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Ghostbusters (Blu-ray Review)

11 Jun, 2009 By: John Latchem


Street 6/16/09
Sony Pictures
$28.95 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG’ for adult language and mild violence.
Stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson.

The 1984 classic Ghostbusters is the kind of comedy that can be watched time and again without losing a beat. The beauty of the humor is that it stems from taking a realistic approach to an absurd premise, resulting in a series of rules that gives texture to the story and draws in the audience. The film’s formula balancing of humor and a supernatural context serves as a natural precursor to later shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which would become a cult hit in its own right.

This new Blu-ray transfer offers good image quality and detail from the 25-year-old film. Film grain seems a bit excessive at the beginning but seems less prevalent as the movie continues, which may just be a factor of how effective the story is. The special effects haven’t aged well, but the imperfections only add to the supernatural flavor of the story.

The primary extra is the new Slimer Mode, which offers picture-in-picture interviews and files about the characters and ghosts seen on screen. Slimer Mode is a great tool for fans, but it’s an immersive viewing experience that can’t be toggled on or off without restarting the movie. It would have been nice to have the option to go with just the trivia track, for example, or to turn off some of the PIP featurettes.

Another new featurette shows the Ecto-1 vehicle’s restoration by Cinema Vehicle Services. The car had fallen into disrepair since its use in the films, and was refurbished for promotional purposes. The effort is highlighted by Dan Aykroyd visiting the garage and explaining the intended function of all the little gadgets on the car.

The standard-def featurettes from the previous DVDs have been ported over. The Blu Wizard setting lets viewers create a watch-list of the old featurettes to play during the movie, complete with an optional prompt that appears during the film.

Rounding out the extras is a preview of the new Atari video game, which includes the voices of most of the original cast members and has a story crafted by Aykroyd and co-star Harold Ramis, who describe it as the next-best thing to a third movie.

Here’s hoping it placates the fans long enough for the actual third film to get off the ground.

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