Entertainment and Arts

Movie Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’

By: Russ Matthews

The litmus test for devoted Ghostbuster fans would have to be, knowing what to say after hearing the lyric, “If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call?”

The Ghostbusters have been part of the fabric of society for forty years, and this unlikely bunch continues to find new life for their franchise. Ghostbusters: Afterlife resurrected this series, and this latest chapter has the Spenglers return to New York to complete the circle of life with the threat of a ‘frozen empire’.

After leaving the haunted mansion of the family patriarch in the Ectomobile, this family of misfits attempts to take on the mantle left behind by the legendary paranormal exterminators. Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) attempts to fill his role as father to the Spengler teens while enjoying the new adventure of hunting ghosts around the Big Apple. As the spiritual activity seems to be heightened, the city’s leadership is determined to see this latest lot of ghostbusters to be exorcised from the streets of New York. Until an ancient artefact ends up in the hands of Dr. Raymond “Ray” Stanz (Dan Ackroyd), who has been relegated to running a shop for the paranormal. Yet, this unique orb holds the power of an evil force that has plans to unleash an army of spiritual beings that will bring on a new ice age. The Ghostbusters of old and new must band together to fight off these new enemies who threaten their family, business and the world.

Even if you ‘ain’t afraid of no ghosts,’ there will be a nostalgic grin that comes on for all of the fans of Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and the jumpsuit-wearing band of scientists turned ghost hunters. Nostalgia is the one thing this franchise has going for it, and this aspect should draw many fans out of the shadows and back into theatres. Still, how long will audiences return for more of the same paranormal antics sprinkled with supernatural humour? Ghostbusters: Afterlife provided a fresh new life to this familiar storyline, but this chapter feels like the faded ghost of the original film and offers little new to this beloved series. As each of the original cast members is added back into the narrative, things become muddled and overly complex. This comes through in the confusing relationship between Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace) and her friendly ghost, Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), which is critical for the storyline, but seems unnecessary.

Granted, this Ghostbusters chapter has some welcome inclusions, with Kumail Nanjiani as Nadeem Razmaad and Patton Oswalt as Dr. Hubert Wartzki. They add the generational comedic touch needed to balance out the dated stylings of the original cast. Yet, these characters need more time for development amongst the original cast members everyone has to get to know. This over saturation of characters is the aspect that gets in the way of introducing the villain, who comes along too late to make a difference to the story in the end. Where Afterlife was a welcomed restart to this franchise, Frozen Empire feels like more of the same old thing from the past. A film that will appeal to the fanbase, but do little to engage the next generation of potential Ghostbusters.

Reel Dialogue: Who you gonna call?

One thing about this film and its predecessors is that they force open the door to discussions of the spiritual realm, good and evil, and the afterlife. Acknowledging these metaphysical aspects should cause anyone leaving the cinema to ask questions about the existence of ghosts, spirits, and God. Now, Ghostbusters fails to provide satisfactory answers to these big questions. In contrast, the Bible provides the information people seek in this life.

When it comes to the dividing line between good and evil and the need for a saviour to defeat the evil of this world, the Bible shares the origins and solution. From the opening pages of Genesis and throughout the accounts of Jesus, enquirers can discover the needed explanations for these topics and why they need not fear ghosts, evil, and those who instigate wicked things in this realm.

Have you engaged with the Bible on these and other topics? Why not consider it today?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

If you would like to discuss the topics from Ghostbuster: Frozen Empire, reach out to us at Third Space. We would love to chat with you about this and more.


Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.

All images: Movie stills

About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.

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