When I was five years old something changed my life forever. At Simon Ward’s birthday party I saw Ghostbusters for the first time, a life-long obsession began and a geek was born. I had all the toys, posters, everything, so you’ll have to forgive me if I come off a tad biased in this review.
Ghostbusters was, in many ways, the first blockbuster comedy. Starring the biggest comedy names of the day (and Ernie Hudson), the film follows three university professors as they become professional paranormal investigators and eliminators. After a run-in with a ghostly librarian, the trio are booted out of the university and forced to go it alone and put their theories to the test in the real world.
An encounter with Slimer at the Sedgwick Hotel brings the Ghostbusters to the public’s attention, and quickly finding fame, things soon get too busy for the threesome, and another Ghostbuster, Winston Zeddmore is brought on board to help out because something big is on the horizon. Real wrath of god type stuff, dog and cats living together, mass hysteria!
Released 25 years ago, Ghostbusters has been available on seemingly almost every format, from Betamax to Blu-ray, so what’s changed in this latest release?
Well, first up, the transfer to Blu-ray is great, a little grainy in places, but certainly better than previous releases, as you would expect from the format. I’m sure, as well, that I’ve noticed some differences in this version, that I’ve not seen before: the wide shot of Venkman’s entire desk when Walter Peck visits him, or the crowd outside the apartment building when Venkman arrives for his date with Dana (I don’t remember the pink haired punk girl, for example).
The most stand-out thing about the Blu-ray edition is the quality of the sound. It’s incredible. I’ve owned this film on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray and the sound mix on this is superb. Little details really stand out, like Dana Barrett humming to herself as she unpacks her shopping, or the disgusting noises Slimer makes as he slobbers his way through another meal. Elmer Bernstein’s score has never sounded better, and, of course, Ray Parker Jr’s theme is just as awesome as ever.
Extras There’s a good selection of extras, some of which, such as the SFX feature, are recycled from the DVD release. The deleted scenes from the previous DVD make another appearance, however, there’s plenty of new content, with a nice feature about the restoration of Ecto 1, together with a photo gallery of the restoration process. The pop-up video (“Slimer Mode”) is great and it’s a nice alternative to the usual audio commentary.
There’s a great looking trailer for the upcoming video game as well as, slightly oddly, a ‘making of’ for the game. I was also able to install a Ghostbusters PS3 theme from the disc, which was a nice addition. Not having access to a stand alone Blu-ray player I’m not sure how this particular feature would work on a normal player.
The disc also states that there is Blu-ray Live content, but each time I tried it, my PS3 froze and I didn’t seem to be able to access anything. I didn’t try the CineChat feature, as I don’t know anyone else with the film on this format, and to be honest, I wouldn’t want to send messages on screen to friends while trying to watch a film. I also found the Blu-wizard option a little bit clunky to use. If anything, these two particular features smack of gimmickry.
So there you have it, for my money Ghostbusters is a great Blu-ray release. The HD picture looks great, the sound quality is first rate and there’s a nice range of well put together features, although I’ll still hold on to my fuzzy, worn VHS, if only for nostalgia’s sake!
Let’s hope that Ghostbusters II gets the same treatment, unlike the vanilla DVDs that came out, and that those bloody 118 118 adverts go away before the Ghostbusters theme becomes the ‘118 118’ theme!