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iReview | GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE Available on 4K Ultra HD

A Home Movie Release

The temperature is all over the place in the latest installment of the paranormal adventure comedy GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, which reunites the original cast with their next-generation counterparts returning to the city that started it all.


Hollywood’s dependency on maintaining a franchise comes with its pros and cons. The studio’s desire to milk an IP that has proved successful and whether to reboot, reimagine, or re-tinker doesn’t always have the desired effect. The latest fad is to expand on the narrative mythologies inside of those winning intellectual properties. That process has its share of challenges, as most certainly experienced with Disney’s fleecing of the Marvel and Star Wars brands, forcing the studio to pursue “quality over quantity.” A good idea indeed!

Recognizing an audience is the most crucial component of the perpetuation of a hit. The fanbase doesn’t appreciate being pandered to, and they are most likely to be very clear in their disdain. There was much excitement surrounding the reimagining of Ghostbusters starring Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig. The 2016 remake was directed by Paul Feig, and was centered around the comic genius of its leading ladies. Aside from cameos from the OG GBs and the repurposing of the native technology and narrative premise, the movie was a stand-alone that stood alone at the box office.

Unfortunately, this remake/reboot was not well received by fans, and the audience needed to be kind.

Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original vision was a masterpiece, and Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote its story. It was unique because it spoke to the strengths of its most talented cast of comedians. It also benefitted greatly from Reitman’s appreciation of the fanciful genre in which it existed. The original Ghostbusters yielded a sequel in 1989. After Reitman’s passing, it would feel that the franchise had been resigned to the ages, but if the 2016 version had any impact on the culture, it was a deep desire to reset and revisit. Proper!

It would take a generation (and then some) to return to the franchise, and in 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the filmmakers brought the family back together. As a child, Jason Reitman was often on the set with his father, and in 1984, he proved he was not afraid of ghosts. Inspired by his father’s love of filmmaking and especially his affection for Ghostbusters, Jason was determined to pay homage to his father’s work. He teamed up with Gil Kenan to resurrect it and revisit the mythology, building it out from the ground up.

The "Afterlife" cast relocates to the original stomping grounds.

In the Afterlife.

Two decades later, Jason Reitman set out to reaffirm his father’s legacy with Ghostbusters: Afterlife. At the center of the story is a connection to the origins of the group of paranormal investigators and, most significantly, their very first case. Harold Ramis, the actor and writer who played the most enigmatic member of the team, Egon Spengler, had passed away, and so had Ivan Reitman. The younger Reitman was determined to make this film a valentine not only for the fans of the original but also to the testament of his father and Ramis.

Afterlife also introduced the “next generation” with Spengler’s daughter and grandchildren moving west and inheriting Egon’s old farm. Out in the middle of nowhere and allied with new friends, they stumble upon a supernatural epicenter of bad juju, which is why Egon left his entire life behind. By the end of the story, the kids have stepped into their new roles as the new Ghostbusters, save the day, and inspire the original team to take up their proton packs one more time. In the film’s epilogue, Ernie Hudson’s Winton Zeddmore steps into a familiar-looking firehouse and reinstates the family business.

The ‘Empire’ Strikes Out?

2024 is rapidly becoming the hottest summer season on record, with temperatures hitting dangerously high levels and the population's comfort level being weighed heavy. With the heat index hitting sweltering hit, multiplexes across the country must be thrillingly opening their doors as throngs of moviegoers return to theaters. You’d think that would be the case, but audiences are slowly re-acclimating to this social experience after months of avoiding venues due to the pandemic. The newest Ghostbusters movie should have inspired them to take the plunge.

The cast reunites in The Big Apple!
The cast reunites in The Big Apple!

The latest film in the franchise, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, is available now on 4K Ultra HD and Digital Download (no multiplex needed) and reunites the OG cast with the aforementioned inheritors of the mantle. Paul Rudd and Carrie Coons are back in the city that started it all, New York City, and have brought the kids (who are the real stars of the film) Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace, who portray the grandchildren of Egon Spengler, and their friends Logan Kim and Celeste O’Connor, who have also transplanted to The Big Apple, and continue their association as the “new” Ghostbusters.

Much like the Afterlife, its premise is snagged from the legacy cannon, with wealthy philanthropist Winton Zeeddmore (Ernie Hudson) funding their operation. Callie and Gary (Coons and Rudd) have moved into the infamous firehouse headquarters of the Ghostbusters, with Trevor and Phoebe (Wolfhard and Grace) proton packing and busting any supernatural threats that run rampant through the great metropolis. Not everyone is thrilled to have the Ghostbusters running loose, especially the city’s mayor, Walter Peck, played by William Atherton, also of the original film.

Empire's frozen villain!
Empire's frozen villain!

Secretly, Winston has been mobilizing to up the technology that made the team famous and study the supernatural interlopers that cause mayhem, but inevitably, an ancient evil that calls itself Garraka uses the ghost energy gathered by the group and prepares to send the city into a second ice age! Phoebe and Podcast (Kim) are the most enthusiastically at work to stop Garraka from taking over, and essentially, it’s going to take all the Ghostbusters and some new allies, Patton Oswalt, James Acaster, and Kumail Ali Nanjiani, to save the day.

The chemistry among the cast of heroes is very much alive and at the heart of the film. From a story developed by Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan, and Kenan at the helm directing this feature, it all reads authentically and within the world, as established by the previous core features. However, a couple of bumps in the road still keep this from flowing easily. Namely, the film’s “stars”. Grace and Kim are the centrifugal Ghostbusters that keep the momentum moving, but Wolfhard would be lost to the background if not for Celeste O’Connor’s very scrappy Lucky.

Rudd and Coon provide the “adult” supervision but never arrive at the likability of the rest of the cast, including the OG members, who are expertly placed with precision throughout the plot. It’s their presence that encourages the audience to stay in the fight. Kenan, no doubt in a gesture to echo Ivan Reitman’s original, chooses to populate the film with practical efforts, making old favorites like the firehouse mascot, Slimer look like brand-new and giving the New York City Public Library’s ghost a wonderful reason to make a cameo. These moments land very well.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire may depend on the enduring love of the franchise, although this (technically) second act feels a little cold. The cast gels very well, and perhaps when asked to inhabit the spotlight, the true test of mettle will be on display, but here, the Empire is skating on thin ice, and if Reitman and Kenan get one chance to deliver a trilogy, the next Ghostbusters has got a lot of cleaning up to do. I don’t mean the charmingly mischievous Stay Puft minis that gum up the works either otherwise we don’t know who we’re gonna call!

Get your #FanzEyeView of Ghostbuster: Frozen Empire here:

GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE | starring Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Celeste O’Connor, and Logan Kim, with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts | is available now on 4k Ultra HD and Blu-ray and features over an hour of extras detailing the making of this latest installment in the beloved franchise. Purchase at Amazon here for $29.99.


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