The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 1984
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 105 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Arabic, Dutch
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Music by: Elmer Bernstein
Written by: Dan Aykrody & Harold Ramis
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 16, 2009
"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!"
A trio of university parasychologists lose their research grant and decide to open their own business, "Ghostbusters," and almost at once are summoned to investigate the strange happenings in a Central Park West apartment. What they discover is that all Manhattan is being besieged by ghosts, apparitions and other worldly demons.
I am going to skip going into an overview of story. I would hope that anyone interested in reading this review would be familiar with this film 25 years (what?!) after its release. The year was 1984, it was early summer and I was a young strapping lad of 20, on my first date with my new 24 year old girlfriend. We went to see Ghostbusters which was the hottest release at the time. Being a big fan of Bill Murray films such as Meatballs and Stripes this one had lots of promise and it delivered. Its blend of horror, thrills, and comedy wrapped in sort of comedic epic style was something that I hadn't experienced before and the combination worked. It had one or two decent scares. The scenes in Dana's apartment involving the chair right before she is taken into the kitchen/possessed by Zuul, was pretty scary stuff back then. The confrontation with Gozer and her/its rather creepy/eerie voice is memorable as well. But it's the lighter moments that truly sell this film. Peter's wise cracking retorts and seemingly unflappable demeanor, the interpersonal and jocular relationship between Egon, Ray and Peter is simply priceless. The romantic element between Dana and Peter, the unspoken affair between Egon and Janine and the awkward interaction between Louis and Dana is wonderfully integrated. The pacing is excellent as it moves along nicely but offers viewers well rounded characters and developed situations that not only make sense but are scripted and timed perfectly. I can recall being impressed with the special effects which at the time were cool stuff. Today the stop motion animation, miniatures, and CG effects don't hold up as well but of course that is part of the film's nostalgic charm. There was something so original about the over the top humor and sarcastic wit sustained in the face of danger. Of course there are a host of great lines, many (not all) of which come from Murray, that have been quoted throughout the years. Lastly, who can forget the words to the classic theme song (who ya gonna call?).
Dan Akroyd, and Bill Murray had already proven to be a winning combination during their time on Saturday Night Live. Harold Ramis needed no introduction after starring with Murray in Stripes and being know for penning such successful comedies as Caddyshack, Meatballs, and the aforementioned Stripes. I just love Dan Akroyd's knack for spewing tongue twisting technical jargon as only he can. Ghostbusters has achieved classic status among its many fans. It has spawned a sequel, animated TV show, and video games. To me it has a timeless energy that still makes it feel fresh, fun and entertaining. Its release on High definition Blu-ray Disc is an anticipated one and Sony/Columbia has pulled out the stops to give fans a worthwhile package.
The rating is thematic elements, brief language and sensuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Ghostbuters comes to Blu-ray Disc from Columbia Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.4 mbps.
I own the Ghostbusters Collector's Edition DVD release that featured re-mastered audio/video. I always felt that it looked very good and had high hopes for the quality of this Blu-ray presentation. I am happy to report that Ghostbusters has never looked this good on home video. The video has an overtly grainy aesthetic that some may object to but I have no problem with it as it is presented naturally and gives it a textured and filmic quality. Colors are bright and vivid with satisfying saturation that pops nicely here and there. Fleshtones are equally satisfying, warm and natural in depiction. Complexions are appreciably nuanced which reveals plenty of fine detail in facial features. I found the level of depth during many shots to be notable. Object detail in wide angle shots is readily apparent as the texture in background walls, furniture and building exteriors is discernible. Unfortunately this doesn't prevail throughout the presentation. There are times when delineation is not as revealing and certain shots almost appear out of focus. Sometimes it can be only portions of the frame that appear slightly defocused while other areas onscreen in the same shot offer better refinement. Checking the DVD indicates that this is innate to the photography as it is present there as well. It is less noticeable due to the lower resolution. This is obvious and varies from scene to scene but it doesn't constitute a majority. Primarily images appear resolute with defining clarity and two dimensional perspective that enhances depth. Blacks are solid, fairly deep and stable and whites are crisp and detailed. Dark segments tend to look grainier that brighter ones which can impede the perception of dimension in low light, but its not detrimental. Fidelity is rarely called into question. For a 25 year old film Ghostbusters on Blu-ray looks mighty fine indeed.
The lossless Dolby TrueHD soundtrack appears to contain the same surround mix from the re-mastered Collector's Edition DVD. The presentation is primarily front loaded but the entire system is employed during various points in the film. Elmer Bernstein's music is lightly mixed over the front and rear speakers with a discernible but reserved presence in the surrounds. Like with the DVD I found that the re-mixed elements can sometimes sound a bit too forward in volume which can make panning effects come across as uneven. This isn't the norm however and there are many sequences that sound great. The scene where Louis is being chased by the demon dog and he is cornered outside of the restaurant is an example. As the creature bears down on Louis the camera's perspective represents the creature's point of view. His snarling/growling is mixed to the surrounds and the effect is quite good. Pretty much any use of the nuclear accelerated weaponry shows off the decent dynamic quality of this soundtrack. This is enhanced by punchy bass response that while not earth shaking can easily be felt throughout the room. Channel separation across the front three speakers is definable. Dialogue is clearly rendered but isn't prominent enough during busier moments which results in just average room penetration. The end result is a good but occasionally dated sounding presentation that faithfully conveys the elements present within the recording. I think that it offers an improvement over the Collector's Edition DVD's sound quality but the difference isn't a vast one. Regardless this is a fun home theater experience that presents this classic film in a positive light that fans are sure to appreciate.
- Cinechat - Send onscreen messages to friends while watching the movie together
- Audio commentary with Director Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis, and Joe Medjuck
- Blu-wizard - Customize how you watch the special features
- Exclusive Slimer Mode- BonusView PiP feature - Behind the scenes, interviews and more
- (HD) Ecto1: Resurrecting the classic car Exclusive 15 minute featurette
- (HD) Making Ghostbusters - The video game
- (HD) Ghostbusters garage: Ecto1 gallery Exclusive 5 minute slideshow
- Ghostbusters video game preview
- Scene cemetery - 10 deleted scenes
- Original 1984 featurette - 15 minutes
- Cast & crew featurette - 11 minutes
- SFX Team featurette - 15 minutes
- Multi-angle featurette - 3 segments - spook central explosion, She's a dog, and crossing the streams
- 3 Storyboard comparisons
- (HD) 7 BD Previews
- BD-Live enabled
Ghostbusters is a personal favorite and memorable classic film that is adored by many. It is hard to believe that it has been 25 years since I sat and watched in the theater. It hasn't lost any of its original luster and still makes for a fun and highly entertaining watch. Speaking of luster, its high definition video presentation from Sony looks marvelous. The bonus supplements from the Collector's Edition DVD release are included as are all new exclusive to Blu-ray features that enhance an already stalwart extras package. I commend Sony on a job well done as this is an excellent and worthy offering that befits this comedy classic. Highly recommended.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package