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 an animated series, toys, video games, and even a theme park ride. The Ghostbusters phenomenon seemed to be unstoppable, and actually still be.
Three parapsychologists from Columbia University are called to New York Public Library to investigate reports of an unexplainable disturbance. After coming face-to-face with the apparition, they return to the university, only to find that they have been kicked out for lack of results. Now out of work, the three decide to start their own company focusing on the extermination of ghosts. Business booms as paranormal activities increase in anticipation of the arrival of Gozer, a Sumerian destruction god. When the aptly named Ghostbusters are forced to exterminate him in order to save the city, they face their biggest challenge yet.
While the film summarizes like your standard horror flick, the inclusion of Murray and Aykroyd ensure that 'Ghostbusters' is anything but. The pair show amazing comedic chemistry, effortlessly playing off each others characters. Even Ramis, whose character character is the most quite and reserved of the bunch, is so well performed that "Egon" may be the most memorable character of all. The film is on AFI's Top 100 Comedies list for good reason - its a classic.
For the Blu-ray release, Sony has gone beyond the call of duty. Video, while suffering from the original shooting style, looks wonderful and true to the source. Audio is absolutely stunning, as the unforgettable theme song will rumble your chair if you are so inclined. The film may be over 20 years old, but its just as entertaining today as it ever was. A definite must own title.
Many Blu-ray owners cried foul when HBO released their highly acclaimed mini-series 'John Adams' and 'Generation Kill' on DVD last year, but neglected to issue a Blu-ray release (despite being in HD). Today, HBO rectifies that issue by releasing the two series on Blu-ray in stunning fashion. Both series benefit from wonderful high definition transfers that easily top their satellite/cable equivalents. Audio also gets a huge bump with stunning DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks.
Each series depicts very important times in US history, both for better and for worse (depending on who you ask). 'John Adams', while chronicling the life of a farmer, lawyer, and eventual president, also shows the birth of a nation. A history book may be more complete, but nearly as entertaining. 'Generation Kill' follows a group of marines as they invade Iraq in 2003. The series is an eye-opening look at not only the struggles soldiers must face in the 21st Century, but also how the military has adapted (or failed to adapt) to the changing war environment.
Back on comedy, Sony is releasing one of the greatest comedies of all time - the satirical 'Dr. Strangelove: Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'. This black-and-white film from legendary director Stanley Kubrick looks great because, thankfully, Sony has left the grain in tact. Audio too gets star treatment for those who want it, but Sony is respectfully includes the original mono track for film purist. In fact, the only fault I can find with this Blu-ray release is the forced digibook packaging which Sony seams to be copying from Warner. My absolute loathing for this packaging doesn't change with the studio label (or the film included). An easy import solves that issue, though not as easily as providing it initially.
Not laughing hard enough? Fox releases another classic comedy (yup, another one), Mel Brooks' 'Spaceballs', a comedic take on the 'Star Wars' franchise. Not only does the film feature all the comedic qualities unique to Brooks' films, but it also appeals to 'Star Wars' fans as one of the funniest takes on the George Lucas films ever created. With such a broad audience (helped by the PG rating), its no wonder this film has become such a hit on home video.
Criterion also throws their hat in the ring this week, with the Blu-ray release of Ingmar Bergman's 'The Seventh Seal'. "It is dark and notably pessimistic, questioning morality and faith in a manner few films since its release have been able to replicate. Nowadays, it is rightfully regarded as one of the greatest films of all time," Staff Reviewer Svet Atanasov remarks in his review of the disc. "This is a perfect presentation."
to Josh Dreuth (the writer of the article) If you LOATHE digibooks so much go out and buy some blank Blu-ray sleeves, print up some nice cover art, and stick the disc in, Frankly I like the digibooks and look forward to seeing the"Strangelove..." one