Ghostbusters appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the film’s second Blu-ray release, it comes as part of Sony’s “Mastered in 4K” line. What the heck does that mean? Here’s what Sony’s press release promises us:
“’Mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray releases will feature titles sourced from pristine 4K masters and presented at high-bitrate 1080p resolution, with expanded color showcasing more of the wide range of rich color contained in the original source. When upscaled via the Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs, these discs serve as an ideal way for consumers to experience near-4K picture quality. ‘Mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray Discs can be played on all existing Blu-ray Disc players.”
Old DVD fans will remember Sony’s “Superbit” program, as it came with similar promises. Superbit DVDs and “Mastered in 4K” BDs jettison all supplements to theoretically optimize picture/audio quality.
Sharpness satisfied. A few wide shots seemed a smidgen soft, but those were a minor distraction, as the majority of the movie exhibited good to great delineation. No issues with shimmering or jaggies materialized, and edge haloes remained absent. I noticed no print flaws, and the image showed light but consistent grain.
Colors were fine. The film didn’t boast a broad palette, as it preferred a tone that emphasized an “industrial gray” feel. Some brighter hues popped up on occasion, though, and the colors remained appropriate. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows showed nice delineation. This became a satisfying rendition of the movie.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Ghostbusters worked well. Ghostbusters didn’t use a tremendously broad soundfield, but it opened things up more than usual for a flick of its era.
Music showed nice stereo dimensionality, while effects spread smoothly across the front. As one might expect, the various ghost-related scenes offered the best opportunities for movement and activity, so the soundtrack provided the most action in its second half.
The surrounds added good life during those spook segments. They kicked in good reinforcement of the spirits and Ghostbuster attacks, so they became reasonably active partners in the action.
Audio quality held up well over the last 29 years. Only a smidgen of edginess ever interfered with the lines, as they usually seemed clear and concise.
Music showed good range and vivacity, and effects appeared well-rendered. The various elements showed nice definition and offered a good punch in the louder moments. Distortion wasn’t a problem, as only a little crackling ever crept through into the mix. This was a well above average track for a mid-80s flick.
How did the 2013 Blu-ray compare to the 2009 Blu-ray release of Ghostbusters? Audio was a wash, as I thought both TrueHD tracks sounded virtually identical.
Visuals were a different matter – to a mild degree, at least, as the 4K disc offered modest improvements. But improve upon its predecessor it did, with slightly better definition, a more accurate sense of contrast and more natural colors. In particular, skin tones seemed superior, as they looked less gray this time. I still think the original Blu-ray looks good, but the 4K delivers a moderately more satisfying presentation.
As mentioned earlier, the 4K line of Blu-rays omits extras. That means we lose the commentary, the deleted scenes and all the other materials.
After almost 30 years, Ghostbusters remains a comedy classic. I’ve seen this movie at least 30 times over that quarter of a century. And you know what? It still makes me laugh. The Blu-ray offers very nice visuals and audio but lacks any supplements. The absence of the old bonus features means that fans will need to keep their 2009 Blu-rays, but those who want the highest-quality representation of Ghostbusters should give this 4K release a look; it’s not revelatory but it’s an improvement.
To rate this film, visit the Double Feature Gift Set Edition review of GHOSTBUSTERS