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Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire movie review (2024)

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” gets bogged down in the mythology of an ancient, evil monster, who’s accidentally freed from the metal orb in which it had been imprisoned. (The visual effects in depicting him are substantial, making him a legitimately fearsome figure.) The threat of a permanent ice age in which decades of captured ghosts would burst free and wreak havoc upon Manhattan (and parts of Queens) looms large. But the logic of how all this destruction might occur, and what Kumail Nanjiani’s character could possibly do to stop it, remains needlessly complicated. It’s also the least compelling element of “Frozen Empire,” but it does provide the opportunity for a welcome cameo from Oswalt as an ancient language expert at the New York Public Library. He’s a breath of fresh air in this often-self-serious setting, so much so that you’ll wish they’d build a whole “Ghostbusters” movie around him. Meanwhile, Coon—one of the most deeply talented and versatile actresses working today—is woefully underused once again as the no-nonsense mom trying to hold it all together. 

Instead, much of the movie follows a heavier route with Phoebe, who’s prohibited from busting ghosts because she’s only 15, despite being the most brilliant and resourceful of them all. Lonely and bored, she wanders into Washington Square Park to play chess by herself one night; there, she strikes up an unexpected friendship with a teenage ghost named Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), who died in a fire but is stuck in a purgatory that prevents her from joining the rest of her family. The two share a crackling chemistry, if you’ll pardon the pun, and possibly more. There’s an obvious flirtation between these characters, but the film doesn’t have the courage of its convictions to allow an actual romance to blossom between them. 

“Frozen Empire” seems more interested in the wacky antics of the miniature Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men, who are even more Minion-like than ever this time, and in celebrating the cultural phenomenon of the “Ghostbusters” franchise as a whole. Once again, this is a movie that repeatedly acknowledges that the Ray Parker Jr. theme song was a massive radio and MTV hit 40 years ago, even going so far as to include a bit of the original music video. But we’d all be better off singing a different tune at this point. 

 

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