Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ more tepid than cool

Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Courtesy, Columbia Pictures)

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” is everything we love and hate about Hollywood all rolled into one piece of mediocre entertainment.

We love the familiar spectacle that Hollywood provides us in big, dumb, fun movies like the latest Ghostbusters sequel, but with all the talent deployed in front of and behind the camera, couldn’t or shouldn’t the movie be better than just “meh.”

The movie is the equivalent of a Twinkie or a hamburger from McDonald’s. At the moment, it tastes pretty good, it’s familiar, and not very messy.

However, five minutes after you’ve eaten it, you either have totally forgotten the experience, or your stomach is feeling all grody from too many processed carbs and all that fat.

On the whole, I mildly enjoyed watching “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” for nostalgia. I remember enjoying the original film as a teen, and evidently “bustin’ makes me feel good” as the old Ray Parker Jr. theme song goes.

What can I say, I like Twinkies and Big Macs even though I know they have very little nutritional value for the caloric cost.

The movie isn’t “Cinema,” by Martin Scorsese’s criteria, but there are enough laughs, adventure, and frights to take your mind off the more mundane matters of life for a while.

It’s not necessarily a family film. It could scare more sensitive little ones, but it’s probably safe enough for tweens if profanity doesn’t bother you much.

However if you opt to skip it altogether or wait until it streams on Paramount + or hits cable, you’re not missing much that you probably haven’t already seen.

The film is more like a conglomeration of skits and bits rather than an actual fulfilling story, but the cast featuring Paul Rudd as Gary, McKenna Grace as Phoebe, Carrie Coon as Callie, and Finn Wolfhard as Trevor, whom were introduced in the previous film “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” all have charisma and on-screen appeal.

Gary and the Spengler family (descendants of Dr. Egon Spengler played by the late Harold Ramis in the original movie) left Oklahoma and have reopened the Ghostbusters’ original digs in an abandoned New York City firehouse.

Original Ghostbusters Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts all appear. Aykroyd’s role is the best among them. Murray’s part is little more than a cameo.

There are familiar ghosts like Slimmer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow creatures as well as some new ones.

The plot revolves around an ancient spherical artifact that when opened unleashes an army of ghosts, whose leader has the power to create an Ice Age all of his own by spewing frost vomit from his mouth.

Stay frosty my friends.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” is a fairly benign, mildly scary movie for fans of the franchise, but the law of diminishing returns is absolutely in place with this film.

If you see it, you probably won’t hate it, but I doubt many will come away loving it, either. It’s a truly tepid piece of filmmaking by director Gil Kenan, who wrote the script with Jason Reitman.

(PG-13) 1 hr. 56 min.
Grade: C

New in Local Theaters – March 22, 2024

  • Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (PG-13) 1 hr. 56 min. (trailer)
    AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Towne, Skylight
  • Immaculate (R) 1 hr. 29 min. (trailer)
    AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle
  • Late Night with the Devil (R) 1 hr. 32 min. (trailer)
    AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle
  • One Life (PG) 1 hr. 49 min. (trailer)
    AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle, Sky
  • William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill (PG) 1 hr. 36 min. (trailer)
    Malco Razorback

Classic Corner – Rankin/Bass Easter Specials

The stop-motion and traditional animation company Rankin/Bass Productions is best known for its series of Christmas specials such as “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman,” which fans and children are treated to with multiple showings each Christmas season, but did you know, the company paid homage to the Easter Bunny, too?

Between telling their Christmas tales, Rankin/Bass squeezed in three Easter specials that gave three different origins of the Easter Bunny. All three are quite fun and colorful for young children who have never seen them and possibly for their parents or even grandparents who remember them fondly from their childhood.

If you are looking for a show to pass the time with this weekend prior to the holiday, you might get a kick out of these sugary concoctions. YouTube is your best bet to watch these and other Easter-themed specials for free.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Peter Cottontail (voiced by Casey Kasem) is the heir apparent to the mantle of the chief Easter Bunny, but when a night of partying causes him to oversleep, his succession is in question. The evil Irontail (voiced by Vincent Price) wants the mantle, too, so he can twist the holiday more to his morbid liking. Peter Cottontail must travel back in time in an attempt to give away all his eggs or the evil Irontail will ruin Easter for everyone. Danny Kaye narrates the delightful 1971 special as Seymour S. Sassafras.

The First Easter Rabbit

Loosely based on Margery Williams’ “The Velveteen Rabbit,” the special tells the story of how Stuffy, a stuffed toy rabbit, was saved from being burned because of possible scarlet fever infection by a fairy named Calliope. She then transforms him into the first Easter Rabbit. Burl Ives narrates the story just as he did the first Rankin/Bass production “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.” The 1976 special is traditionally animated rather than using stop-motion.

The Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town

“The Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town” not only introduces another origin for the Easter Bunny, but it also gives mythical origins for many of the secular trappings of the holiday, such as the bonnets, eggs, and jelly beans. This 1977 special will remind you of R/B’s earlier film “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” from 1970, which gave away all of Kris Kringle’s secrets. It’s even narrated by Fred Astaire again as holiday mailman Special Delivery Kluger.