This Ghostbusters two-film set is not perfect but it’s pretty close with a decent selection of bonus material, though the MST3K-style commentary is still only a DVD exclusive but the audio and video transfers for both films are great. Given the low SRP, this is a set worth picking up if only to have it in one package.
Ghostbusters 1 and 2
Genre(s): Supernatural, Comedy
Sony | PG – 105 min. / 108 min. – $26.99 | September 16, 2014
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Ghostbusters (1984) — 4.5/5
When kooky spooky college professors Peter Venkman (BILL MURRAY), Ray Stantz (DAN AYKROYD) and Egon Spengler (HAROLD RAMIS) lose their university jobs, they decide to go freelance, de-haunting New York City with a new ghost removal service. As soon as they open their doors, their first order of business becomes saving beautiful cellist Dana Barrett (SIGOURNEY WEAVER) and nerdy Louis Tully (RICK MORANIS), who’ve inadvertently opened the gates of hell… right in their own apartment building!
Quick Hit Review (copied from previous reviews): If you look through the course of cinematic history, there are only a few movies that not only hold up but also transcend generations of movie-goers. Ghostbusters is such a film and one that I’ve seen more times than I can count throughout the years and it still is as funny and action-packed as the last time. It is the perfect storm of movies: a great ensemble with each cast member providing something different to the table; a dynamic story with thrills around every corner; a tight screenplay with comedy that never falters; and the special effects even for 1984 is still quite impressive during a time when visual effects companies get closer to using CGI humans (see: Terminator: Salvation).
It would be tough to pinpoint the film’s success. One could argue that without Bill Murray’s sarcastic and witty humor, the film would not be the same. True. How about Dan Aykroyd’s geeky enthusiasm that bounces off of Murray’s persona? Or what about Harold Ramis’ scientific wit and dry humor? This isn’t to forget the sweetness that is Sigourney Weaver who, at the time, reached stardom with Alien (1979). Even Rick Moranis as the annoying neighbor was a great addition. Fact is, without the sum of these parts, Ghostbusters would not be the same. No Bill Murray would be the equivalent of no Marlon Brando in The Godfather or no Robert De Niro in Raging Bull.
Only a handful of movies can be said to have the ingredients to produce a classic and Ghostbusters is right up there with the bunch. No, technically speaking it’s not better than The Godfather and the like, but it deserves to be in the mix. This is not just a movie that holds up for nostalgia’s sake and instead it stands on its own as a damn good movie and even with its lesser sequel, it’s a franchise that people of all ages still have interest in (thus why a Ghostbusters III feature will come, and with most of the original cast).
If you haven’t seen it in years, get the disc and watch it tonight. After 30 years, this film still holds up more so than the majority of movies today and its one even kids can enjoy without realizing it’s merely another ‘old’ movie. It’s a fun movie that will be around for another 25 years and beyond, and deservedly so.
Ghostbusters II (1989) — 3.0/5
It’s a fine time for slime-time when Doctors Venkman (MURRAY), Stantz (AYKROYD) and Spengler (RAMIS) regroup to nuke the spooks. Sidelined after their spectacular save of New York City five years ago, the heroes of the hereafter once again answer the call when an underground river of ghoulish goo threatens to rot The Big Apple to the core. Dana Barrett (WEAVER), Louis (MORANIS), Winston (ERNIE HUDSON) and Janine (ANNIE POTTS) are all back for the ride as these supernatural superstars swing back into action.
Quick Hit Review: Not even remotely close to being as good as the first, Ghostbusters II was a cash-grab, as most sequels are anyway, and made the studio a bundle of money back in 1989. The comedy isn’t as sharp and the story itself is kind of lazy, not to mention a bit ridiculous that it takes place five years later and yet the Ghostbusters are apparently a has-been and nearly broke. Having said that, there are a couple good scenes such as the one in the courtroom and seeing the fellas back together again is a treat, but otherwise it’s just an average film with some half-decent visual and special effects.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5
The two-disc set comes housed in a digibook packaging with pages on the plot, along with pictures, from both movies.
Ghostbusters — 4.25/5
** NEW FEATURES **
Who You Gonna Call: A Ghostbusters Retrospective (24:01) is the most substantial feature with Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd taking us back to making the movie and how it has held up over the years.
Alternate TV Takes (1:31) is a collection of different takes made for television.
Gallery 1988: Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Print Collection has poster artwork from around the world.
Music Video (4:19) for the classic Ray Parker Jr. theme song.
Theatrical Trailer (2:15)
** OLD FEATURES **
Commentary with Producer/Director Ivan Reitman, Co-Writer/Actor Harold Ramis & Associate Producer Joe Medjuck is a fun track with a bunch of stories on how the concept began and shooting the movie.
Slimer Mode – This is a Picture-in-Picture and pop-up trivia track that runs with the movie where you can watch info about the movie. Not sure how new the video stuff is (it’s possible), but this is a pretty cool feature to get all the info you want while watching the movie.
Next up are four featurettes: 1984 Featurette (9:45), Cast & Crew Featurette (10:53), SFX Featurette (15:22) and 3 Multi-Angle Featurettes (Spook Central Exploding, She’s a Dog, Crossing the Streams). All these featurettes while rough around the edges are fairly interesting even if it’s EPK-like material.
Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car (15:37) profiles the amazing car from the film and shows a shop restoring the car to its pristine condition in preparation for the video game.
Ghostbusters Garage: Ecto-1 Gallery (5:27) is just some still photos of the vehicle in its roughest shape to complete restoration.
Scene Cemetery (10:40) – 10 scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut were mostly filler that weren’t needed.
Last up are storyboard comparisons.
Ghostbusters II — 2.0/5
All features here are brand new or never-before-released.
Time is But a Window: Ghostbusters II and Beyond (16:16) delves into the sequel and how it stacks up with the original and the overall legacy of the franchise.
Scene Cemetary (7:27) includes 7 scenes ultimately cut out for whatever reason. They’re nice to finally see but unnecessary to be in the final cut.
Music Video (4:36) for “On Our Own” by Bobby Brown, a song I actually don’t mind. Course, doesn’t hold a candle to the theme…
Original Trailers (6:06) includes the Teaser and two Theatrical Trailers.
VIDEO – 4.25/5
Ghostbusters — 4.25/5
Sony releases Ghostbusters with this “Mastered in 4K” series, ported over for this release, on Blu-ray presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p high-def transfer. Unlike the first go-around on Blu-ray which receives a subpar transfer some believe culled from the 2005 DVD edition, this one seems more natural and not as overblown in places where you can see elements more clearly by comparison. The skin tones still don’t look exactly right but the amount of grain is more evenly distributed and gives off something more natural and film like.
Ghostbusters II — 4.5/5
The sequel gets a brand spanking new 4K transfer and much like the first movie, this one looks quite good. The 1080p high-definition transfer has some sharp detail levels and colors appear to be well balanced throughout. It still shows its age some but at the same time, it looks clean and free of artifacting and pixilation.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
Ghostbusters — 4.0/5
The disc receives a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, previous release was Dolby TrueHD, and it’s more or less the same with good low levels, crisp and clear dialogue levels and the music and score has a particular pop making use of each channel. It’s not a fantastic lossless track but perfectly acceptable and no doubt has never sounded better.
Ghostbusters II — 4.0/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track sounds pretty darn good showing off clear dialogue, some nice depth with the more action-oriented scenes and the score, once again, provides the most all around vibrancy to the lossless track.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, this Ghostbusters two-film set is not perfect but it’s pretty close with a decent selection of bonus material, though the MST3K-style commentary is still only a DVD exclusive but the audio and video transfers for both films are great. Given the low SRP, this is a set worth picking up if only to have it in one package.