Ghostbusters appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the movie looked terrific.
Sharpness excelled. If any signs of softness occurred, I didn’t see it, as I thought the film consistently displayed tight, precise visuals. No signs of moiré effects or jagged edges appeared, and I witnessed no print flaws.
To the surprise of no one, the film emphasized the usual orange and teal palette. The various supernatural elements allowed for other hues at times, but orange and teal dominated – and they looked fine within the stylistic constraints. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows offered smooth, clear visuals. I felt wholly impressed by this stellar presentation.
One unusual aspect of the image: a replication of the film’s IMAX version, this Blu-ray let some components literally escape the frame. Ghosts, slime and proton rays would sometimes burst out of the 2.39:1 box and fill the “dead space” on my TV. A short portion of the climax also opened up the frame to fill my 1.78:1 set ala the IMAX shots for movies like Interstellar and Star Trek: Into Darkness.
This became a fun addition to the movie. The manner in which the visuals go beyond the standard frame made them more exciting and fun – especially during the film’s 3D version, but more about that later.
Just as good as the picture, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack added a lot of pizzazz to the package. With so much supernatural havoc, the soundscape enjoyed a slew of chances to come to life, and it did so well.
Ghosts and related elements filled the room and zoomed around the spectrum in a vivid, well-integrated manner. Everything connected together in a fluid manner that formed an engrossing circumstance.
Audio quality also succeeded. Music was bold and full, while speech seemed concise and well-rendered. Effects appeared accurate and dynamic, with terrific low-end. I loved this exciting soundtrack.
One auditory disappointment: Sony gave the movie a Dolby Atmos presentation for its 4K UHD release. The “standard” 2D Blu-ray and the 3D version lacked the Atmos track – and I have no idea why, as I can’t think of any logical reason the Atmos mix only appeared on the 4K disc.
The set’s extras reside on the 2D disc, and there we find two versions of the film. In addition to the theatrical edition (1:56:34), we also find an extended cut (2:13:44).
How do the two differ? The changes mostly revolve around short additions to existing scenes, as many of these add little jokes.
A few more substantial alterations take place, though, with the biggest connected to Erin’s co-worker/boyfriend Phil. In the theatrical cut, we see no signs of Phil at all, but he plays a moderate role in the extended version.
One other scene shows Rowan at work – and the burgeoning impact of the ghosts – while another lets us see Abby and Erin as they relive their shared past. The only other minor excised plotline includes a skeptic who harasses Erin – and the aftermath when she punches him.
As a fan of the film, I’m happy to see these scenes, but I’d be hard-pressed to cite any that truly add to the movie. On their own, they’re fun, but I don’t think they improve the film.
The “Extended Cut” scenes give us an enjoyable alternate version but not one that acts as anything other than a minor curiosity. While I liked my time with the longer version, I’d probably prefer to watch the theatrical edition in the future.
The package provides two audio commentaries, and the first involves writer/director Paul Feig and writer Katie Dippold. They sit together for a running, screen-specific discussion of story/character areas, visual and practical effects, cast and performances, editing and changes for the Extended Cut, sets and locations, music, stunts and actions, and related domains.
Expect a nice production overview here. As expected, Feig and Dippold emphasize story/character issues, but they also touch on a good variety of additional topics, and they do so with charm and ebullience. This ends up as an informative and enjoyable chat.
For the second commentary, we hear from Feig, editor Brent White, producer Jessie Henderson, production designer Jeff Sage, visual effects supervisor Pete Travers and special effects supervisor Mark Hawker. All sit together for another running, screen-specific look at various effects, sets, locations and production design, editing, cinematography and similar technical topics.
Though not as peppy as the Feig/Dippold chat, this track still offers a good overview of the movie’s nuts and bolts. Yeah, it drags a little at times – Feig even starts to sound desperate for content about halfway through the film – but the commentary gives us more than enough useful material to merit a listen.
Two Gag Reels run a total of 15 minutes, 29 seconds. These mostly offer the usual goofs and giggles, but some alternate lines appear as well. Those give it extra value.
Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of nine minutes, 22 seconds. We see “Past Lives” (1:56), “The Big Test” (0:42), “The Breakup” (6:20) and “Where Are You?” (0:24).
As those running times imply, “Breakup” offers the most significant of the four clips. It depicts a rift in the Ghostbusters team, as Abby and Erin bicker. It offers an interesting detour – and a short cameo from Michael Hitchcock – but I think it would’ve slowed down the film if included.
The other three bits give us entertaining material as well. “Past Lives” delivers more background about the Abby/Eric relationship, while the other two throw in minor expository beats. All seem enjoyable but inconsequential.
11 Extended/Alternate Scenes take up a total of 21 minutes, 14 seconds. Some of these address sequences from the movie’s Extended Cut – like our intro to Erin’s boyfriend – but most stem from material in the theatrical version.
As with the deleted scenes, the extended/alternate pieces offer more amusement but nothing I’d call significant. Still, laughs result, and that’s about all I can ask.
With Jokes a Plenty, we locate a 34-minute, 30-second collection with six different reels. These offer alternate lines from various points in the movie. A great deal of entertainment results.
During the eight-minute, four-second Meet the Team, we hear from Feig and actors Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. “Team” looks at characters, cast and performances. I like some of the behind the scenes footage but the interviews don’t add a lot.
Next comes The Ghosts of Ghostbusters. It goes for 13 minutes, 57 seconds and includes Feig, Travers, Dippold, McCarthy, Jones, costume designer Jeffrey Kurland, actor Steve Bannos and stunt mannequin Jen Harris. As implied by the title, this piece tells us about the design and execution of some of the movie’s ghosts. It proves to be pretty informative and works much better than “Team”.
In the 15-minute, 16-second Visual Effects: 30 Years Later, we find info from Feig, Travers, Wiig, Sage, Dippold, producer Ivan Reitman, gaffer John Vecchio, prop master Kirk Corwin, and drone operator Tim Walkey. Like the title states, this one looks at various forms of effects used for the film. It echoes “Ghosts” to become another educational featurette.
Slime Time lasts five minutes, 15 seconds and features Wiig, Jones, Hawker, and special effects technician Robert Caban. Here we learn how about the movie’s green goo. It’s not the most substantial piece but it comes with some good thoughts.
For the final featurette, Chris Hemsworth Is ‘Kevin’ occupies seven minutes, 42 seconds and brings us Jones, McKinnon, Wiig, Feig, McCarthy, stunt coordinator Walter Garcia, and actor Chris Hemsworth. This tells us about Hemsworth’s work on the film. The interview comments tend to be fluffy but I like the smattering of improv moments.
The disc also provides a Photo Gallery. It presents 85 images that let us see various forms of concept art. It becomes a surprisingly solid collection.
The 2D disc opens with ads for The Shallows, The Magnificent Seven, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Inferno. No trailer for Ghostbusters appears here.
This package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Ghostbusters. The picture comments above address the 2D edition, but I also want to talk about the 3D image.
In terms of visual quality, the 3D picture seemed almost as strong as its 2D counterpart. It gave us a slight decline in sharpness and brightness, but these were minor and not nearly as pronounced as sometimes is the case with 3D Blu-rays. While not quite as solid a visual presentation, the 3D image still looked very good.
When it came to 3D impact, the movie excelled. With all the action and supernatural material, the film boasted plenty of moments that allowed the footage to leap out of the screen, and these instances added a lot of fun and pep to the proceedings.
As mentioned earlier, the movie used the “dead space” outside of the 2.39:1 image to let ghosts/slime/other effects jump out of the frame. While this worked for the 2D presentation, it fared much better for the 3D presentation, as the 3D imaging added impact.
I hope other films use this technique, as the “box-busting” use of 3D really became a blast. In the future, I’ll go with the 3D version of the film because it’s just so delightful.
A third disc presents a 4K UltraHD version of Ghostbusters. Will I go 4K UHD someday? Yes. Has that happened yet? No. Do I want to mention the disc’s presence here – sure!
Footnote: the 3D disc provides only the theatrical cut of the film, whereas the 4K platter includes only the extended version.
Ignore all the negative hype about 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot and you’ll find an enjoyable film. A nice mix of action, comedy and horror, the movie may not match with its predecessor but it succeeds in its own right. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and audio along with a nice allotment of bonus materials. Give Ghostbusters 2016 a shot and I suspect you’ll like it.