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On the Screen: The ghostbusters save the world (again) in a nostalgic re-run

DAVID ADAMS watches the next instalment in the resurrected film franchise…

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (AU – PG/UK – 12A/US – PG-13)

In a word: Nostalgic

The Ghostbusters, in their iconic vehicle, once more wreck destruction on New York City. 

Following on from the well received Ghostbusters: Afterlife (yes, we’re ignoring the disastrous 2016 remake), the rebooted franchise has headed back to where it all began.

After a flashback intro which sets the scene for which bad guy the ghostbusters will be facing, we once again encounter the Spengler family –  Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) as well as partner Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd). They now live in the deteriorating firehouse which the original ghostbusters called home and are doing what they can to keep the ghostbusters name (if not  a profitable business) alive.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is familiar ground – don’t expect any startling twists in plot or character. But that’s also a big part of its charm.”

Not only are they drawing the ire of the ghost-busting sceptic and now city mayor Walter Peck (William Atherton) for the damage they’re inflicting on the Big Apple, they’re also facing struggles as a family. Phoebe, in particular, deemed at 15-years-old as too young to take part in official ghost-busting business, feels something of an outcast and soon finds a new friend in ghost Melody (Emily Alyn Lind).

The old faces, in their various post-ghostbusting guises, soon make an appearance – Ray Stantz (Dan Akroyd), Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Winston Zeddemore (Eddie Hudson) – and the team are also joined the rascally newcomer Nadeem (Kumail Nanjiani) as once again the ghostbusters face an ancient enemy, this time the Tim Burtonesque-Garraka who is bent bringing about a second Ice Age and releasing all the ghosts that the busters have hitherto imprisoned.

There’s some jump-in-your seat moments, but not a heap, and the film is laced with moments of humour and nostalgia for those who were there when Ghostbusters first appeared in 1984. The storyline, which, like the first, delves deeply into the non-sensical, takes a while to get going given the sizeable cast that has to be introduced. In the end, it’s something of a relief when we finally reach the face-off between the ghostbusters and Garraka.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is familiar ground – don’t expect any startling twists in plot, character or tone. But that’s also a big part of its charm (although the constant references do crowd the film at times). Not a film to wow anyone, it’s comfort food for the screen.



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