Ghostbusters (1984) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Comedy / Science Fiction|
|Sony || PG - 105 minutes - $28.95 || June 16, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-02|
Writer(s): Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis (written by)
Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts
Theatrical Release Date: June 8, 1984
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Plot: When kooky, spooky college profs Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) lose their university jobs, they decide to go freelance, de-haunting houses in a new ghost removal service. As soon as they open their doors, their first order of business becomes saving beautiful cellist Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and nerdy Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), who’ve inadvertently opened the gates of hell... right in their own apartment building!
If you look through the course of cinematic history, there are only a few movies that not only hold up but also transcend generations of movie-goers. Ghostbusters is such a film and one that I’ve seen more times than I can count throughout the years and it still is as funny and action-packed as the last time. It is the perfect storm of movies: a great ensemble with each cast member providing something different to the table; a dynamic story with thrills around every corner; a tight screenplay with comedy that never falters; and the special effects even for 1984 is still quite impressive during a time when visual effects companies get closer to using CGI humans (see: Terminator: Salvation).
It would be tough to pinpoint the film’s success. One could argue that without Bill Murray’s sarcastic and witty humor, the film would not be the same. True. How about Dan Aykroyd’s geeky enthusiasm that bounces off of Murray’s persona? Or what about Harold Ramis’ scientific wit and dry humor? This isn’t to forget the sweetness that is Sigourney Weaver who, at the time, reached stardom with Alien (1979). Even Rick Moranis as the annoying neighbor was a great addition. Fact is, without the sum of these parts, Ghostbusters would not be the same. No Bill Murray would be the equivalent of no Marlon Brando in The Godfather or no Robert De Niro in Raging Bull.
Only a handful of movies can be said to have the ingredients to produce a classic and Ghostbusters is right up there with the bunch. No, technically speaking it’s not better than The Godfather and the like, but it deserves to be in the mix. This is not just a movie that holds up for nostalgia’s sake and instead it stands on its own as a damn good movie and even with its lesser sequel, it’s a franchise that people of all ages still have interest in (thus why a Ghostbusters III feature will come, and with most of the original cast).
If you for some reason have yet to see Ghostbusters, do so immediately! If you haven’t seen it in years, get the disc and watch it tonight. After 25 years, this film still holds up more so than the majority of movies today and its one even kids can enjoy without realizing it’s merely another ‘old’ movie. It’s a fun movie that will be around for another 25 years and beyond, and deservedly so.
All the features, save for the “MST3K”-style commentary (the audio version is available) have been ported over along with a few exclusives. Here’s a quick rundown of the original features followed by a closer look at the new stuff:
Commentary with Producer/Director Ivan Reitman, Co-Writer/Actor Harold Ramis & Associate Producer Joe Medjuck is a fun track with a bunch of stories on how the concept began and shooting the movie.
Scene Cemetery (10:40) – 10 scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut were mostly filler that weren’t needed.
Next up are four featurettes: 1984 Featurette (9:45), Cast & Crew Featurette (10:53), SFX Featurette (15:22) and 3 Multi-Angle Featurettes (Spook Central Exploding, She’s a Dog, Crossing the Streams). All these featurettes while rough around the edges are fairly interesting even if it’s EPK-like material.
Last up are storyboard comparisons, previews for Blu-ray High-Def and The Da Vinci Code: Extended Cut and a BD-Live portal.
** Blu-ray Exclusives **
Blu-Wizard is a new feature where, from a menu, you can select a variety of topics from the special features and then while the movie plays, a marker will appear for you to view what you selected.
Slimer Mode (Profile 1.1/2.0) – This is a Picture-in-Picture and pop-up trivia track that runs with the movie where you can watch info about the movie. Not sure how new the video stuff is (it’s possible), but this is a pretty cool feature to get all the info you want while watching the movie.
Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car (15:37; HD) profiles the amazing car from the film and shows a shop restoring the car to its pristine condition in preparation for the video game.
Making of Ghostbusters - The Video Game (11:18; HD) – Any fans will be thrilled to watch this, a sneak peek at the making of the video game with interviews with some of the cast members (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson) talking about how the game uses callbacks to the first movie and how it expands the mythos for what could be considered a third Ghostbusters movie.
Ghostbusters Garage: Ecto-1 Gallery (5:27) is just some still photos of the vehicle in its roughest shape to complete restoration.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Preview (1:43; HD) is a quick trailer for the upcoming, highly anticipated game.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Ghostbusters is presented in its original 2.40 aspect ratio and now in 1080p high-definition. The result? A Blu-ray littered with a continuous amount of grain throughout the entire picture. Quite frankly, I was a bit shocked by how much of it there was, during both lighter and darker scenes. Now, I will say the skin tones do look good and even the amount of detail is decent, I’m just not sure if I can call this a great HD transfer. It’s good for sure, but worth an upgrade?
The Dolby TrueHD track isn’t much better, however. While the 5 channels do get some good use especially with Ray Parker, Jr.’s amazing theme song and dialogue is fairly clear, any sound effects aren’t quite effective and at times a little flat. The bass level also gets little use outside of some of the score and songs.
Although the amount of grain on the video is disappointing and is only a modest upgrade over the DVD, the Blu-ray release of Ghostbusters does have some cool exclusives that any fan will enjoy. For only general fans looking to slowly replace your collection with high-def titles, if it comes down in price, this might be a good title to pick up otherwise stick with your DVD for now.