really informative interview he did with Collider that goes into so much more, as well. (He has gone on record, as well, stating that he did want to incorporate elements from other corners of the Ghostbusters universe – such as the animated series within these new stories. The article is a good read.)
As you can tell, I’m extremely passionate about my Ghostbusters fandom. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire ticked all the required boxes on my personal approval checklist. If you’ve been a fan of the old-school cast or even the animated series, chances are you’re going to adore this new installment, too.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 44%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 84%
Metascore – 46%
Metacritic User Score – 5.7/10
IMDB Score – 6.5/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5
P.S. – There is a mid-credit scene following this movie, but no further scenes after the credits end.
Movie Trailer: