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  • Jeff Beck

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire: The Gang is Back for a Disappointingly Rote Sequel (Blu-ray)

The Film:

Just three years ago, a second reboot of the "Ghostbusters" franchise was attempted after Paul Feig's 2016 film had failed to spark enough interest at the box office, on top of the film receiving a rather mixed reception. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" performed a little better at the box office thanks to a drastically reduced budget, turning a rather small profit in the process, but the reviews were even worse this time around. However, despite these hangups, the odd decision was made to press forward with a sequel anyway, which brings us to the latest entry, "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire." Could this finally be the one that gets the formerly-beloved series back on its feet?

Picking up three years after the events in the previous film, we now find Callie (Carrie Coon), her boyfriend Gary (Paul Rudd), and her kids Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) living in New York City as the new Ghostbusters. After another ghost-catching incident causes more damage, the mayor (William Atherton) once again threatens to shut them down, which results in Phoebe being removed from the team for being a minor. Meanwhile, Ray (Dan Aykroyd) is sold a mysterious orb at his shop that, as further research reveals, imprisons an ancient ghost god that wanted to conquer the world with an undead army. Naturally the ghost eventually finds a way to escape, and it's up to our heroes to once again save the day.

When it came to the first entry in this new series, it was clear that the filmmakers wanted to do a reboot that was a touching homage to the originals, but the result was a film that leaned too heavily into nostalgia and callbacks to the '80s classics, ultimately leaving us with a film that didn't really have an identity of its own. For "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire," the writers (Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman) seem to have taken that criticism to heart, becoming less concerned with references, and giving more attention to actually telling a story of their own.

That said, the narrative still has a number of problems that prevent it from being as effective as it could have been. For starters, it's a rather lazily-written storyline, involving a trapped ghost that you know has to get out at some point (or else there wouldn't be much of a movie to see), leading the film to go through the steps in a perfunctory manner until we come to the inevitable conclusion. There are times when it seems as though the writers want to delve further into the characters, such as Gary's efforts to become part of the family or Phoebe struggling to deal with being pushed aside, but for some strange reason, they were very hesitant to explore those areas, instead preferring to give more time to the rote storyline.

As you can imagine, the mechanical nature of the narrative doesn't do it any favors, not only giving us a film that we can easily predict every step of the way, but also one that fades from memory pretty quickly upon its conclusion. The cast was certainly up for another outing, but like so many movies with talented casts & bad scripts, they just don't have a lot to work with here. Is this the last we've seen of this crew? It seems very likely given its rather poor box office performance, but that doesn't mean that we've seen the last of the franchise altogether. Chances are, somewhere down the line, the studio will want to try to breathe life into it again. If that should happen, we can only hope that they'll take a little more time to give audiences something that's truly special in its own right.


"Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" comes to Blu-ray in a 2.39:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of excellent quality. The image is perfectly sharp throughout the film's two-house duration, highlighting the film's extensive special effects work. Likewise, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is remarkable, giving you all of the dialogue, sound effects, and music in outstanding quality. Overall, there are no complaints to be had in either department for the film's debut physical release.

Special Features:

Commentary with Director, Co-Writer Gil Kenan

Return to the Firehouse: Making Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (22 Minutes)

Busted: Capturing the Ghosts of Frozen Empire (11 Minutes)

Easter Eggs Unleashed (7 Minutes)

Manifesting Garraka (4 Minutes)

New York, New Gear (7 Minutes)

Welcome to the Paranormal Discovery Center (5 Minutes)

Knowing the Score (7 Minutes)

Deleted & Extended Scenes (9 Minutes)

The Blu-ray comes with an impressive number of extras, including a commentary with the director/co-writer, and a little over an hour of featurettes that explore several areas of the film's making, focusing on subjects like the firehouse, the various ghosts, and the equipment. Definitely plenty here for anyone looking to go behind the scenes of the film.


"Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" may cut down on the nostalgia overload that the previous entry suffered from, but it's still plagued with a lazily-written storyline that doesn't explore its characters nearly enough, while being far too predictable & quickly forgettable, resulting in yet another entry that fails to capture the magic of the original classics.

Score: 2.5/5

Available on Blu-ray starting tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.


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