Back in the days I used to fashion myself as a pretty big Ghostbusters fan. I lost count how many times I seen the original back in the 80’s, but I can honestly attest to only seeing the second film once. We all know how bad that film is so I won’t even go there. Needless to say a third Ghostbusters film has been rumored to be in the works now for decades. Did they need a third Ghostbusters film? Of course they did not, but you can’t keep a good cash cow down forever. Sooner or later it’s going to rear its ugly head, hence this year’s Independence Day: Resurgence. So that’s where things get interesting. I was convinced that this reboot of the “franchise” was going to suck hard based on my animosity towards the film’s first trailer, but a recent visit with the original Ghostbusters on 4K UHD Blu-ray made me think otherwise. This 2016 entry is an absolute blast!
So like I was saying, I became like a kid in a candy store with 4K UHD titles when I recently acquired these goodies here. I bought every 4K UHD Blu-ray title I could muster the courage to watch, hence why titles like The Smurfs, Gods of Egypt and Ghostbusters II 4K Blu-ray titles still sit on the retails shelves. Obviously, the original Ghostbusters film was one of the first 4K Blu-ray titles that I picked up the day it was released after reading raving reviews of its audio and video presentations, and quite honestly never owning it on the now 10-year-old Blu-ray format before. Well, I’m not sure how you can rave about the shoddy 1980’s special effects and grainy mess of a picture it is, although I’m not complaining as a purist given its age, but I can’t argue with how good it sounds. But that’s all besides the point. The point is, and I hate to admit this and I really mean no disrespect to all the legions of fans out there, but it’s actually a bad movie when you break it all down in my opinion. How did I think it was good all these years? It’s quite awful when you really think about it and try to watch it all these years later. And the worst part about it all is I feel awful even saying and admitting all this. What the hell is wrong with me?
Besides the shoddy special effects, which the snob in me wish George Lucas could have been involved and cleaned up in Ghostbusters for that June 4K Blu-ray release, I have problems with the story. It all feels rushed and undeveloped to me. Take for example the following scenario. One of the men mention they have money after the library haunting. The next thing you know they have all this gear and Ghostbusters swag. Part of the fun of these origin films, which I have come to know and love in modern day cinema is all the trials and tribulations they go through in devising gadgets to fight opponents with, you know…the fun and games of Act 2. It’s just not there for me in the original Ghostbusters. Couple with the fact that the movie tries to resolve itself so fast by rushing into the Third Act, the whole thing just feels sloppy and disjointed in my opinion. This is why, despite the fact that I am not a Melissa McCarthy fan by any means, I relinquished all my fear of this female-driven 2016 reboot and basically hoped for something better than the original film. Did I get it? Whoa! Let’s go over the basics first, partner.
So make no mistake about it, Ghostbusters is sadly a complete reboot of the franchise. There’s no continuity whatsoever besides rehashed versions of classic ghosts and cameos if those count. The film is directed by Paul Feig off a script by him and Katie Dippold. In addition to McCarthy, the reboot stars the likes of Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones rounding out the female ghost-catchers while we are also treated to Charles Dance, Chris Hemsworth and Michael Kenneth Williams. Also, sad but so very true, there’s an “updated” version of the Ghostbusters theme song by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott and it grows on you, but it’s not magical like the original one. You still with me? Okay, good!
Now I know this is going to sound bad and I don’t know how else to say it, but the best part of this Ghostbusters reboot were the ending credits. Ha! I know what you’re thinking, the movie sucks and this grumpy, old critic is just saying that because seeing the credits finally roll meant the end of his suffering, misery and pain. Not so! It’s not that far fetched to think, but instead the credits thrill me. They have spunk, energy, F-U-N and charisma, that with the exception of Kate McKinnon’s character, I wish the rest of the movie carried heavily throughout (although it mostly does). While there’s plenty to like about this 2016 effort, there’s also a good amount of moments you just wished they did differently or they could have upped the ante in some way, “shape” or form. The only thing I do know with 100% certainty is hot damn these credits still rock after multiple viewings and so does the delivery of Kate McKinnon’s jokes. There’s always Kevin (Hemsworth) too! He’s a frickin’ hoot to behold!
Now before I talk about what worked and what didn’t for me, let’s take a step back and chat about what the film’s all about first. Don’t worry I’m not going to divulge any plot secrets or spoil any of the cameos, although some of them were my favorite moments here, but I digress. Our story starts off with Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) who’s up for prestigious tenure at her college, Columbia University, but a secret from the past pops up and threatens to ruin all she has been working so hard to achieve. It’s a book, and it’s not regarded highly by academia because of its ludicrous subject matter. It’s a book about ghosts being real she wrote many years ago with high school friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). However, when ghosts invade Manhattan, somehow (remember I wont tell you the why or how in this review) Gilbert reunites with Yates and teams up with nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon), who adorably steals the show from all her other co-stars, and subway worker, Patty (Leslie Jones) to tackle and stop a pretty straight forward villain. I say straight forward because this is no SVU or Criminal Minds episode. The villain is shown pretty much right away and there’s not too much at all to his diabolical plan, but you’ll see!
Like I said up above, it’s SNL‘s McKinnon who steals the show here. Her unexpected weirdness and goofiness was a fine tuned mixture of both fun and lightheartedness and I completely forgot McCarthy or any of her usual, limited shenanigans were in this. It must have been hard for her to be in a feature where she wasn’t allowed to continuously curse. Ha! While the main gist of the story is very mediocre and nothing to write home about to tell your 70-year-old parents to see this one immediately before they die, at least the promise of adventure is there, the Bridesmaids-like chemistry was there. The comedy is also strong enough at times to keep me in the game despite the feature pretty much running out of gas midpoint with only a mild, comical whiff of death near the end. However, let’s face it, this one did do something right that the first Ghostbusters film failed miserably at. It gave me a 100% satisfying origin story and more time to bond with the team before I was thrust into the actual “ghost-busting.” It even gave us a chance to see McKinnon shine as the quirky developer of all these toys they use to fight ghosts. She actually invents stuff in this film and you see it go down onscreen. Can you believe it? You can’t say the first Ghostbusters did that at all. Haha. The effects were top notch too. You can’t see it, but I typed that one with a straight face compared to those atrocious dogs on the 4K version of the original film.
Last but not least, I did mention the cameos up above too. Rest assured you will get your quota of them throughout here, but there’s nothing really gratuitous. They all exist for one reason or another and as much as I thought I was going to hate them, I very much appreciate them. Quite honestly, much also to my surprise, the mighty Thor (Hemsworth), was also quite the scene stealer as the team’s male, very “blonde” secretary, Kevin. The things that came out of his mouth have me in stitches at times. And that’s where this Ghostbusters film shines. It’s the laughs, not the scares, that makes me want more despite the mediocrity of it all. I’ll also settle for more of those get out of your seat, booty shaking ending credits please. What a rousing good time! Watch after the credits finish rolling too. There’s more of the movie there. It just sucks we may never see a sequel. Dammit.
Speaking of there being more of the movie…I’m not sure if you noticed, but this one’s titled Ghostbusters: Answer The Call Extended Edition. When you’re done tackling the disc’s A/V vitals below cruise on down to the Extras section to learn more about this “extended” edition of the film.
The 4K Ultra HD features four times the resolution of high definition, high dynamic range (HDR)–which produces brilliant highlights, vibrant colors and greater contrast on compatible displays. The below video score and relative comments are based upon my viewings of the 4K Ultra HD, 3D and 1080p Blu-ray presentations of Ghostbusters: Answer The Call Extended Edition. All three of them look equally fantastic and I call out any and all comparisons of each presentation down below (Blu-ray 3D only comments are in red and the 1080p Blu-ray specific markers are in blue).
- Encoding: HEVC / H.265
- Resolution: 4K (2160p)
- Layers: BD-66
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 – This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release (across all 3 included discs) has been customized to give the ultimate in-home viewing experience. Using a dynamic frame break effect, you will see proton streams and ghosts leap off the screen! I have to tell you folks that this is the most incredible part of this whole release. Slime, ghosts, proton energy beams and more completely disregard the black letterbox aspect ratio bars for a three-dimensional experience like I have never seen on any home media format. This is all without any glasses too. It literally breaks the laws of physics how incredible and sensational this one looks!
- Clarity/Detail: Now let’s talk about the sharpness and detail in everything here. It’s impeccable on this 4K presentation and with the exception of the wide color gamut that’s the main difference here between its Blu-ray counterpart. Detail is everywhere you look from the textures and intricacies in the sets, buildings, wood grain, clothing, rust on door, strands of hair and the various tech gear to the fine print that is readable on the smallest of equipment and signs to the largest of whiteboards. The Blu-ray is reference in quality, but just a tad lesser in detail compared to the 4K presentation. However, that’s to be expected.
- Depth: Because of the crazy detail in this one the onscreen characters literally pop against the backgrounds and environments they’re placed against no matter how sharp the sets are too. Whether it’s the Blu-ray presentation or the 4K there’s always a sense of depth and weight to everything onscreen here. You have to love it! Some of the great depth of field scenes here include hallway shots, the subway track and anything out there in the city.
- 3-D: This is obviously only applicable to the separate 3-D Blu-ray disc in this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set. With the exception of Gravity, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For and some Marvel Blu-ray 3D titles this is one of the finest 3D presentations I have seen on this format in the home. Aaron Neuwirth did not lie when he bragged about the film’s use of 3D in his theatrical review over here. The presentation even goes full frame here too in a key moment like where Erin jumps into the portal to rescue Abby (for anyone that has seen this in the theaters it’s the IMAX scene at the end as it opens up to a 1.78:1 aspect ratio on the Blu-ray 3D disc). That looked absolutely fantastic with a perceived weight to everything in the swirling environment. However, let’s step back for a moment and talk about the first sliming at the mansion. I nearly jumped out of my chair when that happened as the projectile on screen came straight at me. Frickin’ brilliant! I’m in love with both this 4K presentation and 3D version equally. Everything has a clear, perceived sense of dimension, weight and depth in this one. It’s eye popping. Of course with any 3D presentation colors are a bit darker (not much here though) and fine detail gets lost in the pop of it all, but that’s to be expected. Enjoy it for all its screen popping goodness.
- Black Levels: Black levels are deep and inky throughout here with plenty of details in the shadows within the 4K Ultra HD presentation. One of the most spectacular scenes has to be the dark subway haunting, but the Final Act in the streets of NY in the dark are very spectacular too. Gotta love HDR for this reason! Tons of color and detail to go around here.
- Color Reproduction: Here’s where things are even more spectacular. This is one gorgeous 4K transfer. The wide color gamut employed here is a thing of beauty and yet the colors are still rich, bold and vibrant throughout. The neon greens, blues and pinks are orgasmic as they bounce around your TV screen with majesty. I also love how authentic looking the yellow on the NYC this look here too. The color temperatures on the 1080p disc are a tad hotter.
- Flesh Tones: The skin tones on the 4K Ultra HD presentation look natural and healthy throughout. The Blu-ray’s presentation makes the flesh tones look slightly hotter, but nothing awry.
- Noise/Artifacts: There’s light, veneer layer of grain, but other than that there’s nothing here that will ever distract or take away from your viewing experience of this. It’s as perfect as Kate McKinnon’s strange, sensual oddity is. The Blu-ray on the other hand is a bit grainier and as a result the detail is not as great as in the 4K presentation. I’m just calling it like I see it.
Your home theater will be haunted by the stunning sound design with Dolby Atmos audio, remixed specifically for the home theater environment, delivering captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and judging comments are based upon my viewings of the 4K Ultra HD, 3D and 1080p Blu-ray presentations of Ghostbusters: Answer The Call Extended Edition. It should be noted that only the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set houses the over-the-top, reference Dolby Atmos surround track. The Blu-ray 3D disc and the 1080p HD versions of the film house a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround track. They still sound dynamite with the exception of only missing the authentic height channel, which Dolby Atmos provides. We can’t win all the time, right?
- Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby True HD 7.1 compatible), English Descriptive Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Dynamics: Thanks in part to the rousing score, pumping soundtrack and onscreen action this is one of my finest 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray listening experiences this year. It has everything you want from directionality, authentic sound effects and wide, sweeping pans to loud, clear and prioritized dialogue levels guaranteeing that you’ll never miss a joke or funny moment.
- Height: Dolby Atmos moments are everywhere you look from the many slimes, ghosts taking off and swirling/hovering overhead, explosions, electrical charges, proton blasts and even a dragon ghost that gives Game of Thrones a run for its money in the dragon audio department.
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is an aggressive bully/brute in this one from the many thuds, ghosts rip-roaring, explosions, gadgets blasting, door bashings and even Kevin’s motorcycle ripping it up in the streets. Perhaps the most the most impressive use of the LFE channel here though is the weight it gives to the objects onscreen and the hefty balance and nudge it provides to the undertone of the film’s score and soundtrack.
- Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound is what immerses you and seals the deal here. From the many ghosts swirling, sliming and screaming (the 3 S’s), visual effects coming to life and exciting ghostbusting gadgets to the entrancing score, pumping soundtrack and electrical shocks this one hits you from all directions. My favorite surround sound moment here though is when the females demo the proton glove in the alley and the blast literally bounces all around you in your home media viewing area. It’s what wet dreams are made of.
- Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue throughout here is loud, clear and prioritized. I never once had any problems understanding a single spoken word. That’s paramount too as one-liners are all abound here and they will hit you when you least expect. Listen up folks! Your enjoyment depends upon it.
Proton-packed and taking the supernatural world by storm, the Ghostbusters: Answer The Call Extended Edition debuts on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack October 11th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Armed with more ghostbusting action and plenty of attitude, the new Extended Edition features more than 15 minutes of never-before-seen film footage. Yahoo! Ghostbusters: Answer The Call Extended Edition has a run time of approximately 133 minutes and is not rated where as the theatrical one clocks in at 116 minutes and is rated PG-13.
The Extended Edition 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray 3D Combo Packs come loaded with both the extended edition and theatrical versions of the film (3D Blu-ray only contains the theatrical, the 4K UHD disc contains only the Extended and the 1080p Blu-ray contains both selectable via the Play Movie option on the main menu) along with an incredible treasure trove of bonus features, including 15 deleted, extended and alternate scenes, gag reels, filmmaker commentaries, plus more than 60 additional minutes of extended and alternate scenes available via the Ultraviolet download. Five featurettes give fans an inside look at the supernatural visual effects, the “making-of” the ghosts from the film, an in-depth insight into the team’s look, attitude and weaponry, as well as the casting of Chris Hemsworth as the Ghostbusters’ new favorite receptionist. See loads of outtakes with six Jokes-A-Plenty alternate take reels and get an inside peek at how the set was slimed including a recipe to make your own slime at home! In other words folks, there’s some serious supplemental features here and I very rarely ever award a 5-doggie score to the Extras department unless its truly earned.
So without further ado let’s list below in an easy to read fashion everything you’ll find here in way of supplemental extras. The three-disc Ghostbusters: Answer The Call Extended Edition 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack includes both the 3D theatrical version of the film and a redemption code for the UltraViolet Digital Copy in addition to all of the extras below found on the 1080p Blu-ray disc. The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo Pack comes with everything below with the exception of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc.
- Gag Reels (HD, 15:29) – There are a total of two gag reels to be found here titled Gag Reel Round 1 and Gag Reel Round 2. There’s also a Play All selection for your convenience. That’s what I selected here. There’s a lot of silliness, improvising, fumbles and green screens going on here. You can tell by watching this extra that these girls really had a lot of fun filming this one. They share a lot of laughs in this one.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 9:22) – There are a total of 4 unearthed deleted scenes here: Past Lives, The Big Test, The Breakup and Where Are You? That’s not a question. LOL. That’s the name of the extra, fool! There’s also a Play All selection for your convenience. That’s what I selected here. I wasn’t too crazy about these.
- Alternate and Extended Scenes (HD, 21:14) – There are a total of 11 totally possessed alternate scenes and more than 60 minutes of additional extended and alternate scenes featured on the Ultraviolet download (you will need to redeem the code insert). The 11 scenes here are titled: Erin Walks To Class, Phil & Phyllis, The Duke, The Dean, Bennie & Erin, Protect The Barrier, The Beast of Mayhem, Casper, Visine, Where’s The Walkie and Rebecca Gorin. There’s also a Play All selection for your convenience and that’s exactly what I selected here.
- Jokes-A-Plenty (HD, 34:30) – There a total of 6 lengthy, alternate take reels here: Free For All, Holtzmann Gone Wild, The Patty Show, Kevin Unleashed, The Dean Goes Down and The Bird. There’s also a Play All selection for your convenience and once again that’s exactly what I selected here. These I like much better than the deleted and alternate scenes because I love seeing the improvisations, etc. You get the idea. My favorites here of course were the Holtzmann and Kevin ones. There are so many alternate delivered lines in this one it’s absolutely amazing and fantastic at the same time. LOL.
- Chris Hemsworth is ‘Kevin’ (HD, 7:42) – Paul and the cast all talks about how sweet it was having Chris in this film. Even Kristen says how fun Chris is and how much more comedic he is than most actors she knows. It’s interesting to learn how so much of his character came from about improvisation in this film. They focus on the hilarious interview scene in this extra and how the character really develops from there, out of improvisation of course. We are also treated to some stunt moments too.
- The Ghosts of Ghostbusters (HD, 13:57) – Paul Feig dishes on all the varieties of ghosts in this new feature outing. There were three tiers of ghosts in this film. The ones that were labeled Tier 3 are pure CG. Interesting, huh? It was really cool how these real actors were emitting light like the first one in the mansion. I honestly thought all of these ghosts were CG. Unbelievable! I learned something today! Even the mannequin ghost is real (well a Tier 2). Frickin’ unbelievable!
- Meet the Team (HD, 8:04) – Led by Paul Feig this one is all about the 4 main female cast members, their chemistry and bios of each. The female cast all chats about their own and each other’s characters. You earn a little more insight into each character via this extra.
- Visual Effects: 30 Years Later (HD, 15:16) – They talk about how the 1984 film was one of the last analog special effects movie. They show clips from it and wow what a difference. It’s literally night and day how awesome this 2016 film looks. I love how they show how they did the special effects on their proton guns when they pretend to “turn them on.” Also really cool to see how they employed a drone in the theater during the rock concert to some fancy lighting. There’s some very interesting stuff here. There’s also a lot of cool effects going on with balloons here too. It’s all quite very interesting indeed.
- Slime Time (HD, 5:15) – This is all about you guessed it the spewing and drooling of all the green slime. The crew dishes on how it’s all made, the thickness of it and the hang time when sprayed while the cast discusses how its so hard to get off. LOL. Last but not least they even give you the recipe at the very end of this extra to make your own slime at home. How cool!
- Audio Commentaries – There are two audio commentaries found on the Blu-ray disc here, a Writer & Director and a Filmmaker one. The Writer & Director commentary track features Katie Dippold and Paul Feig. The Filmmaker commentary track contains 5 department heads (an editor, producer, production designer, visual effects and special effects supervisors) along with Paul Feig. I wanted to call attention to the fact that the audio commentary tracks here both work against the Theatrical and Extended versions of the film. I sampled both of these and they are both very informative. Right from the beginning of the film Paul loves to talk and provide background on everything that’s going on. I love it! I even learned the opening wide shot of the mansion is not in NY, but in Boston. Interesting stuff, folks!
- Photo Gallery (HD)
- Previews (HD)
I thought it would be extra cool to show you down below what the discs look like in the 4K ultra HD Blu-ray set and in the standalone Blu-ray release.
It’s so worth it! Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return with Director Paul Feig’s unique and hilarious take on the classic, supernatural comedy (improving upon it and making it so much better), led by the hottest faces in comedy today, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. With reference audio and video presentations Ghostbusters is easily one of my favorite 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases of the year (with this being the first year any titles have ever been released on the new format too). There’s just so much to love about this 3-disc set that Sony is putting out. The fact that they give you the Blu-ray 3-D disc instead of making you purchase that separately is worth its weight in gold alone. Any price point below the usual $29.99 retail marking is an absolute steal for this 3-disc set as it comes highly recommended from yours truly. Haters need not reply. They’re female Ghostbusters. Get over it!
P.S. Don’t go for the Blu-ray set only, go for this 3-disc Ultra HD one. You’re both future proofing your home media collection and at the same time getting an incredible value here. Thank you Sony!
DISCLAIMER: This particular 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified A/V gear found here. Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.
The Ghostbusters: Answer the Call
Slimes 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray & 3-D
on October 11th