Picture credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage
On Cinema


Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is heroically pointless


Why are we here? Why do this? My main thought about the fifth Ghostbusters film, is that it’s the most pointless sequel I’ve seen since Ghostbusters 2. Although, now I think about it, it’s run pretty close by Ghostbusters 4, or whatever it was that it was called.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Ghostbusters. I saw it in the cinema. I’m pretty sure I read the novelisation. But even as a 10-year-old I think I had sufficient critical faculties to know that this was not a story that needed four sequels. There were simply not enough unresolved questions about who, if there was something strange in the neighbourhood, you were gonna call. And I speak as someone who handed over his pocket money to watch at least three Police Academy films.  

That was the thing about the 1980s: we were grateful to get out of the house, and we would take whatever we were given. You could get away with sticking a bunch of Saturday Night Live stars in front of the camera and hoping  for 90 minutes of content that would be more entertaining than staring at a wall. But today? 

This is a film that answers a series of questions that I simply cannot believe any actual human has ever asked: what happened to the original characters from Ghostbusters? What became of the family from the last sequel, whose title and plot I cannot remember, and can’t face Googling? 

For what it’s worth, I quite enjoyed the third of the films, a controversial reboot because it starred women. It did at least have jokes, but was slated by fans as insufficiently respectful to the source material. This is not a criticism anyone will be able to make of Frozen Empire, which treats the 1984 film with a level of reverence that would be appropriate for a newly discovered Shakespeare manuscript. 

Are we not all agreed by now that we don’t need all the Star Wars films we’re getting, and we don’t need all the Marvel films we’re getting? So on what possible basis can anyone believe that we need all the Ghostbusters films we’re getting?

Do you care what it’s about? There’s a monster who wants to end the world, and a teenager who’s in love with a ghost, and a stepfather who simply wants to be one of the family, but honestly, I don’t see why I should spend more time explaining the plot to you than the writers did coming up with it. 

British comedian James Acaster, in a supporting role, gives a decent turn, but fundamentally this is a tale too limp to be saved even by Paul Rudd’s considerable charms. No one needed to make it, and no one needs to watch it.

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