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The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Ghostbusters pick up the call with wacky fun

Released on March 22, 2024, “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” sees characters new and old unite to fight the villain Garraka.

Spirits have once again risen to wreak havoc upon New York City. But have no fear! You know who to call.

The latest adventure in the iconic “Ghostbusters” franchise, “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” was released on March 22, 2024. The film serves as a sequel to 2021’s terrific “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and features returning characters from that film, the original “Ghostbusters” movies as well as some new faces. Despite not living up to its full potential, “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” is a fun and welcome return into the world of this beloved series.

Picking up where “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” left off, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), the rest of the Spengler family and a few of their friends now find themselves in New York City. The ghost bustin’ business is back in full swing, but when original Ghostbuster Dr. Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) comes into possession of an artifact containing the evil god Garraka, things take a turn for the worst. As Phoebe develops a connection with a ghost named Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), the team must work together to battle the foe before he ravages the world.

The cast’s performances are strong all around, with Kumail Nanjiani’s Nadeem Razmaadi being unquestionably one of the film’s highlights. Despite being a side character, Razmaadi kept me laughing constantly as he took on his destiny to become the “fire master,” his hilarious journey being fulfilling as he evolves into a true hero by confronting the villain. Paul Rudd is also joyfully funny and touching as Gary Grooberson, switching between comedic and moving moments as he slowly transitions into the unofficial role of Phoebe’s new dad. Not to mention that his quoting Ray Parker Jr.’s iconic “Ghosbusters” song to convince Callie (Carrie Coon) to stand up for the firehouse is simply hysterical.

I myself am an avid fan of the franchise, and “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” fortunately has plenty of tie-ins to the previous movies that both dedicated and casual fans will enjoy. The “Ghostbusters” firehouse makes a thrilling return as the homebase for the Ghostbusters, having been beautifully recreated to look exactly as it used to. Seeing the Ecto-1 once again skidding through the streets of New York City is also an absolute delight.

A number of familiar ghosts and locations also make returns, from the lovable ectoplasm ball, Slimer, to the mischievous mini-pufts and the New York Public Library. However, my personal favorite was a marvelous callback to Rick Moranis’ unfortunately absent Louis Tully, with Razmaadi getting attached to the same machine Tully was in the original film. Ultimately, all of this strongly connected the film back to the rest of the franchise, reminding you of your favorite scenes and why the “Ghostbusters” world is so enchanting.

To put it simply, the returning actors from the original film are spectacular. William Atherton easily slips back into his role as Walter Peck, perfectly bringing the attitude of the snarky Ghostbuster-hater back to life. Similarly, the chemistry between the original Ghostbusters crew is as strong as ever and each character is fantastic in the few moments they have. Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) randomly putting on sunglasses right before they fight Garraka is effortlessly hilarious and true to his character.

Nevertheless, in an incredibly disappointing move, the movie offers extremely limited screen time to most of them. The icons Venkman, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) and Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) are almost entirely relegated to the background of the film. Thankfully, at least Stantz is given ample time to shine. Why bother bringing these actors back if their characters are barely going to be shown? Given how wonderfully they returned to their roles, this decision is entirely baffling and left me thinking the movie could have done more.

This feeling extends to other parts of the film. At times, it just doesn’t feel like a “Ghostbusters” movie, being too serious and leaving behind the paranormal-fun that makes these movies so wonderful. There are certainly scenes where this isn’t the case, such as when the characters chased after a ghost-possessed garbage bag at the New York Public Library. Even in the heavier moments of the original film, there were almost always jokes present. But here, scenes like Zeddemore essentially telling Stantz “it’s time to retire” lack that, and you are left feeling that the movie could have been better if it had a more lighthearted mood.

When the Ecto-1 takes to the roads and the film comes to an end, “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” despite its shortcomings, turns out to be a delightful return into the world of capturing ghosts and battling against the supernatural. I only hope that we get to ask “who you gonna call?” once again in a sequel.

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