Collector's Series DVD
It'll Make You a
by Jim Bray
Home Video's spectacular release of "Ghostbusters" shows just
how good a DVD can be.
As with other studios'
special DVD's it's chock full of extras and has been lovingly remastered
and transferred into the digital medium - including a conversion of the
original Dolby soundtrack into Dolby Digital.
Starring Bill Murray,
Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Sigourney Weaver, Ghostbusters updates
the old Abbot and Costello schtick of combining monsters and mayhem with
comedy and state of the art production values. Released in 1984, the film
is one of the top grossing comedies of all time.
The movie tells of
a group of flakey scientists who set up a professional "paranormal
exterminator" service - just in time for all Hell to break loose
in New York City, threatening to rock the Big Apple to its core.
I've never been a
big fan of "Ghostbusters," but this DVD is so outstanding that
fans of the format should run out and buy it so they can have an example
of how great DVD can be when properly exploited.
As a DVD, "Ghostbusters"
breaks new ground. Sure, it has the usual extras of chapter stops and
pretty, interactive menus. Add to that such "special edition"
features as storyboards, production photos, conceptual drawings, and deleted
scenes and you're starting to get a pretty good disc. But it doesn't stop
You get play by play
commentary by director Reitman, co-writer/star Ramis, and producer Joe
Medjuk - but not your ordinary commentary. Columbia Tristar actually filmed
the backs of these guys in a screening room, and on a couple of the subtitle
tracks you can see their heads and shoulders in silhouette as they reminisce
about the film - periodically gesturing toward the screen to point out
elements they're illustrating (like where a particular matte painting
begins, for example). It's a wonderful idea and I hope to see it repeated
on more discs. Oh, you can also listen to the commentary without their
heads taking up part of the widescreen image.
Another subtitle track
contains the text from the book "The Making of Ghostbusters"
by Don Shay, and gives you a "running commentary" of notes and
anecdotes about the movie.
And that still isn't
There are three separate
documentaries, one from 1984 and two contemporary ones - one featuring
Ramis, Aykroyd and Reitman talking about the film and its effect on their
careers and another that stars the original visual effects team. You can
also compare storyboard illustrations with their eventual filmed versions.
Best of all for the
DVD medium, Columbia Tristar makes use of the normally ignored "Angle"
feature. What they do is show you three of the films SFX sequences and
let you switch between the final version and the "pre-effects"
shot using the angle button. It's another wonderful feature. Please give
And that still isn't
There are three still
photo galleries, ten deleted scenes and DVD-ROM capabilities that include
cast and crew information with Web hyperlinks and the original final shooting
script. The DVD section also includes four trailers, from both Ghostbusters
movies, Stripes, and Groundhog Day.
There's even a decent
set of liner notes in the package itself, as well as a chapter listing.
Picture and sound?
Oh yeah, these are also lovingly restored and remastered, and the widescreen
presentation looks and sounds as if it were shot yesterday.
So while Ghostbusters
may not be my idea of a laugh riot, it's definitely my idea of a great
DVD - and I recommend it highly.
Bravo, Columbia Tristar!
Series, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
107 minutes, widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital
starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Rick
Moranis, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts
Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis,
Produced and Directed by Ivan Reitman
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