Figure 1 – Ghostbusters Frozen Empire poster

I’ve said before that I won’t give a book a bad review; why dampen some writer’s day with my sour grapes? Sadly for the movie people, that doesn’t hold for movies. If a movie’s bad (or even just mediocre) I think it’s my duty to let you know about it.

I’ve lost count, but I think this is the fourth Ghostbusters with (some of) the original cast. I noticed that this begins—even before the title—with a notation that this is from the “Ghostbusters Corps.” Srsly? (I’ve never watched the TV series, btw, but I did play the Commodore 64 video game). So they (the movie moguls) are bent on making this a looong franchise? Sounds like it.

Well, I’d like to suggest that maybe Frozen Empire is a “bridge too far.” Look, it’s perfectly fair to make a sequel because the original movie was brilliant or well-loved; occasionally, the sequel outshines the original movie. Here I’ll cite Aliens as an example—there are several, not many, others. It’s either as good as or possibly better than Alien; opinions vary. And sometimes the original idea is so good that they can’t resist making sequel after sequel (Alien vs. Predator; Prometheus, etc.) that, while clearing up a few points that weren’t clear in the original, may or may not require a whole sequel—though again, opinions vary. And sometimes sequels are made just because the moguls said “Hey, that movie made a bucket—let’s do a [or two or three or five] sequel!” And I’m afraid that the Ghostbusters movies have reached that point.

Personally, I loved the 2016 “reboot” of Ghostbusters with a mostly female cast. I felt those women (and Chris Hemsworth as their “receptionist”)— Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones—and the supporting cast (including original Ghostbusters cast members Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, etc.) were brilliant; in fact, I’ve watched it several times since it came out. But it was a box-office bomb, so the moguls and moneymen (no gender intended there) said “Let’s get back to what originally made us buckets of money,” and funded the third “original cast” GB, Ghostbusters—Afterlife. (Rick Moranis, so far, has declined to appear in any further sequels.) It appears that the movie has underperformed at the box office and in home release, so the sequel that was announced will probably not take place. But if you, the viewer can watch it without thinking of the original movie, you’ll see some terrific comedy acting and writing. Incidentally, in 2014, original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis died, making a full reunion highly unlikely.

Anyway, back to GB—Afterlife, even after adding Paul Rudd and a couple of young actors (notably Stranger ThingsFinn Wolfhard), and even resurrecting Harold Ramis via CGI, the movie was weak. There was nothing really new in it, and none of the actors were strong enough to carry the film.

But it must have made money, as the moneymen (again, no gender implied) were figuratively rubbing their grimy green fingers together and a sequel to Afterlife was made.

This movie, Frozen Empire, is still in theatres somewhere, so I’ll refrain from too many spoilish comments; I’ll just say that the two main young actors, Finn Wolfhard as Trevor Spengler and McKenna Grace as Phoebe Spengler, weren’t cute or even particularly likable in this film; plus two youths from Afterlife were brought into the film for no particular reason that I could see (Celeste O’Connor as Lucky and Logan Kim as Podcast). Reprising their roles, again, were Aykroyd, Murray, Potts and Hudson, with newcomer Patton Oswalt as kind of a shorter Ray Stanz for no particular reason that I could see.

This time, the big baddie was a demon, Garraka, who was all about freezing stuff and letting out all the ghosts that had been imprisoned in the firehouse in the first couple of movies. And they added a new good guy, Kumail Nanjiani, as Nadeem the Firemaster. Really? After the Keymaster and all that, they have yet another master? This time on the side of the angels.

Frankly, I found this movie a boring slog, and was sorely disappointed. I couldn’t really like any main character, actually. I could go on and on—still without major spoilers—telling you all its flaws, but why waste pixels? Wait till it’s streaming (on the free services; no need to pay for this one) and judge for yourself. (But as always, YMMV.)

Nobody’s been commenting that I’ve seen lately. Come on, folks—you can comment here or on Facebook, or even by email (stevefah at hotmail dot com). All comments are welcome if they’re polite.) My opinion is, as always, my own, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Amazing Stories or its owner, editor, publisher or other columnists. See you next time!

Please take a moment to support Amazing Stories with a one-time or recurring donation via Patreon. We rely on donations to keep the site going, and we need your financial support to continue quality coverage of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres as well as supply free stories weekly for your reading pleasure.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

Matt’s Reviews: Anti-intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter

Next Article

The Big Idea: Samantha Mills

You might be interested in …