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March 15, 2024 / Sony Pictures Canada

Starring: Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Celeste O'Connor, Logan Kim, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts

Directed By: Gil Kenan

Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon) and her children, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) family return, along with Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) to where it all started — the iconic New York City firehouse — to team up with the original Ghostbusters (Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts), who've developed a top-secret research lab to take busting ghosts to the next level.

But when the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, the Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second Ice Age.

Written By Darren Zakus

Rating 3.5 out of 5

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is an entertaining return of the iconic ghost hunting team thanks to the rush of nostalgia that guides the film, when combined with the returning cast members of the previous film in the series and the original cast, ensures that there is tons of fun to be had with the film’s comedic moments, perilous danger and the occasional jump scare.

Ever since the summer of 1984, there has only ever been one team you want to call when there’s something strange in your neighbourhood: the Ghostbusters. And forty years later, its legacy continues with the latest entry in the franchise: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. Continuing the iteration of the Ghostbusters we first met in 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is what would you get if you turned an episode of the animated series into a feature length movie that uses nostalgia and the Spengler family as its emotional core. While it is not without its shortcomings, it's hard not to have fun with the latest big screen outing of the Ghostbusters thanks to its terrific cast and the incredibly entertaining third act that puts truth in the lyrics “bustin’ makes me feel good.”

If Ghostbusters: Afterlife was a tribute to the late Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a tribute to the original film and its director Ivan Reitman. The action returns to New York as the Spengler family takes up residence in the iconic firehouse, ridding New York of one ghost at a time. But with the discovery of an ancient artifact that unleashes a deadly evil on the city, the Ghostbusters find themselves the only ones capable of saving the world from a second ice age. Whether it be the lines of dialogue of the various locations of the film such as the New York Public Library or the Ghostbusters’ Firehouse, the film is full of throwbacks to the original film, which comes as no surprise since it is co-written by Reitman’s son Jason Reitman. It plays on nostalgia throughout, and with the return of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts in larger roles than the previous entries, it's easy to crack a smile watching this film. Though, it is the bond of the Spengler family made up of Carrie Coon’s Callie, Mckenna Grace’s Phoebe, Finn Wolfhard’s Trevor and Paul Rudd’s Gary that is the beating heart of the film. While being the Ghostbusters team, the dynamics between them as the two teenagers are growing into adults captures a great coming of age tone to the film. The film’s first two acts are full of world and lore building and character development, and even though it probably overstays its welcome a little too long in these acts with not enough ghost bustin’ happening and too many plot threads that are come together too quickly, the film’s final act is worth the wait as it tries its best to recapture the lightning in the bottle that made the first film a runaway success. Even though Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire does not come close to meeting the standard set by Ghostbusters: Afterlife, it’s a fun addition to the series that has all the laughter, chills and excitement that fans want from a Ghostbusters film.

There is no question that with Rudd, Coon, Wolfhard and Grace as our main Ghostbusters that the franchise is in safe hands. The four of them dazzle on screen as a family unit and create the beating heart of the film. Rudd is funny as always, but finds some tender and moving moments as his character struggles to find the balance between being a friend and father figure to Callie’s children, while having wonderful chemistry with Coon. Wolfhard has some fun moments, especially with the iconic Slimer, while Grace continues to prove herself as one powerhouse actress in the role of Phoebe. As Phoebe, Grace captures the frustration of growing up as Phoebe wants to be treated like an adult, knowing that she is more than capable of holding her own despite the adult characters treating her as a child with a poignant strength, desperation and sense of defeat that the audience can easily relate to.

When it comes to Murray, Aykroyd, Hudson and Potts, there is no wrong that they can do in these iconic roles. While Murray and Potts have a smaller role, Aykroyd and Hudson are marvelous as they grapple with their character’s longing for their glory days as Ghostbusters while trying to figure out how best to help the next generation carry on their legacy. Newcomers to the franchise Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt fit right in with the comedic timing of Rudd, Aykroyd and Murray, never missing a beat and guaranteeing laughter while they are on screen, while Emily Alyn Lind is impressive along Grace as Melody.

Given that the film is full of ghosts, there are a lot of visual effects shots in the film, and it looks absolutely tremendous. No doubt utilizing ample amounts of CGI to bring the ghosts to life, there is also an emphasis on practical effects where possible to recapture the style and look of the original film, which makes the ghosts feel more real and the creepier moments of the film hit a little harder. It’s all beautifully captured on camera by cinematographer Eric Steelberg and underscored by a strong musical score from composer Dario Marianelli who pays tribute to Elmer Bernstein’s score of the original film with the most iconic musical motifs constantly re-appearing throughout the film. It truly is a cinematic experience that uses the big screen theatrical experience to its advantage, reminding viewers why we will always return to theatres for a Ghostbusters film.

With the legacy of Ghostbusters on full display throughout Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, it's a safe and entertaining continuation of one cinema’s most recognizable franchises that is sure to entertain audiences of all ages. Though the screenplay is lacking at times as it juggles too many divergent plot threads and a dragging pace in the film’s middle act, there is more than enough nostalgia and a third act that delivers everything you want from the film to ensure that fans are going to have lots of fun watching it. Visually stunning and full of great performances from a talented cast including Paul Rudd, Mckenna Grace and the original cast of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire finds the sweet spot between nostalgic tribute to the landmark original film and the dynamics of the new characters to create an often hilarious, at times thrilling, and all around bustin’ good time.

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