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Three university parapsychologists lose a research grant when their experiment methodology is proven to be bogus. The team decides to go into business for themselves as "Ghostbusters", a ghost removal service. After struggling to get on their feet, they are ummoned to investigate the strange happenings in a woman's 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.
For more about Ghostbusters and the Ghostbusters Blu-ray release, see the Ghostbusters Blu-ray Review
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis
Director: Ivan Reitman
» See full cast & crew
Ghostbusters Blu-ray Review
Make the call and add 'Ghostbusters' to your Blu-ray collection.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 1, 2009
Why worry? Each of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.
Released both at the peak of the last great age of Comedy and featuring three of the funniest of all the funny men in the business, 1984's Ghostbusters delivers a deliciously over-the-top and completely inane movie experience that remains one of the greats of the genre. Molding the laughs in the context of a special effects-laden supernatural extravaganza, Ghostbusters earns its hearty hysterics through a unique incorporation of dialogue and visual gags that overpower the deadly-serious nature of a story that dabbles in Biblical prophecy and other assorted end-of-the-world pleasantries. Combined with absurd plot devices that work wonderfully in the spirit of the film and the conglomeration of zany one-liners, physical humor, and over-the-top performances, it's no wonder audiences time and again call on Ghostbusters for gut-busting entertainment.
On the verge of a breakthrough in their analysis of paranormal activity, university scientists Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray, Groundhog Day), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd, Tommy Boy), and Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis, Stripes) need only additional funding to finally lend credibility and validity to their studies. Unfortunately, Venkman is summarily dismissed from the university for his ineptitude as a "poor scientist." Never one to accept defeat, Venkman convinces his cohorts to form the Ghostbusters, a team of supernatural exterminators who hope to tap a wide-open market and rid the city of its unwanted specters. Though equipped with a refurbished fire station, a secretary, a car, and advanced ghost-catching technology, the team receives nary a phone call for their services until a New York urbanite, Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver, Galaxy Quest), finds inside her refrigerator a door to another dimension. It turns out that her building is a hub for paranormal activity, and waiting there to be unleashed is Zuul, an ancient demigod with an 80s hairdo. With the number of paranormal occurrences increasing at an alarming rate, the team hires a fourth member, Winston Zeddmore, (Ernie Hudson, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle), in hopes of standing a fighting chance of keeping New York City free of ghosts, ghouls, demons, and other assorted entities that would cripple The City that Never Sleeps.
The humor of Ghostbusters works so incredibly well not because of a barrage of forced-in humor, but because of the subtle nature of the jokes. Most come straight out of the context of the scene, the film often enjoying a rapid-fire succession of jokes that tell the story and move the plot along. Many stem not from dialogue but rather through the subtle, nuanced performances of the lead actors. Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, and Moranis generate humor with a gesture, a glance, or a smile, though certainly their delivery of the scripted jokes solidifies the entirety of the film. The dialogue enjoys a subtle nature, the jokes rarely directly humorous but rather indirectly so, many of the lines irresistibly wry and infectiously clever. Likewise, the film revels in the absurdity of the entire production, and its unapologetic embrace of a string of events that become all the more ridiculous and unbelievable reflect the tongue-in-cheek nature of the film. Only through a stroke of pure comedic genius cold a film pull off both the presence of an ancient, reincarnated demigod and a 100-foot-tall humanoid creature made of marshmallows as the film's villains, the former looking like an 80's rock star straight out of a bubble bath, the latter putting a whole new spin on the Godzilla mystique. Ghostbusters dazzles with its offbeat brand of humor, the film certainly benefiting from the rock-solid chemistry between its lead characters as its primary source of humor.
Not to be outdone by the film's levity, a fine technical presentation completes the Ghostbusters experience. Reflective of the story line, Elmer Bernstein's (Meatballs) score plays with a subtle fabulousness to it, capturing the essence of the film with a lighthearted, comedic overtone but also offering up the occasional dreadful, foreboding notes that signify the film's (albeit minor) Horror elements. Also a special-effects heavy film, Ghostbusters serves up a plethora of cartoon-like creatures and weaponry, some of which withstand the test of time while others stick out like a sore thumb. Generally impressive for its time and adding a unique charm to the experience, many of the dated effects serve to enhance the absurdity of the picture. The "streams," the orange energy bands that flow from the "nuclear accelerator" backpacks worn by the team, look like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon, but nevertheless the effect holds up nicely even today, its simplicity and colorful appearance both at once charming and effective. The various ghosts, too, whether the elderly library patron or the famous hot dog eating Slimer, look great, but some of the shots featuring Zuul's canine-esque companions in pursuit of their prey don't wow the optical senses, particularly under the scrutiny of high definition imagery. Nevertheless, the film's hodgepodge of effects generally impress, as does Director Ivan Reitman's (Twins) steady, sure-handed direction that does little more than allow the primary characters to dazzle.
Ghostbusters Blu-ray, Video Quality
Ghostbusters slimes Blu-ray with a faithful-to-the-source 1080p, 2.40:1-framed transfer. Grain haters, beware. Ghostbusters features plenty of the swirly stuff in most every scene. There is certainly no evidence of noise reduction performed on this one as the film features some of the heaviest grain seen on any Blu-ray release. Nevertheless, the transfer captures the intended look of the film admirably, and while it's certainly not a smooth and slick production, it retains a pleasing film-like appearance while also encapsulating the essence of what Blu-ray can do for a transfer. Still, the film occasionally wavers between sharp and soft scenery. Fine details in faces and objects are not hard to come by; whether the cobweb-infested firehouse that becomes Ghostbusters headquarters or the clean lines that define the interior of Dana's kitchen, the visuals appear adequately rendered in most every shot. There is also a nice amount of depth to be seen in some of the long-distance outdoor New York City shots. Black levels don't stray too far from black, but some of the heaviest grain in the film is noted across darker backdrops. Flesh tones generally look natural, perhaps with just a slight red push. Although not a terribly vibrant, crystal-clear image, this transfer reflects how Ghostbusters should look, and makes for another winning catalogue release from Sony.
Ghostbusters Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Ghostbusters crosses streams on Blu-ray with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Though not particularly engaging in every scene, this one holds up rather nicely and the lossless soundtrack, while not a revelation, does bring out some subtleties that seemed lost in the shuffle of previous home video releases. Both the music and sound effects enjoy a nice boost here, some of the film's softer musical cues and more nuanced sound effects off to the sides of the action adding to a more distinct, lifelike environment, whether in the stacks of the library as seen at the beginning of the film or during the "Slimer hunt" sequence partway through. Dialogue occasionally sounds a bit low in volume at reference level, though sound effects and music never drown out the spoken word. Throughout the first act of the film, the track takes on a completely front-heavy tone with little in the way of atmospherics or rear channel activity. Once the action gets going, however, the track picks up in intensity. Surrounds enjoy more frequent usage with both music and sound effects, the low end rumbles when called upon, and the track seems to create a broader sense of space and depth. Whether the beams flowing from the proton packs or the rumbling of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man's heavy, sugary steps, the TrueHD soundtrack enhances the overall experience in a big way. Certainly not among the best pure soundtracks on the market, this one nevertheless easily bests all previous Ghostbusters releases and should satisfy the film's many longtime fans.
Ghostbusters Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Ghostbusters debuts on Blu-ray jam-packed with extras. First up is a commentary track with Prodcucer/Director Ivan Reitman, Writer/Actor Harold Ramis, and Associate Producer Joe Medjuck. A track that delivers plenty of dry information on locations, special effects, the script, the cast, and other assorted tidbits but with a breezy, funny air, the track both informs and entertains, a worthwhile listen for fans and budding filmmakers alike. This disc also offers CineChat, an on-screen feature that allows users to chat with friends while the movie plays, available as part of the disc's BD-Live (Blu-ray profile 2.0) functionality. Viewers may also choose to watch the disc's many special features using Blu-Wizard technology. Once users have chosen their own selection of features, the film will begin playback and branch out to the selected content and, upon completion, return to the film until the appropriate start time of the next feature.
Slimer Mode frames the movie with a Ghostbusters-themed fašade and provides picture-in-picture interview segments with cast and crew as they share their thoughts on the entirety of the production. Intercut with the interview pieces is a plethora of behind-the-scenes videos and still photographs. Also included here is a series of pop-up trivia tidbits. Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car (1080i, 15:37) looks at the car's history, place in the film, and the process of refurbishing it. Ghostbusters Garage: Ecto-1 Gallery (1080p, 5:27) showcases a collection of detailed still photographs and videos of the famed car. Making of 'Ghostbusters - The Video Game' (1080i, 11:18) takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the creation of the upcoming game that reunites the entire primary cast and will be available for the PlayStation 3 console. Ghostbusters The Video Game - Preview (1080i, 1:43) is an advertisement for the game.
Moving along, Scene Cemetery is a collection of 10 deleted scenes, presented in 480p standard definition. 1984 Featurette (480p, 9:45) is a vintage piece that takes a superficial look at the making of the film with cast and crew interview clips and behind-the-scenes footage. Cast and Crew Featurette (480p, 10:53) features more interview clips with cast and crew discussing various aspects of the film. SFX Team Featurette (480p, 15:22) examines the making of some of the film's special effects. Multi-Angle Featurettes (480p) allows viewers to compare three scenes -- Spook Central Exploding (2:49), She's a Dog (2:00), and Crossing the Streams (1:23) -- in two versions, one with effects and one without. Storyboard Comparison (480p) allows viewers to see the final sequence from the film below the hand-drawn storyboards for three scenes: Slimer (2:13), Dogs Drag Dana (2:09), and Atop Spook Central (2:04). Concluding this supplemental package are 1080p trailers for The Da Vinci Code Extended Cut, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Men in Black, Fired Up!, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, So I Married an Axe Murderer, and You Don't Mess With the Zohan
Ghostbusters Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Smartly written and perfectly played, Ghostbusters remains a seminal work in the Comedy genre. Intertwining deadly-serious overtones with lighthearted fun, the film manages to take absurd material and craft it into an exciting and side-splitting Paranormal Comedy featuring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis at the very top of their games. Also enjoying fine performances from Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, and William Atherton, Ghostbusters hasn't aged a day in its quarter-century of existence, the material remaining as fresh and funny as the day it premiered in theaters. Sony's Blu-ray release does the film justice. Sporting a true-to-the-source 1080p video transfer, a solid lossless soundtrack, and plenty of bonus materials, Ghostbusters comes highly recommended.
Ghostbusters: Other Editions
Ghostbusters Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Ghostbusters Returning to Theaters in October (Updated) - September 22, 2011
The official Ghostbusters Facebook page revealed today that 1984 paranormal comedy may be on its way back to theaters. While no specifics we're given, a trailer was posted that revealed the film will see a theatrical re-release sometime in October.
• Today on Blu-ray - June 16th - June 16, 2009
The 1980's were saturated with comedies featuring Saturday Night Live cast members, but few managed to have the same success as the film being released on Blu-ray today - 'Ghostbusters'. After pulling in over $200M at the domestic box office, the franchise spurred ...
• Ghostbusters Promotion Launches, Including BD Premiere - May 27, 2009
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has launched an all-out promotional campaign for the Blu-ray release of 'Ghostbusters', due out on June 16. The campaign includes a Blu-ray premiere screening, an invitation to submit BD-Live content, a sweepstake for tickets for ...
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