Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Blu-ray)

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.

June 28, 2024 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Movies are more than entertainment. They’re a timestamp in our lives. I can remember where I was when I saw Jaws for the first time, or Back to the Future. I think two examples will suffice. The point being that no matter how good (or bad) or memorable a film is, likely it’ll register with the individual as to when and where they saw it. The year was 1984 and we’d just moved from Little Rock, Arkansas to Scarsdale, New York. Can you say “fish out of water?” For some odd reason my mother had decided to take my brother and I to get a tetanus shot. We then tried to play tennis. That didn’t work out so well. Feeling bad, she decided to take us to a movie and, you guessed it, Ghostbusters is what we saw. I’m willing to bet that any list of iconic films from the 80’s will likely have that title in there. And, here we are, four decades later and a few familiar faces are back doing what they do best. – busting ghosts.

If you’re a fan of the first, then you’ll no doubt recognize the famed firehouse. Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) reprises his role and his old nemesis, Walter Peck (William Atherton) is now New York’s mayor. Even decades later, he still holds a grudge towards the gang for the marshmallow thing. His 15 year-old niece, Phoebe (McKenna Grace) is out while Gary (Paul Rudd) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) are continuing to bust some ghosts. There’s a new threat in the name of Nadeem Razmaadi (Kumail Najjiani) when he brings a cursed artifact into the store run by Ray (Dan Akyroyd). The entity that resides within the artifact has its sights set on making the Big Apple the frozen apple (hence the title). And to round out the cast we find Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Janie (Annie Potts) who are along for the ride.

There’s a lot of sentiment here. And it’s not by coincidence. To be honest, I was surprised that William Atherton is still alive. But, here he is, four decades after the original. Couple that with Akyroyd, Hudson and Annie Potts and the gang is nearly all back together. And let us take a moment to remember the director of my favorite movie, Caddyshack, Mr. Harold Ramis. If it’s an updated walk down memory lane you’re after (I’ve never typed that sentence in my entire life) then this one has it in spades. The New York Public Library? Yep. Slimer? Oh yeah. A few “wavy lines?” Check. It’s nice to see the tip of the cap to the original, but I just felt like this one was trying a little too hard. It’s not bad by any means, just…a bit uninspired.

Video: How’s it look?

When you’ve got a major studio in Sony with a high budget film franchise, as we do here, it all sets the stage for what we know – the picture will (or should) look stunning. And, of course, it does. Sony’s 2.39:1 AVC HD image is nearly flawless. There aren’t enough words in my vocabulary to explain all the little nuances, colors and all the things in between to showcase the picture. Contrast is spot on, detail is off the charts – if Paul Rudd ever decides to age, I’m sure a transfer like this would actually show a wrinkle or a grey hair (not so far, though). Let’s face it, Sony’s 4K offerings are among the best out there, if not the best. And this one is no exception.

Audio: How’s it sound?

I have to assume that anyone who would buy this set would might be a bit miffed at the loss of the Dolby Atmos soundtrack. You’ll have to pony up a few extra bucks for that. But, if that’s not too important to you, then the DTS HD Master Audio mix is no slouch. The Atmos mix gives us what we’ve come to expect – a nice, robust mix that fills the air with all sorts of surround effects, LFE and vocals that make it sound like the characters are in the same room with you (well, I guess they are, but you know…in person). It’s a nice, spacial mix that’s sure to satisfy and like the visual presentation, we’ve come to expect a new movie to sound as good as it looks. This fits the bill to a tee.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – Director/co-writer Gil Kenan brings a festive and exuberant commentary track. Clearly he was stoked for this one. And we find the usual things covered with the cast (duh), the shoot and returning to some original, iconic landmarks. Fans will enjoy this one.
  • Return to the Firehouse – If you want to see some actors wax nostalgic about an old building in New York City, look no further.
  • Busting: Capturing the Ghosts of Frozen Empire – Basically just that. We get a look at some of the practical and cutting edge effects which make the original look like it was made in a garage.
  • Easter Eggs Unleashed – Again the title says it all. We find some easter eggs from the previous installments.
  • Manifesting Garraka – Anything and everything you’d want or need to know about the film’s antagonist.
  • New York, New Gear – If you’re the “locked and loaded” type, this one is for you. We get a look at the new gear used in the film.
  • Welcome to the Paranormal Discovery Center – If you wanted a look at Zeddemore’s research lab, look no further.
  • Knowing the Score – If your nostalgia meter isn’t quite to a 10 yet, this last feature should do the trick.
  • Deleted Scenes – Half a dozen are included that run nearly 10 minutes. I was fine with these being left out.

The Bottom Line

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is no Ghostbusters. Then again, neither was Ghostbusters II. Or the reboot. Or Ghostbusters: Afterlife. I understand that studios want to cash in on an already (and long-lasting) brand and while not a total waste of time, this one just seems like it was trying a bit too hard. But I realize the movie and the franchise have its fans. Top notch audio and video along with a decent selection of extras do make for a nice package if this film is your thing.

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