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GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE review – Better Than Afterlife

Director: Gil Kenan
Starring: Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Celeste O’Connor, Logan Kim, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts
Movie Length: 1 hours 55 minutes

Dan’s thoughts: The movie starts soon after Ghostbusters: Afterlife ended with the Spengler clan along with Gary Grooberson having taken over the NYC firehouse which served as the HQ for the original Ghostbusters.

Whereas Ghostbusters: Afterlife felt like a nostalgic movie for fans of the original Ghostbusters movie, this one felt less like a nostalgia piece (although it did have some memorable callbacks to the 1984 classic) and more like an original story to give the cast their own time to shine.

And shine they did with the main cast of Afterlife getting their own stories along with newcomers to the franchise Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt excelling in their roles. While the movie itself felt rushed at times with the ending having been hinted at early on, it still was a great movie that fans of the original Ghostbusters should enjoy.

The score from multiple award winning composer (and newcomer to the franchise) Dario Marianelli was excellent and felt like it belonged aside the scores from the other movies. The special effects were great including seeing the return of some of the ghosts/spirits from the original movie including Slimer and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men, as well as another throwback to the 1984 movie that started the franchise. It was also great to see the original Ghostbusters back and this movie gave them quite a bit to do which was fun to see.

Keep an eye out for many easter eggs throughout the movie that callback to the 1984 movie that started the franchise, including one that you will need to listen carefully for.

Dan’s rating: A. All in all it was an enjoyable movie to kick off the second quarter of 2024 and one which fans of the original movie should like.

Darren’s thoughts: Ghostbusters: Afterlife worked primarily as a nostalgia piece.  It felt like a love letter to fans of the original and managed to avoid feeling like a cash grab.  Freed from the always difficult task of integrating new characters while paying homage to the first movie, Frozen Empire gets to focus on busting ghosts. 

Frozen Empire juggles a lot of characters and manages to give them all their ‘moment.’ The new cast lacks the brilliance of the original squad, but they put in solid performances.  Paul Rudd in particular stands out by doing his Paul Rudd thing. Kumail Nanjiani puts in an enjoyably goofy performance that seems to fill the role of Rick Moranis in the original. Speaking of the original cast, it’s great to see them show up in roles that give them something to do.

For a movie about hunting ghosts, the plot largely hangs together. There is one decision that caused me to scream internally because it was so mind bogglingly stupid yet obviously necessary to get the plot where it needed to go. You also have to suspend some disbelief to get past the fact that all the characters from Afterlife somehow ended up in New York independently. 

Fans of the original Ghostbusters will likely enjoy Frozen Empire, and it has better pacing than Afterlife. The decision to shift the setting to New York provides a great opportunity to organically revisit scenes and settings from the original. The result is a movie that feels like a Ghostbusters movie. Most importantly, it’s fun. Worst case, go see this movie to see Slimer and the cute mini Stay Puft marshmallow guys (they are so obviously put in there to be cute that you want to hate them but they are so cute that you end up loving them). If this movie had been the original sequel to Ghostbusters, I feel like we would have gotten a steady stream of Ghostbusters movies throughout the 90s.  While I think fans of the original will enjoy the references to the first movie, I think this movie can be enjoyed without having seen any of the prior films.

Here is the podcast version of Darren’s (along with his co-host Tracy) review:

Darren’s rating: A

Ghostbuster: Frozen Empire is now in theaters.


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Dan Berry
Dan Berry
Dan Berry is a man of mystery, an enigma that flits from convention to convention like a spectre, like a spirit. His interests range far and wide: he cannot be determined, he cannot be defined, he cannot be contained. He's like the wind. He also is a Sagittarius and enjoys a nice Italian.

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