Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire review by BRIAN VINER (2024)

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire


Verdict: Slightly lukewarm

Almost 40 years have passed since the originalGhostbustersarrived in the UK, which for those of us who vividly remember seeing it back in December 1984 is slightly disconcerting.

To make matters worse, I rewatched it recently and it might just have aged better than we have.

It was a highly influential film, too. It got Hollywood excited by the comedic potential of special effects, while society at large, albeit mainly in America, started appending the suffix 'busters' to everything.

'Price-busters' and 'budget-busters' became everyday expressions. And at the box office, of course, Ivan Reitman's movie went gangbusters.

Reitman died two years ago but had a producer credit on the 2021 revival, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was directed by his son Jason and was huge fun.

Mckenna Grace, Logan Kim, Dan Aykroyd and Patton Oswalt in a scene from Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Bill Murray returns to the franchise. Pictured he and Paul Rudd face off in a scene

Now Gil Kenan, who co-wrote Afterlife, takes the directorial reins on a sequel, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

It's less appealing than the 2021 film, with a meandering plot that doesn't really coalesce until the last half-hour. Like many of the best ghosts, it's somewhat shapeless.

READ MORE: Ghostbusters Frozen Empire star Mckenna Grace hits the red carpet in stunning black dress at the film's Paris premiere

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But the likeable principals are the same as last time, led by the splendid youngMckenna Grace, whose spirited character, 15-year-old Phoebe Spengler, looks and behaves as if advised to keep a female Harry Potter in mind.

Phoebe now lives in the Manhattan firehouse made famous by the original film, with her older brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), mother Callie (Carrie Coon) and her mum's partner, formerly her own science teacher, Mr Grooberson (Paul Rudd).

They spend their days patrolling the streets in a venerable Mercedes Sprinter, kitted out to help them zap the city's more dangerous spectres.

But of course they're not alone in this noble mission. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson reprise their characters from the 1984 film, while British stand-up comedian James Acaster joins the cast as a paranormal researcher.

He works out of a laboratory housed in an old aquarium, where technicians extract ghosts from everyday objects but don't entirely succeed in extracting much discernible acting talent from Acaster.

Celeste O'Connor, Kumail Nanjiani, Finn Wolfhard and James Acaster feature in a scene

Mckenna Grace walking down the stairs in her ghost-fighting gear

Celeste O'Connor, Finn Wolfhard, James Acaster, Logan Kim and Dan Aykroyd feature in a scene

The cast pose at the photocall on Thursday, March 21. (L-R)Ernie Hudson, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace and director Gil Kenan

He's what you might call engagingly wooden, although I expect that American audiences will be more than satisfied by his faint resemblance to the young Michael Caine.

Meanwhile, very randomly playing solo chess in Washington Square Park one night, Phoebe meets a ghost of about her age, Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), who died 'in a terrifying tenement fire'.

The pair bond with distinct hints, as in the last film, that Phoebe might be gay. We can doubtless expect an LGBTQ Ghostbusters next time out. But in the meantime, is Melody the supportive spirit she appears to be?

Let's say that she has conflicting motivations, which end up in what you might call a wraith to the line with the real villain of the piece, an evil 4,000-year-old warrior who wants, naturally, to destroy humanity.

This he aims to do with his all-too-literally chilling ability to freeze anything he touches.

And as all this silliness unfolds there are some enjoyable set-pieces and crackerjack one-liners, especially once Murray enters the fray, but at no point was I as enchanted as I was watching the last film, or indeed the first one.

The Persian Version


Verdict: Worth immersion

The Persian Version, too, is about conflict, but only within a family.

In Maryam Keshavarz's partly autobiographical film, Leila (Layla Mohammadi) is a bisexual screenwriter who was brought up in New Jersey after her parents and eight brothers left post-revolutionary Iran.

The Persian Version, too, is about conflict, but only within a family

In Maryam Keshavarz's partly autobiographical film, Leila (Layla Mohammadi) is a bisexual screenwriter who was brought up in New Jersey after her parents and eight brothers left post-revolutionary Iran

On the whole, The Persian Version is a comedy, and a notably lively one, full of self-aware quirks

Leila spent her schooldays feeling too Iranian to assimilate in America, and too American to fit in on visits back to Iran.

But as an adult her identity crisis is more to do with her sexuality, and the confrontations it ignites with her stern mother, Shireen (Niousha Noor).

If that makes it sound a bit too solemn and intense, let me reassure you.

On the whole, The Persian Version is a comedy, and a notably lively one, full of self-aware quirks in which Leila breaks the so-called 'fourth wall' and speaks direct to camera, or characters become immobile as the action develops around them.

Ambitiously, Keshavarz also attempts to tell Shireen's story, whisking us back to her traumatic life as a very young mother in the time of the Shah.

This requires a switch in tone that feels more like a lurch; the director doesn't quite carry it off. But throughout there is enough that is both funny and thought-provoking to make the film worth seeing.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire review by BRIAN VINER (2024)


What is the rating for Ghostbusters frozen empire? ›

But when the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second Ice Age. Rated PG-13 for supernatural action/violence, language and suggestive references.

Is the new Ghostbusters movie kid friendly? ›

We recommend parental guidance, particularly for sensitive children. Other than the scenes noted above, there's nothing of concern in Ghostbusters: Afterlife for children aged over 13 years.

Who were the 4 original Ghostbusters? ›

Peter Venkman, Dr. Ray Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore are four Ghostbusters who are part detectives and exterminators who chases ghosts who terrorize the city and the people of New York.

Did Bill Murray star in Ghostbusters? ›

Ghostbusters is a 1984 American supernatural comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. It stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler, three eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City.

Is Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire kid friendly? ›

'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' Is Rated PG-13—Is It OK for Younger Kids? The sequel of the reboot brings a fun mix of nostalgia and new ghosts, but may be too intense to bring my kindergartener. Bill Murray and Paul Rudd on the set of ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

Which Ghostbusters is kid friendly? ›

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire – In Theaters

In some ways, this reboot feels a bit more wholesome than the original. That might be because instead of being a story about four single guys, it's a tale about a family.

Why is Ghostbusters Rated PG-13? ›

Violence & Scariness. Creepy, scary monsters and ghosts, especially the central evil spirit/god, Garraka. Frequent peril and danger to main characters, including teens. Jump-scares.

How old do you have to be to watch the new Ghostbusters? ›

Although the saga has given us the odd sleepless night (we're still not over the original Library Ghost), these movies are about family entertainment. Hence, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire has a 12A age rating.

What does PG-13 mean? ›

Parental Strongly Cautioned: PG-13 - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may not be appropriate for pre-teenagers.

Did Harold Ramis pass away? ›

Harold Allen Ramis (/ˈreɪmɪs/; November 21, 1944 – February 24, 2014) was an American actor, comedian, and filmmaker.

Is Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire? ›

It Makes Sense That Rick Moranis' Louis Tully Wasn't In Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

Was John Belushi in Ghostbusters? ›

Original Ghostbusters Cast Included Eddie Murphy And John Belushi - IMDb. Relax, relax. This Ghostbusters article has nothing to do with the 2016 remake – you're in a safe space, or at least safe from any news regarding that blockbuster bellyflop.

Is Bill Murray a Democrat? ›

A teacher, farmer, journalist, and lawyer, Murray first entered Democratic Party politics with the movement for Oklahoma statehood.

How old was Dan Aykroyd in Ghostbusters? ›

Ghostbusters has been such a huge part of our popular-culture for the last 30 years that it's easy to overlook what it represented at the time. In June 1984, when the film opened in theaters, Bill Murray was only 33 years old. Dan Aykroyd was just 31 and director Ivan Reitman was 37.

Is Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Rated PG-13? ›

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire [2024] [PG-13] - 2.5. 4 | Parents' Guide & Review |

Is Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire suitable for 10 year olds? ›

And it's not long before Ghostbusters old and new have to team up to face a chilling new threat. Like the previous movie, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire has been officially rated as a 12A in the UK by the BBFC and the same 12A rating by the Irish Film Classification Office.

Is Ghostbusters 1 PG-13? ›

Examiners noted suggestive innuendo involving Ray and a ghost, as well as an Exorcist-type sequence when the film's female lead, Dana, levitates and speaks in a deep voice, her body having been inhabited by the demonic Zuul. Ghostbusters remained at PG on video when it was submitted again in 1985, 1993, 1995 and 2009.

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