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Empire Magazine March 2024 Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Article Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Jan. 28, 2024 at 11:25 PM , Categories: Books, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
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The March 2024 issue of Empire magazine, featuring a 12-page cover story all about the upcoming Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire film, was released on January 18th. Let's take a look at it...

Before I get into this, I would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the Spook Central VIPs for providing the funds that allowed me to buy this item and review it for all of you. This item was NOT provided by the manufacturer.

The article, entitled "Back on the Beat" and written by Tom Ellen, stretches across pages 52 to 63. Yes, the magazine devotes a whopping TWELVE pages to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, which is now set for release on March 22nd in the U.S.

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It opens by recounting the New York City second unit filming from June 2023. The scene that was filmed is the film's opener, featuring the crew right back into Ecto-1, sliding around corners in Manhattan, chasing the fearsome Hell's Kitchen Sewer Dragon, which Jason Reitman calls "the biggest ghost we've ever seen in Ghostbusters".

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Director Gil Kenan touches on what we already know; "The story picks up in real time, a couple of years after Afterlife. The Spenglers are living in New York, taking over the family [ghostbusting] business, when certain forces come into play that are bigger and scarier than anything they've had to confront." The Spengler family will live in the iconic Ghostbusters firehouse, which was purchased by Winston at the end of Afterlife. Jason Reitman says that we will "see the Firehouse way more than in any previous Ghostbusters film. What's it like to sleep there, do laundry there? What's the attic like?" (With the family now living in the New York firehouse, what became of the farmhouse in Summerville? Is it vacant? Did Callie sell it? I wonder if the film will answer these questions.)

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Without going into specific details, we learn that as the family is trying to keep their new domestic situation together, "they come upon an ancient artifact that holds the power to unleash something truly horrific. This villainous entity has the ability to use our own fear to create a thermodynamic shift - a force that can freeze all life as we know it," says Reitman. The force is the "Death Chill" that the teaser trailer first told us about. While the article doesn't tell us what that artifact is - it's called the "Golden Orb" in the Ray Stantz glow-in-the-dark Funko Pop figure - it does include a photo of Lars Pinfield (played by James Acaster) and others in the Ghostbusters' lab examining the object. We also learn that Patton Oswalt plays Dr. Hubert Wartzki and that Kumail Nanjiani plays Nadeem Razmaadi.

While there are no big plot reveals, Gil Kenan states that "We wanted bigger stakes, bigger danger. We wanted completely new villains and new mythology." When writing the script, Gil and Jason hooked into the tone of The Real Ghostbusters animated series, which was populated by - in Kenan's words - "wild, original and weird-as-fuck villains. We wanted to bring that show's looseness and fearlessness to this movie. I think it's going to surprise people just how big this film is." As for one ghost you won't see in the film, Kenan confirms that Egon's ghost does not appear. Good, let him rest in peace. However, an old ghost who you will see is Slimer (birth name: Onionhead). Yes, after getting a break from him in Afterlife, a photo of him, seemingly in the firehouse attic/third floor, confirms his appearance.

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The original team is back, with a much larger role than their glorified "cameo" in Afterlife. Ernie Hudson says that "Winston's a wealthy guy now, and he's funding research into new technology and the science behind ghostbusting. But when the world is threatened... Who you gonna call? He suits up with the rest of them." Ray may not be suiting up, as Dan Aykroyd says that Ray has "fitness problems, insurance problems - Winston's the shot-caller now and he decides Ray should step back from the ghostbusting frontline and just be an advisor." As for Bill Murray's Peter Venkman, he'll be back, thanks in part to his love of Gil Kenan, with whom he worked with on the 2008 sci-fi film City of Ember. Filling the vacant fourth spot will be Janine Melnitz, played once again by Annie Potts. Janine is also packing a new weapon - something we've not seen before in the Ghostbusters universe. "It's... not a proton pack," Potts teases.

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Another one of the original cast members who returns, marking his first appearance in the film series in 40 years, is William Atherton's pencil-pushing bureaucrat Walter Peck. Of course, as we saw in the teaser trailer, Podcast (Logan Kim) also returns. According to Aykroyd, "He's renting Ray's basement to shoot an Instagram series called 'Repossessed', where people bring in objects they think are haunted." Among these objects is the mysterious "ancient artifact", which Aykroyd describes as a "psychometric object that acts in a particular, ultimately lethal, way". This plot line sounds like the Creepshow episode "Public Television of the Dead", in which someone brings The Book of the Dead (from Evil Dead) to a public television appraisal show, which causes a great evil to be unleashed.

The article touches upon the absence of Ivan Reitman, but we learn that Jason did get to pitch him the plot of Frozen Empire, which he loved. As for the future of the franchise, "It depends on how [Frozen Empire] does, but Jason and I definitely have a sense of where the story could go from here," says Kenan. "I am thrilled and ready to tell more stories," agrees Reitman. "Now we're back in the Firehouse, there are infinite ghost stories that could be told. And not just in Manhattan - all around the world."

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Alongside the article are four sidebars about the original crew: Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts, and Bill Murray. The first three are interviewed, while Bill's profile is a recollection from Jason about "what it's like to work with - and be friends with - a ghostbusting legend". These sidebars are accompanied by small portraits rendered by artist Paul Shipper.

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(click to enlarge)

The header image of this review can be enlarged for a better look at the three covers. Yes, this issue has three covers, two of which combine to form one beautiful image of both teams busting together. Even better than that is that the covers GLOW-IN-THE-DARK! Here is a look at the glow feature of Cover B, courtesy of the Ghostbusters of Glasgow.

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This physical magazine is DEFINITELY one for the collection, but being a U.K. publication, you will not easily find it in stores here in the States... assuming you can even find a store that still sells print magazines. Perhaps a big bookstore like Barnes & Noble might carry it, but you may not even have one of those near you. There are only four B&N stores in all of Nassau County, Long Island, none of which are on the south shore where I live.

In all likelihood, you'll only be able to buy it online. For Cover A & Cover B, I highly recommend The Magazine Man. I've ordered from him many times in the past, both on his site and thru eBay [username "ashleymags"] (prices are the same, but eBay charges sales tax). I doubt you'll find it any cheaper. Each issue is £13.20, with the total for both being £26.40 ($35.03 in US Dollars, at the time I placed my order on January 16th). That's equivalent to $17.50 per issue, with free shipping from the UK to the US. You will get an e-mail when the magazine(s) has been dispatched (shipped), but you will need to e-mail him if you want a tracking number because it won't be included in the e-mail.

The Magazine Man also has Cover A of the November 2021 issue that covers Afterlife (£11.99 to the US), which is the issue I had several cast members autograph when I attended the New York City premiere in November 2021. (Cover B of the November 2021 issue was a subscriber-exclusive Mini Pufts cover.) You can also buy the May 2022 issue [Doctor Strange cover] (£12.30), which has an Ivan Reitman tribute article on pages 74-79.

(UPDATE - In the time since I originally gathered this information and ordered my copies - which I received on January 27th - The Magazine Man has, seemingly, sold out of Covers A & B of the March 2024 issue, as well as the November 2021 issue that covers Afterlife. [Links for all are dead now.] He still has the May 2022 issue, but that may be gone soon, too. The other source I had, Great Magazines, had sold out of Cover A and Cover B weeks ago. I don't know of any other sources, so I guess you'll have to go with eBay for all covers and pay the high scalper's fees. I will leave up the links and information in the previous two paragraphs for archival reference.)

For Cover C (the subscriber-exclusive Mini Pufts cover), you'll need to go the eBay route because I don't think that one will ever be made available anywhere, except to subscribers.

Over the past few weeks, Empire has made several previews of the article, and its exclusive images, available on its website. A January 12th article briefly covers Winston, Ray, and Peter, as well as Ivan's absence. A January 15th article looks at Janine Melnitz. Another January 15th article shares a bit about James Acaster's new character, Lars Pinfield. Finally, a January 16th article mentions the influences of the movie.

SPOOK CENTRAL VIP BONUS FEATURE - A better look at the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire article via PDF download.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that Empire's February 2024 issue [Planet of the Apes cover] has a two page preview of Frozen Empire. It's not really worth buying, and all images can be found online in better versions: Gil & Jason, Family Filming, Peter & Gary in Basement.

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That is all.

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