‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’: There’s not much life left in the franchise

After a quick detour to Summerville, Oklahoma, the fifth film in the Ghostbusters Universe sees the Spengler family return to where the story began.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” now playing in theaters, grafts a burst of nostalgia onto a new supernatural story of the pint-sized Stay Puft Marshmallow Men, the Spenglers and an iconic New York City firehouse.

In 2021’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” OG (Original Ghostbuster) Egon Spengler’s daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two teenage children, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), move into the abandoned farmhouse. Egon in Oklahoma. When the apocalyptic entity Gozer the Gozerian enters the scene, the family, along with their mentor Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd) and some familiar faces: Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie) Hudson), they form a team. to keep the world safe.

‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’: There’s not much life left in the franchise

The new film shows Callie, the kids, and Grooberson, Callie’s now boyfriend, hunting ghosts in New York City. Using Egon’s tools, they cruise the streets in the classic Ectomobile and operate out of the fire station made famous in the first film. Zeddemore now owns the building, which has become dangerously overflowing with trapped ghosts.

On top of that, when fast-talking Nadeem (Kumail Nanjiani) sells Stantz an ancient orb, he releases Claw, an ice demon with the power to control an army of runaway ghosts and trigger a new Ice Age. “The chill of death,” Stantz says. “Your veins turn into rivers of ice. Your bones break. And the last thing you see is your own tear ducts freezing.”

To stop this “unimaginable evil,” the Ghostbusters, old and new, must unite once again.

Another side of the past also resurfaces. Forty years after his first career, former EPA inspector Walter Peck (William Atherton) is now mayor of New York and still holding a grudge. “Ghostbusters is finished,” he says.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” is packed, and not just with ghosts. A mix of old and new characters, mythology and fan service, it’s overstuffed and yet feels lacking.

Aside from Mckenna, Aykroyd, and Emily Alyn Lind as Melody, a lonely ghost who befriends Phoebe, none of the other characters make much of an impression, other than looking cool while posing with proton packs. It’s fun to see Hudson in an expanded role, but Murray doesn’t really appear. It’s more like he arrives, leaving a trail of Venkmanesque one-liners in his wake.

However, Rudd, Annie Potts, and most of the new proton pack launchers take a backseat to the busy story.

Fans will enjoy the return of Slimer, a haunted pizza is fun, and the new Ice Demon, for the brief time he occupies the screen, is a spooky and cool addition to the Ghostbusters’ menagerie of baddies. But the script, written by director Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman, doesn’t provide any laughs. There are funny moments, but the broadly comedic tone established by the classic “Ghostbusters” films has been replaced by a serious, nostalgic flavor.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” isn’t exactly a flop, but there isn’t as much life left in the franchise as die-hard fans would have hoped.

2 ½ out of 5 stars

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