One of the most memorable films of all time is the original 1984 movie, Ghostbusters. The mix of comedy and horror made by the world’s top comedians at that point was an impressive feat and captured the hearts of audiences around the world. It was so successful that it spawned a sequel, an animated series, comic books, a wonderful collective toy line, and tons of merchandise for years to come. Through a failed women-led reboot and back to basics three years ago with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, it seemed like the Ghostbusters franchise was breathing new life in a Spielbergian/J.J. Abrams kind of way. This new sequel titled Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire changes up its crew to release a bloated, unfunny, and all too serious installment that is virtually unrecognizable from its roots in comedy or fun.

Someone didn’t get the memo of how characters should interact in a Ghostbusters movie, and that person is filmmaker Gil Kenan who made the horrid Poltergeist remake. The old proverb is still true, especially in this case, “In Hollywood, you fail upwards”, considering Frozen Empire has a 9-figure budget behind it. A couple of years have passed since Afterlife where the Spengler family and Paul Rudd have taken up shelter in the Ghostbusters firehouse. They are a long way from the ghastly apparitions in Oklahoma but that doesn’t stop the phone from ringing to bust ghosts. An early sequence set 100 years prior sets the villain up as a demi-god who can instantly freeze anything and kill it for world domination. Back in the present day, one mishap with an ancient artifact along with some careless characters set this tundra upon the city in the middle of summer, but it takes the entire film to get there.

Instead of furthering these characters from the first film, Kenan was only interested in some half-baked plot for Phoebe Spengler (Mckenna Grace) who may want to experience death and the afterlife when she meets an older female ghost with an awkward romance bubbling up between a human and a ghost. Besides that obvious mistake in storytelling, Kenan simply wants to pay homage to his favorite elements from the original films in the most heavy-handed, nonsensical, and on-the-nose way possible. It’s aggravating, to say the least when something pops up from the 1984 film that serves no purpose in this film other than to elicit a small reaction no matter if it’s the library ghost from the opening scene in the original film or a large green blob spectral ghost that became the mascot for the franchise. None of it works and comes across as half-assed and lazy to the tenth degree.

Not only that, Kenan and co. have decided to add another round of characters that have no amount of real-time on-screen to shine. Even Kumail Nanjiani isn’t used well, although his character understands how much fun one could have in a Ghostbusters film. But the Spengler family, sans Phoebe don’t have hardly any screen time at all, but when the climax of the film comes into play, everyone is expected to care, which is just not the case since most of the film is winking at other moments from previous movies. And the screenplay is atrocious. The original films had this amazing pact with comedy where these actors mixed the absurd with their unique brand of humor that transferred over. In Frozen Empire, there is barely any comedy except for a couple of lines from Bill Murray in his iconic character and Nanjiani’s carefree attitude. Patton Oswalt enters the chat as himself who is just excited to be a part of the story, but it’s nothing more than that.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is a terrible film through and through. If the goal was to just lazily showcase winks and nods to the original films, then it succeeded, but barely. But this unfunny and awkward romance of a plot just misses the mark of what makes Ghostbuster so memorable and amazing. There is talk of a big load of new films coming, but unless the studio hires talented people behind the project, this franchise should stay dormant for the foreseeable future. SKIP IT.

Written by: Bryan Kluger

By Bryan Kluger

Former husky model, real-life Comic Book Guy, genre-bending screenwriter, nude filmmaker, hairy podcaster, pro-wrestling idiot-savant, who has a penchant for solving Rubik's Cubes and rolling candy cigarettes on unreleased bootlegs of Frank Zappa records.

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