KSL Movie Show review: ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ didn’t quite come together

Mar 21, 2024, 5:00 PM

ghostbusters: frozen empire movie poster next to ksl movie show host steve salles...

'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' tried to recapture the magic of the original 1984 film.

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — Having been a big fan of this franchise, I have eagerly awaited something to approximate the magic of that first 1984 film.

The closest the filmmakers came was the 2021 effort, ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife,’ which brought in an all-new cast with proper homage to the OG players. It was fun, imaginative and infused a fresh look into the Ghostbusters pantheon.

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So it seemed like a logical step to bring old and young together again, leave Oklahoma behind and return to the Big Apple, specifically to the original firehouse and surroundings, where it all began.

That should have worked and it does somewhat.

Here’s why I think “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” doesn’t quite come together.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” has too much going on

The first thing that struck me was it had too many cast members, old, new and new new, for any one person to be able to lead the pack. Many of them had their issues.

Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace) was sidelined for being too young, but she is clearly the most proficient of the whole bunch.

Gary (Paul Rudd) refers to himself as Phoebe’s “step teacher,” (whatever the heck that is). He desperately wants to be part of the Spengler clan but is kept at a distance.

Phoebe’s older brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) is relegated to be the “fix it” guy and Slimer chaser. Phoebe’s mom Callie (Carrie Coon) spends most of her time in the background, worrying about everyone getting along.

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Of the “classic” crew, Ray (Dan Aykroyd) is the most invested as he owns a supernatural boutique that caters to the abnormal.

Winston (Ernie Hudson) is the corporate money man who pays for everything, including a new research center studying paranormal activity.

Janine (Annie Potts) is mostly background filler (sadly).

And Venkman (Bill Murray) wanders around trying to put a new spin on old jokes, like that crazy uncle who shows up every Thanksgiving assigned to bring napkins. He was the heart and soul of those early movies, but that spark is woefully missing.

For fan service, Walter Peck (William Atherton) returns not as the annoying city inspector, but as the actual NYC mayor. How that putz got that job is beyond me.

The nervous library administrator is back. The tiny Stay-Puft marshmallow dudes steal their scenes (including the one in the closing credits).

And we haven’t even mentioned the new peeps.

Nadeem (Kumail Nanjiani) is a conman trying to sell his grandmother’s ancient relics, housing the next big nasty specter. Patton Oswalt is around to help explain the science behind it all, plus a couple of assistants at the new lab.

It’s all too many cooks trying to stir a convoluted and serious plot (needed more funny).

The bottom line is – I’m glad I saw it (doesn’t sound like it). I appreciated the effort (did I really?). But I was hoping for better (the most honest thing I can say about it). Sigh.

GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE (B-) Rated PG-13 for supernatural action/violence, language and suggestive references. Starring McKenna Grace, Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Dan Aykroyd, Kumail Nanjiani and Bill Murray. Co-written and directed by Gil Kenan (“A Boy Called Christmas” “Monster House”) – filmed in London and New York City. Running time: 115 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ didn’t quite come together