Ghostbusters, the comedy classic about a trio of university parapsychologists turned ghost hunters, gets the Ultra High Definition treatment from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1984
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Genre: Comedy/Horror

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese, Hindi, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Spanish. Swedish, Thai
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 Aykroyd & Harold Ramis
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 7, 2016
"A classic Gets the Ultra HD Treatment"
My Take:

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.

I reviewed Ghostbusters when it was originally released on Blu-ray back in 2009. I read my comments on the film and thought I would share them here as well. Here they are:

I am going to skip going into an overview of the 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 a 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 scene 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 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, 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 known 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 Ultra HD Blu-ray is an anticipated one and Sony/Columbia has pulled out the stops to make the wait well worth it.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements, brief language and mild 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.**

UHD Presentation: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Dolby Atmos Rating: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

For those not willing to refer to the article linked above, I have included some comments here. The implementation of high dynamic range as it stands currently, doesn't appear to have exacting standards and no calibration tools to allow for a foundational threshold for setting up a visual system. This leaves us to do the best we can to determine what appears to be accurate, at least for the time being. With that in mind, my approach to reviewing Ultra HD Blu-ray will be to assess the elements observed which I find to generate the most significant visual impact when compared to standard high definition Blu-ray.

For me, high dynamic range, with its broader spectrum of colors and emboldened highlights in the areas of contrast and brightness, is where the potential lies in the format. The increase in resolution, while an important component, isn't going to be definitive in every case, especially given that currently many of the Ultra HD Blu-ray releases are derived from 2K Digital Intermediates that are up-converted to 4K. This shouldn't be strictly construed to mean that such up-converted images won't look noticeably better than their 1080p counterparts. Conversely, a release finished on a 4K Digital Intermediate isn't a guarantee that it will be heads and shoulders above the rest. So, what can you expect to hear from me when discussing what I observed from Ultra HD Blu-ray? I will hit upon the things that struck me, the impact, or lack of impact, of HDR and the improvement, if any, in resolution when compared to 1080p Blu-ray. The outcome will be a rating as seen above.

Front projection for home theater is just stepping through the door with respect to the reproduction of HDR. My goal is to present readers with a reasonable expectation of what they can expect when viewing the same content that I have. There may be variables that differ slightly however I believe that in general the outcome will be close. As we are exposed to more and more content and calibration tools come onboard we will have better perspectives from which to gauge. Thanks for reading!

Ghostbusters comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) sound.

Sony remastered Ghostbusters from the original 35mm film elements, and previously released it on Blu-ray presented in 1080p from a 4K scan. Its presentation in Ultra HD is derived from that 4K image and the results are impressive.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Ghostbusters has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

Looking at the film's opening sequence in the library, the improvement in depth, definition and color rendering was immediately noticeable. I was struck by the finer details present in the woodworking, book spines and backgrounds. The exterior shots of the library, grounds and the variety of colors represented in the 80's era clothing appeared noticeably more vivid and pleasing to the eye. The addition of high dynamic range added a tangible visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. The sequence shot in the hotel ballroom as the team struggled to capture the green blob/ghost looked amazing as the bright highlights/flashes of color from their accelerator pack beams, as well as the pyrotechnics, had incredible visual pop.

This was the case even during brightly lit exterior scenes. When the containment grid is shut down, the resulting cataclysm that destroys the Ghostbusters building erupted in brilliant whites, and cascading color that caused me to squint momentarily. Dark highlights were rendered with excellent dimension especially when coupled with brighter visual elements such as the oscillating emergency lights on top of the Ghostbusters vehicle, or the lights of the NY City skyline. The image isn't razor sharp but detail rendering is very good overall. As I watched I felt as though I was rediscovering this film all over again. Hands down, this is the best Ghostbusters has ever looked on home video. Kudos to Sony for giving this the treatment it deserves. Hopefully we can expect more of the same from other classic titles from their extensive catalog.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos soundtrack I was pleased with how active the mix is. The use of overhead sound objects elevates proportional correlation. When compared to the 7.1 channel core the Atmos mix offers a noticeable improvement by opening up the soundstage, elevating the perception of low level detail. During the various encounters/paranormal activity the track brims with atmospherics, off screen cues and discrete sound effects that when applied using the freedom of object based placement adds an enriching layer to the soundtrack. This is noticeable right from the opening sequence with noteworthy examples being found throughout.

This Atmos mix took a subtle and more active approach when appropriate, and conveyed the spirit and overall feel of the original soundtrack while adding a complimentary element. I didn’t feel let down by it and ultimately had lots of fun.

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
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Audio: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
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Ghostbusters comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.

Sony has included the Re-Mastered in 4K Blu-ray release with this Ultra HD Combo Pack. As previously mentioned the video has a 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. This is innate to the photography 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. This isn't detrimental, and overall, fidelity isn't called into question.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack contains the same surround mix from the Re-Mastered in 4K release. Elmer Bernstein’s music is lightly mixed over the front and rear speakers with a discernible but reserved presence in the surrounds. The re-mixed elements can sometimes sound a bit too forward however in most respects this isn't a problem. Pretty much any use of the nuclear accelerated weaponry shows off the track's decent dynamic range, and punchy bass response that while not earth shaking, can easily be felt throughout the room. Channel separation across the front three speakers is definable. Dialog is clearly rendered but isn’t prominent enough during busier moments which results in just average room penetration. The end result is a solid presentation that faithfully conveys the elements present within the recording. Overall this is a fun home theater experience that presents this classic film in a positive light that fans are sure to appreciate.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Ghostbusters Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Ghostbusters Blu-ray Disc
  • (HD) *NEW* Gallery 1988 Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Print collection
  • (HD) *NEW* Who Ya Gonna Call: A Ghostbusters Retrospective – 24 minutes
  • (HD) *NEW* Alternate TV Version Takes
  • (HD) *NEW* Ghostbusters Music Video featuring Ray Parker JR.
  • (HD) *NEW* Ghostbuster Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio commentary with Director Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis, and Joe Medjuck
  • Slimer Mode- BonusView feature – Behind the scenes, interviews and more
  • Ecto1: Resurrecting the classic car – 15 minute featurette
  • Ghostbusters garage: Ecto1 gallery
  • 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
  • Digital HD Copy
Final Thoughts:

Ghostbusters is a personal favorite, and memorable classic film that is adored by many. It is hard to believe that it has been 31 plus 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 Ultra HD video presentation looks marvelous, while the new Dolby Atmos surround mix adds a complimentary element. The bonus supplements from the previous releases are included as are all new exclusive features that enhance an already stalwart extras package. I commend Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on a job well done as this is an excellent and worthy offering that befits this comedy classic. Highly recommended!

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package