Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Clichés withstanding, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire keeps the franchise alive

Director Gil Kenan and co-writer Jason Reitman continue to keep a beloved franchise alive in Columbia Pictures “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.” In the previous film, Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), the grandchildren of the late Ghostbuster Egon Spengler, defeated Gozer. As a result, they have relocated from Summerville, Oklahoma, to the New York City firehouse. Under the guidance of their mother, Callie (Carrie Coon), and Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd), who are now dating, they continue to bust ghosts.

Meanwhile, the kids’ friends  Podcast (Logan Kim) and Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor) are enjoying internships in the Big Apple under the tutelage of Ray Stantz ( Dan Aykroyd ) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson). Ray runs a paranormal shop, while Winston has developed a top-secret research lab to take busting ghosts to the next level. After encountering difficulties with Walter Peck (William Atherton), known for his history of impeding the Ghostbusters’ operation, Phoebe must relinquish her position due to her young age. One day, Ray crosses paths with Nadeem (Kumail Nanjiani), who seeks to offload his late grandmother’s possessions. Unbeknownst to Ray, however, one of these artifacts serves as home to Garraka—a formidable demon poised to marshal an army of spirits with intentions set sturdily on creating a lethal death-cold cataclysm, forcing Ghostbusters young and old to team up.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” successfully carries forward the legacy of Ivan Reitman, yet it has some areas of weakness. Although it is an enjoyable film with clever nods to the 1984 movie and the franchise, the script by Kenan and Reitman often fails to find its footing. The original adult cast members and the new additions, Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon, give impressive performances. Seeing Kumail Nanjiani on screen is always fun, and William Atherton still makes a detestable know it all.

Nevertheless, as “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” aimed to do, the franchise should continue with the Spangler teens. While McKenna Grace performs her part to the best of her abilities, the other young actors have limited roles and appear as mere props in the film. You could cut their characters from the movie and still have the same final product. I appreciated Winston having his facility, and I would have liked to witness a new generation of children capturing ghosts. This is not to say that I did not enjoy watching the movie; however, I would have preferred if the creators had taken more risks instead of playing it safe.

Despite my gripes, though, I recommend the film for nostalgia’s sake, and I’m ready for another adventure with the Spangler family and their ghostbusting buddies.

Final Grade: B-

“GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE” is in theaters today

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