Friday, March 22, 2024


TRASH IN MY EYE No. 16 of 2024 (No. 1960) by Leroy Douresseaux

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)
Running time:  115 minutes (1 hour, 55 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for supernatural action/violence, language and suggestive references
DIRECTOR:  Gil Kenan
WRITERS:  Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman (based on the film, Ghost Busters, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and directed by Ivan Reitman)
PRODUCERS:  Jason Reitman, Jason Blumenfeld, and Ivan Reitman
EDITORS:  Nathan Orloff and Shane Reid
COMPOSER:  Dario Marianelli


Starring:  Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim, Celeste O'Connor, Ernie Hudson, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Emily Alyn Lind, James Acaster, Dan Ackroyd, Annie Potts, William Atherton, and Bill Murray

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a 2024 supernatural comedy, action and mystery film from director Gil Kenan.  It is the fifth entry in the Ghostbusters film franchise, and it is the third sequel to the original film, 1984's Ghost Busters (now known as “Ghostbusters”).  In Frozen Empire, the old and new Ghostbusters must take on an evil force unleashed from an ancient artifact.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire opens in New York City in 1904 where a group of fireman enters a hotel suite and finds an entire party frozen solid in the middle of an extremely hot summer.  In the present day, Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon) and her two children, son, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), and daughter, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), have moved from Summerville, Oklahoma to New York City, with Phoebe's former summer school teacher, Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), in tow.  The four live in the old Ghostbusters' NYC firehouse that had been maintained by original Ghostbuster, Dr. Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson).

Now, Phoebe, Trevor, Callie, and Gary are the active Ghostbusters, but a particular Ghostbusting case leads to significant damage in the city.  That brings them to the attention of the mayor and leads to Phoebe being forced out of the Ghostbusters because she is underage at 15-years-old.  But the world of the supernatural does not stop because of the human world's concerns.

Original Ghostbuster, Dr. Raymond “Ray” Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), has come into possession of a peculiar artifact, which he turns over to Winston Zeddemore's top-secret research lab.  Meanwhile, Phoebe, sidelined as a Ghostbuster, is trying to find her place in the world of the Ghostbusters.  Then, Garraka, an ancient god, is freed.  He wants to gather all the ghosts ever captured by the Ghostbusters and turn them into his personal army as he brings about a new ice age.  Despite her troubles, Phoebe will have to figure out how to stop the ancient evil that is Garraka before it's too late.

I was a huge fan of the original Ghostbusters films, Ghostbusters (1984) and its sequel, Ghostbusters II (1989).  I enjoyed Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021), and I thought that film's teen characters, siblings Phoebe and Trevor, and their friends, Podcast (Logan Kim) and Lucky Domingo (Celeste O'Connor), made a great foundation for the new Ghostbusters.

Thus, I was surprised to see Phoebe and Trevor playing Ghostbusters with the adults, their mother, Callie, and their quasi-stepfather, Gary.  Honestly, I find Carrie Coon's Callie and Paul Rudd's Gary to be extraneous here.  I have no interest in their characters beyond what they did in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.  In fact, this film has too many characters.  Bill Murray's Dr. Peter Venkman, Annie Potts' Janine Melnitz, and William Atherton's Mayor Walter Peck are also mostly irrelevant.  Pretty much everything these characters do could have been passed off to other characters or deleted because it wasn't important enough to clutter up the narrative.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire spends much of its first half meandering around assorted relationship dysfunction, including one involving a ghost.  Then, the film rushes to a forced satisfactory conclusion that wastes a truly scary monster in Garraka.  I am glad that Ernie Hudson's Winston Zeddemore has a substantial part in this film, especially because Hudson spent the first two films fighting off Columbia Pictures' executives and Ghostbusters cast mates who were determined to sideline his character.

As a franchise, Ghostbusters needs to move on from its past or just die.  The young characters:  Phoebe and Trevor Spengler, Podcast, and Lucky Domingo are the franchise's present and true future.  When this Ghostbusters film focuses on them, it feels alive and is fun.  When it doesn't, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is frozen and freezer-burned.

[This film has one mid-credits scene.]

5 out of 10
★★½ out of 4 stars

Friday, March 22, 2024

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