Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Review

Reviews Films


Columbia Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire emerges as the sequel to 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, hoping to propel the iconic franchise to new heights. Directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House), this new entry aims to blend the warm nostalgia of ghostbusting with a cool, new adventure that will please both young and old fans of this revived franchise.

In this latest chapter of the Ghostbusters saga, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, an unexpected turn of events occurs when an ancient artefact, long buried and forgotten, is unearthed, unleashing an evil force upon the world. This sinister new being threatens to plunge the planet into a devastating second ice age, prompting a desperate call to action. The latest Ghostbusters team up with the originals to save their city and the world from this icy doom.

I would like to preface this review by saying I am a lifelong Ghostbusters fan. Watching the original films on VHS and The Real Ghostbusters cartoons growing up are some of my fondest childhood memories. In fact, the first job I remember wanting to have when I grew up was becoming a Ghostbuster, then I think it was Power Ranger… But that’s besides the point.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife reinvigorated my love for this franchise and reminded me of how wonderfully they blend comedy, horror and sci-fi. After Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s mediocre box office return I wasn’t hopeful this franchise would have another instalment greenlit. So you can imagine my delight once I found out Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire was announced.

Maybe it’s my protective love of this franchise that made me feel this way but Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a mixed bag. Though some elements do work, its primary struggle is its overcrowded roster of characters. In its bid to marry the old with the new, Frozen Empire introduces too many new characters who, despite their potential, often feel sidelined. This clutter not only detracts from the development of individual arcs but also leaves many characters appearing lost in the fray, contributing little to the narrative and feeling, for lack of a better word, useless. This is a stark contrast to the commendable performances delivered by the cast. Each actor shines in their role, and their ability to make the most out of the limited material is a testament to their skills.

Kumail Nanjiani (Eternals) emerges as a beacon of comedic relief, his character’s witty charm and humour marking him as a standout addition to the ensemble. Conversely, McKenna Grace, despite her proven talent from the previous film, is entangled in a subplot that more often hampers the film’s pace than improves it.

Phoebe Spengler (Mckenna Grace) in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE.

The film’s willingness to take risks and introduce new elements is both its strength and its Achilles’ heel. While innovation breathes life into the ageing franchise, not all the new additions land as intended. The new villain, Garraka, a visual feast for the eyes, encapsulates this feeling perfectly. Despite an intriguing design and menacing presence, the character’s potential is undercut by an anticlimactic showdown that fails to deliver the high-stakes confrontation expected of a Ghostbusters finale.

Humour, a cornerstone of the Ghostbusters legacy, presents itself in a hit-or-miss fashion throughout Frozen Empire. While the film got some chuckles, it never reached the heights of its predecessors’ memorable one-liners and laugh-out-loud moments. Ray Stantz’s (Dan Akroyd) return as a bridge to the original ensemble offers a great nostalgic boost, yet other returning cast members, namely Bill Murray (Peter Venkman) are relegated to what feel like glorified cameos, adding to the film’s struggle with balancing its extensive character roster.

In essence, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a film caught between reverence for its roots and the desire to forge a new path. Its ambition is commendable, and its moments of brilliance—especially in acting and special effects—shine through. Yet, the film’s execution falters under the weight of its expansive cast and uneven narrative pacing, leaving some characters and plotlines out in the cold.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a fun, popcorn flick that’s bogged down by an overcrowded cast and underwhelming subplots. Despite its bold risks, the film’s pacing and an anticlimactic finale leave much to be desired. Though I’ll never get tired of the sound of the Ecto-1 and seeing the proton packs power on, I do feel this film was a step backwards for the franchise.

Rating 6/10