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Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Christian Movie Review)

About the Film 

“When there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?” Hollywood execs hope the answer to that question is still “Ghostbusters.” Following 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife—which revived the iconic franchise after 37 years—the ghostbusters are back with a new spectral-filled adventure. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire attempts to give a nostalgic nod to the original 1980s films while offering something fresh for a new generation. The results are mixed. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire has plenty of endearing characters, but it gets bogged down by a convoluted, meandering plot. It provides diverting entertainment and successful humor, but also a few content elements that might spook some Christian audiences away.   

Ghostbusters: Afterlife leaned heavily into nostalgia, treating every reveal of a classic character, vehicle, or proton pack as something almost sacred. In contrast, Frozen Empire feels more natural. The original cast members are better integrated into the story, and there are fewer moments when the film halts its momentum to ask audiences, “Hey, remember that?!” It may not provide the same emotional resonance as the previous film, but it stands more confidently on its own feet.      

The film’s biggest strength is its characters—both the returning legacy characters and the new batch of ghostbusters. Despite a crowded cast, everyone gets their moment to shine (except perhaps Finn Wolfhard’s mostly sidelined character). The intergenerational dynamics between the characters results in some wholesome, crowd-pleasing moments, particularly during the climax.   

While the characters are compelling, the story is not always as interesting. Frozen Empire feels like a film with two first acts before it finally jumps into a rushed third-act climax. The plot unfolds slowly with a lot of exposition and not many payoffs. The evil god-like villain doesn’t appear until about 1.5 hours into the runtime. The exciting city-freezing action featured so prominently in the trailers is reserved for the final 30 minutes of the film.   

Characters frequently talk about the dangerous, world-ending power of a mysterious orb, but only in a few scenes is the orb shown doing anything consequential. There’s an entire subplot about historical “fire warriors” that contributes little beyond serving as an excuse to incorporate actor Kumail Ali Nanjiani into the film for a few laughs.   

The Ghostbusters are “afraid of no ghost,” and audiences have little reason to be either. Consistent with the previous films, Frozen Empire is more comedy than horror. There are some light spooky elements, mostly in the design of some of the ghosts, but nothing more intense than would be found in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. On the other hand, the mostly successful comedy elements capture the same sardonic humor as the original films and land squarely in “quietly chuckle to yourself” rather than “laugh out loud” territory.     

At times, the film feels like a fun throwback to the classic live-action Disney family films of the past. But there are also some elements that Christian audiences may want to put back in the ghost trap, such as some sexual humor and a plotline that strongly implies same-sex teenage attraction.  

Overall, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is neither bad nor great. There’s enough effective entertainment present to warrant future ghostbusting adventures with this new cast, but also enough wheel-spinning to suggests that perhaps Hollywood has finally wrung all the juice from this franchise and that—like its wandering ghosts— it might be time to move on.   

On the Surface

For Consideration

Beneath The Surface

Engage The Film

The Supernatural and the Beyond    

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is not a deep exploration into real-world spiritual realities. Ghosts populate the film because ghosts are fun and ghostbusters need something to bust. Even so, there are several interesting elements in the way this film approaches supernaturalism.   

Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) is open-minded to the point that he seems to lack any unifying belief system. As he tells another character, he finds it better to cover all his bases and believe in everything. In the real world, such a person would likely be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist and lunatic. But in the context of the film, he’s obviously correct. His spiritual openness results in some interesting conversations about belief. But his “everything is true” mindset will be less agreeable to Christians.   

Characters mention several biblical narratives, such as the “strength of Samson” or the burning bush. But the implication is that these occurrences were merely a few instances of supernatural activity in a world already filled with it. Almost all the characters appear to be atheists, but not materialists—they accept the spiritual without believing in God (although the supernatural villain is sometimes referred to as “a god”).    

There are several discussions about the afterlife and what happens when the spirits “move on” from this world. A character points up to heaven, although most hold to a more “scientific” viewpoint that the spiritual beings merely dissolve and become part of the universe in some ambiguous sense. The ghostbusters universe is one in which spirits fill the earth, but there is seemingly no spiritual reality beyond this realm. The lingering spirits and ghosts are tethered to earth due to emotional attachment or bonds to physical objects.   

For an entertaining ghost movie, these mechanics are perfectly functional. Still, the film also provides a picture of spirituality without a foundation and reflects contemporary worldviews that often reduce the spiritual to subjective emotions rather than accepting an objective reality beyond ourselves.   

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