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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Ghostbusters [Blu-ray]


(Ivan Reitman, 1984)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Columbia Tri-star

Video: Sony Pictures



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:45:08.343

Disc Size: 46,918,485,552 bytes

Feature Size: 30,824,908,800 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.51 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 16th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1504 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1504 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DUBs: Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1511 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1511 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Portuguese 1276 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1276 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 16-bit



English, English (SDH), Arabic, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none



• Commentary track by director Ivan Reitman, Writer Harold Ramis, and Associate Producer Joe Medjuck
Slimer-Mode picture-in-picture interviews/pop-up trivia
Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car (15:36 in HD!)
Ghostbusters Garage: Ecto-1 Gallery (5:27 in HD!)

Making of 'Ghostbusters - The Video Game (11:18 in HD!)

• Ghostbusters The Video Game - Preview (1:43 in HD!)
Ten deleted scenes - SD
1984 Making of... (9:45 - SD)
Cast and Crew Featurette (10:53)
SFX Team (15:22)
Comparison of 3 scenes (with and without effects); Spook Central Exploding (2:49), She's a Dog (2:01), and Crossing the Streams (1:24)
Storyboard Comparison
Trailer adverts





Description: University parapsychologists Dr. Peter Venkman (Murray), Dr. Raymond Stanz (Aykroyd) and Dr. Egon Spengler (Ramis) lose a research grant when their experiment methodology is proven to be bogus. The team decides to go into business for themselves and open ‘Ghostbusters,’ a ghost removal service. After struggling to get on their feet, they are summoned to investigate the strange happenings in Dana Barrett’s (Weaver) Central Park West apartment. What they discover is that all Manhattan is being besieged by ghosts and other worldly demons through a portal in her building.



The Film:

"Ghostbusters" is a head-on collision between two comic approaches that have rarely worked together very successfully. This time, they do. It's (1) a special-effects blockbuster, and (2) a sly dialogue movie, in which everybody talks to each other like smart graduate students who are in on the joke. In the movie's climactic scenes, an apocalyptic psychic mindquake is rocking Manhattan, and the experts talk like Bob and Ray.

This movie is an exception to the general rule that big special effects can wreck a comedy. Special effects require painstaking detail work. Comedy requires spontaneity and improvisation or at least that's what it should feel like, no matter how much work has gone into it. In movies like Steven Spielberg's 1941, the awesome scale of the special effects dominated everything else; we couldn't laugh because we were holding our breath. Not this time.

"Ghostbusters" has a lot of neat effects, some of them mind-boggling, others just quick little throwaways, as when a transparent green-slime monster gobbles up a mouthful of hot dogs. No matter what effects are being used, they're placed at the service of the actors; instead of feeling as if the characters have been carefully posed in front of special effects, we feel they're winging this adventure as they go along.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Previous DVDs of Ghostbusters seemed to be all over the board when it came to image quality and I suspect the production specifics from the early 80's resulted in some less-than-stellar appearance over time. Grain on this Blu-ray seems surprisingly heavy - especially in the opening 20-minutes. This lends the film a more authentic, textured, look. The film's effects couldn't compete with today's standards but suited Ghostbusters quite adequately - well, a few might look a bit cheesy today. Some scenes show some decent depth but it's not a hallmark of the transfer. Colors seem lively, but true, without unnatural brilliance applied as an after thought.  Any softness is probably inherent in Ghostbusters original source and I don't see any indication that DNR or boosting was involved. This Blu-ray probably looks quite similar to the film as it appeared 25-years ago (can it be that long?) - or at least the best possible facsimile for home theatre. It exceed my expectations to some degree.
















Audio :

It's a meager TrueHD 5.1 audio transfer at only 1504 kbps. But saying that when the boys are in the library basement and capture #1 appears - I almost jumped out of my skin. Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters theme sounds great throughout the film (even my 4-year old got up to dance). It's funny how small improvements can go a long way and the track is notably superior to any I've heard from SD-DVD. It's not the crispest nor has the most depth for demo' purposes but it does wonders for the film on Blu-ray. There are optional subtitle options and my Momitsu tells me this is region FREE! I should note that the menus were a bit herky-jerky on my Profile 2.0 player - but the film played just fine. 




Extras :

There isn't much NOT included and the package is truly stacked. Some of the better items remain from the older DVD editions - commentary, featurettes, deleted scnes, storyboards and some new stuff with a picture-in-picture 'Slimer-mode' option with interviews and trivia. There are 1080 pieces on the car and other production elements plus an advert for the Video Game. It also offers BD-LIVE with this new cinechat thingy (I wouldn't know anyone who might use) but it's nice to see that they don't simply move-over the old stuff. I can't imagine what more fans might want - there are hours of supplements to indulge in here.  



Ghostbusters is a timeless classic and remains a pile of fun. It's kind of imbedded itself into the culture and the Blu-ray is strong on all fronts - transfer and supplements. I doubt we're going to see it looking any better, the price is right and I definitely recommend! 

Gary Tooze

June 6th, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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