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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 15 June 2009

University parapsychologists Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stanz and Dr. Egon Spengler lose a research grant when their experiment methodology is proven to be bogus. The team decides to go into business for themselves and open ‘Ghostbusters,’ a ghost removal service. After struggling to get on their feet, they are summoned to investigate the strange happenings in Dana Barrett’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 people of a certain age Ghostbusters (1984) wasn't just a movie, it was major event in their lives. Even those that didn't go to see the film can't have escaped its passing - the merchandise was everywhere. I was fourteen when this was released in cinemas and loved it. While I was well aware that this was just a summer blockbuster which allowed you to turn off your brain for its duration, the movie had a charm that guaranteed it was an instant hit.

Revisiting this 25 years later is a little disappointing. The visual effect haven't stood the test of time in quite the same way that films like Back to the Future (1985) have. Equally the story hasn't aged as gracefully as I'd expected. Sure, it's still an entertaining enough film, but I'm not so sure how well it will be received by those who have never seen it before.

The extras are pretty run-of-the-mill, with the majority having been released before on DVD.

New to the Blu-ray release we get Blu-Wizard (a play list of features by topic which allows you to pick which areas you are interested in. Then, when you play the movie, at the relevant time the features interrupt the movie to give you more background information); Slimer Mode (picture in picture extra that plays during the movie); Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car (15 min, 37 sec look at the restoration of the Ecto-1 which went on the road to promote the launch of the new video game; Making of Ghostbusters - The Video Game (11 min, 18 sec. This is basically an advert for the new console game. Got to admit that it looks interesting, though); Ghostbusters Garage: Ecto-1 Gallery (5 min, 27 sec picture gallery of the restoration of the car); and Ghostbusters - The Video Game Preview (1 min, 43 sec trailer for the new game).

Additional extras, which have been released before, include audio commentary with Ivan Reitman (director), Harold Ramis (writer / actor) and Joe Medjuck (associate producer). This is pretty dull, but there are a few nuggets of interesting information hidden away including the fact that John Candy was originally going to play Louis Tully, Reitman's short story about having to fire an extra, and how William Atherton's life has been haunted by playing Walter Peck. We also get Scene Cemetery (a collection of scenes cut from the finished movie); 1984 featurette (9 min, 43 sec); Cast and Crew Featurette (10 min, 53 sec); SFX Team Feature (15 min, 22 sec); Multi-angle Featurettes (3 x multi-angle scenes that allow you to flip between the rough effects cut and finished scene); and Storyboard Comparison (3 x picture in picture scenes that show the finished material as well as the storyboard).

One annoying aspect about the old features is the insistence on displaying a warning notice about the poor picture and sound quality of the source material. This was particularly frustrating in the Scene Cemetery feature - as it is displayed before every scene.

As I've said numerous times in the past about other Blu-ray releases of older movies... if you already own this on DVD then there seems little point in picking this up on Blu-ray - unless you have a huge HD TV. The quality of the DVD release will suffice for most people's viewing pleasure, and it's not as though this is one of the best movies on the planet.

Fun and great, from a nostalgic point of view, but would I spend £20 on this? Probably not.


Darren Rea

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