Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ Is a Loving Tribute to Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is an absolute must-see.
User Rating: 9

As someone who grew up with the Ghostbusters movies, action figures, and animated series, I can’t help but get a little bit gitty every time a new film is released. This franchise feels special because it is unlike anything else in the marketplace. The Ghostbusters films are this unique blend of comedy, horror, and drama that somehow manages to be family-friendly. The franchise and these characters have this timeless quality while also being a pop culture staple. I am thankful that the folks at Sony Pictures haven’t gone overboard with this franchise and turned it into something like Disney has done with Marvel and Star Wars. Fans like myself can still feel excitement when they walk into the theater to see a new Ghostbusters movie, such as what we have here with Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

After saving the world in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Gary (Paul Rudd) and the Spengler family relocate to New York City, working day and night to keep the city safe from ghosts. As the Spengers are busting ghosts, Dr. Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) is building a new ghost research lab, where Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) brings a recently discovered ancient artifact to be analyzed and tested. Through a series of unexpected events, the artifact is opened and unleashes an evil threat onto the city of New York. The Ghostbusters must reunite to save the world from a second ice age.

2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the original Ghostbusters, and I found Frozen Empire to be a loving tribute to the late great Ivan Reitman. While the film still incorporates elements of the two original films, the film’s storyline was heavily focused on the franchise’s future and building upon the family dynamic that was set up in Afterlife. While Ray Stantz is still an integral part of the plot, I found that the way he was written into the story was done so that he served a purpose. As Kenan and Reitman’s script explores the Spengler family dynamic, they also explain how Ray has been incorporated into this story and any upcoming sequels. Ray is not just there as fan service for the sake of fan service but as a character necessary to the plot.

The same can be said about Winston, who was hinted to be a big part of the franchise’s future in the post-credits scene of Afterlife. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) are not in the film as much this time, and their appearances feel more like cameos. That said, fans of the original Ghostbusters will continue feeling excited when the original cast is together on-screen. I know it’s nostalgia, but it is not beating you over the head like so many movies nowadays do.

SEE ALSO: ‘GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE’ REVIEW: NOSTALGIA DONE RIGHT

What makes Afterlife and Frozen Empire so great is that these two films appeal to fans of the original and audiences who have never seen a Ghostbusters film. Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan have found the perfect balance of combining old and new. All of the younger characters appeal to a new generation, while the original cast appeals to those like myself who grew up with these characters and appreciate how their legacy is woven into the franchise’s future. Ghostbusters is a rare franchise that somehow manages to get nostalgia right while still building upon a world where things feel fresh and new.

While I love almost everyone in this film, I do have to say that Mckenna Grace, as Phoebe Spengler, continues to be the MVP. She looks and fits the part perfectly while also bringing such authenticity to the role. This time, we see a new side to her character. One that is filled with loneliness as she is trying to find her place in the world. Her character is so interwoven into the story that, at times, I didn’t see certain things coming. The addition of Kumail Nanjiani as Nadeem Razmaadi also worked well. Nanjiani feels right at home and was a lot of fun to watch.

The appearance of the classic Ghostbusters ghosts like Slimer and the mini Stay Puft Marshmallow Men are always fun to see on-screen, but I loved the new ghost additions this time as well. They felt very different, unlike anything we’ve seen in the previous films. Along those same lines, I like how Reitman and Kenan have updated the technology for the modern generation. The fact that there is a ghost trap on a droid and proton packs have modern updates is such an innovative and inventive way to evolve this universe while still staying true to the spirit of the original. I also loved that there was a new lab facility. One where scientists studied ghosts to learn about their pasts and behaviors. This seems like a natural progression of building and shaping this universe for future generations.

Just like with Afterlife, Frozen Empire was one of my most anticipated films of the year, and it did not disappoint. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a joyous and inspired continuation of the Ghostbusters franchise. The cast additions and the inventive storytelling make Frozen Empire feel fresh and new. Fans of the original films and Afterlife are going to love this as it perfectly combines elements of nostalgia with a modern-day spin. This is a film that Ivan Reitman would be proud of. One that celebrates and continues to build upon the legacy he created. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is an absolute must-see.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire opens in theaters on March 22, 2024.

9
Amazing
Written by
Born in New Jersey, Scott Menzel has been watching film and television since he was three years old. Growing up, he watched as many movies as he could and was highly influenced by the films of Tim Burton, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. Scott has an Associate's Degree in Marketing, a Bachelor's in Mass Media, Communications, and a Master's in Electronic Media. He has been writing film reviews under the alias of MovieManMenzel since 2003 and started his writing career as a contributing critic at IMDB.com and Joblo.com. In 2009, Scott launched MovieManMenzel.com where he posted several of his film reviews but in 2011 decided to shut down the site when he launched We Live Film.com. In 2015, We Live Film became We Live Entertainment. The domain name change occurred after months of debate but was done so that he and his fellow staff members could write about anything and everything in the world of entertainment.

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