DirectorIvan Reitman, Jason Reitman
Release Date(s)1984, 1989, 2021 (February 1, 2022)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: See Below
- Video Grade: See Below
- Audio Grade: See Below
- Extras Grade: A
- Overall Grade: A-
Not much needs to be said that hasn’t been said already about the Ghostbusters franchise, particularly the original film. This simple concept about a group of men in New York City who work—like firemen—to catch ghosts and ultimately save the world was hugely successful, both in its execution and at the 1984 box office, going up against films like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the latter of which had opened two weeks prior. It became a pop culture phenomenon, spawning t-shirts, toys, a breakfast cereal, and an excellent Saturday morning cartoon series.
Ghostbusters, as many have noted, was like lightning in a bottle. The film had a very short production window and hit theaters before it was even finished. The screenwriting of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, with assistance by Ivan Reitman (and a very valuable amount of time in the editing room, as short as it was), produced a film in which the stars aligned just right for success. The combined onscreen draw of Bill Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, and Rick Moranis (among others)—many of whom had collaborated before—proved to be box office gold. Though the film is held together by duct tape, it’s remains a classic comedy that still works nearly forty years later.
The sequel, Ghostbusters II, opened amid a crowded 1989 release schedule that included Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and of course Batman. The film essentially replays many of the original’s beats and story points, making it feel like a step backward at the time instead of forward. Regardless, there are moments and performances worth appreciating, including newcomer Peter MacNicol, who steals every scene that he’s in. Ghostbusters II was a financial success, with a huge marketing campaign behind it, but it was not as well-received as its predecessor by both critics and audiences. Even so, fans continue to defend its strong points to this day, and rightfully so.
For years, a third film was promised by the franchise's creators, but in 2016, a soft reboot/sequel was made instead. Ghostbusters (retroactively titled Ghostbusters: Answer the Call) attempted to move the series into a more over-the-top comedic direction, leaving behind the dry, sardonic humor of the two original films. It underperformed theatrically, mostly due to bad word-of-mouth, but the controversy surrounding its four female leads made it a hot button topic for months. It was derided by a small group of close-minded individuals on the Internet, which the film’s creators—who blamed them for its lack of success—wrongly assumed was far larger than it actually was. But no matter how one feels about the film, the franchise was on the rocks at this point, with its future uncertain, even as multiple follow-ups were discussed.
Finally in 2021, another sequel/reboot happened—this time helmed by Jason Reitman, the son of original director Ivan Reitman. Ghostbusters: Afterlife wound up a financial success during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the film’s reliance on ideas from the original, plus its abundant use of “fan service,” was criticized by critics. Despite this, it was largely well-received by fans, many of whom felt that the series had returned to its roots for an engaging film that honored the legacy of what had come before. The humor is closer in style to the original and the film brings in new likable and relatable characters, including Mckenna Grace as a nerdy young girl who discovers that there’s more to her past—and to her love of science—than she thinks. The film ignores the events of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (though Jason Reitman is on record as saying it was an inspiration in paving the way for women to be Ghostbusters) as well as Ghostbusters II, outside of Ray’s Occult Books shop. All in all, it’s a lovely film—dedicated to the late Harold Ramis—that will bring out the tears in the end, but also gives you a fun ride filled with nostalgia for the franchise.
Outside of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the other films in the series have all previously had 4K Ultra HD releases—the original two films more than once (you can find our previous 4K reviews here and here, as well as our review of the Ghostbusters 1 & 2 Blu-ray here.). To Sony’s credit, the studio keeps providing added value to each new release. In the case of this new Ultimate Collection multi-disc boxed set, they’ve gone the extra mile again. While this is technically not “ultimate” due to the absence of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (at least on disc, as well as a few other factors), it’s as close as we’ve come thus far. Each film is given its own Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc, with two additional Blu-rays stuffed with bonus content, much of it new and exclusive to this release. But let’s cover the visual and aural quality of each film first.
Ghostbusters was shot by director of photography Laszlo Kovacs on 35 mm film with Panavision cameras and anamorphic lenses, finished photochemically, and presented theatrically in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. It was scanned in 4K from the original camera negative and restored for the previous UHD presentation, which was color graded for high dynamic range in HDR10. That same image is presented here, but Sony has now added Dolby Vision as an option as well. The film’s heavy grain structure remains fully intact, with a high data rate encode and tremendous fine texturing. The depth seen in the interiors of the college office, the textures on the walls of the firehouse, and the lovely Art Deco set design of Dana’s apartment building are soaking in detail. As Ghostbusters was a rushed production, there’s a bit of wear and tear around the seems, mostly involving the visual effects. But they’re now much sharper than they appeared on the previous Blu-ray release, and retain their original appearance without any enhancements. Anything involving the Stay Puft Marshallow Man, including matte lines, transparency, and bright models against dark backgrounds, is more obvious than ever. (This is a personal preference, but I actually appreciate it not being altered in any way.) Kovacs’ wonderful cinematography is done justice here with deep blacks and detail-heavy shadows that carefully preserve the film’s shadowy lighting style. The color palette is beautifully rendered, with lush swatches of green, pink, red, and blue. Flesh tones are also ideal. The Dolby Vision grade offers additional muscle in these areas as well. The image is stable and clean with excellent contrast. Indeed, this is the definitive release of the film on the format.
The main audio options include English Dolby Atmos (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible) and English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. The inclusion of the 5.1 and original stereo soundtrack are more than welcome, though completists should note that the commentaries have been axed to make room. However, they can still be found on the accompanying Blu-ray. (I personally would have preferred that some of the alternate language audio options be nixed to include the commentaries, but nevermind.) The Atmos track is the same as the previous releases, and as Bill noted in his review of the original 4K release, it improves upon the 5.1 track by allowing the height channels to push action and ghost-driven sequences up and out for further envelopment. Elmer Bernstein’s score and the various rock and pop tunes, including Ray Parker, Jr.’s chart-busting theme song, are more dynamic in the mix. Atmospherics, particularly during the Slimer-catching sequence in the hotel, surround the stage with subtlety in the quieter moments. Dialogue exchanges are clear and precise as well. Other audio options include Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital; French, German, and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; and Polish 5.1 DTS-HD VO. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Thai, and Turkish.
GHOSTBUSTERS (FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO): A+/A/A
Ghostbusters II was shot by director of photography Michael Chapman on 35 mm film with Panavision Panaflex Gold cameras and Panavision C- and E-Series anamorphic lenses, finished photochemically, and presented theatrically in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Like Ghostbusters, Sony re-releases their previous 4K Ultra HD presentation of Ghostbusters II, which was color graded for high dynamic range in HDR10, but now includes a Dolby Vision option as well. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never found Ghostbusters II to be a particularly good-looking film. It’s always appeared bright and soft, lacking the gritty textures and shadows of the original film. It’s slicker comparatively, but less appealing visually. That said, Sony provides a more than adequate 4K presentation of the film, with deeper textures and sharper images. The visual effects unfortunately don’t blend as well in Ultra HD due to the use of optical printing, but they’re given their best opportunity for clarity here. (You can actually see the Statue of Liberty step on the gathered crowd in a wide shot.) The color palette is not as varied or interesting as its predecessor, but it still features strong uses of green, pink, and red, as well as deep blacks with great contrast and good flesh tones. The HDR10 grade aids these aspects admirably, as does the new Dolby Vision pass which pushes them that much further. The image is also stable and clean. It’s the least of the three films presented in this release image-wise, but it’s otherwise the best the film has looked on home video.
The main audio options include English Dolby Atmos (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible) and English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Again, it’s great to have the 5.1 and original stereo soundtracks, but completists should note that the commentary has been sacrificed again and can still be found on the accompanying Blu-ray. The Atmos track is, again, the same as the previous release. The height channels and the atmospherics aren’t nearly as impressive, but offer their fair share of aural support. This film is, unfortunately, not a film of subtleties and is far more brash than its predecessor. That said, everything comes through with excellent clarity, including dialogue exchanges and Randy Edleman’s orchestral score. Other audio options include French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and German, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish (Castilian), and Spanish (Latin American) Dolby Surround. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Thai, and Turkish.
GHOSTBUSTERS II (FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO): B-/B+/B
Ghostbusters: Afterlife was captured digitally by director of photography Eric Steelberg in the ARRIRAW codec (at 4.5K) using Arri Alexa LF cameras and Panavision T-Series anamorphic lenses. It was then finished as a native 4K Digital Intermediate and was presented theatrically in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Sony’s debut Ultra HD presentation is sourced from this DI, color graded for high dynamic range in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Though lacking the visual texture of celluloid, the film was composed with depth in mind as open vistas, mountainous regions, and careful placement of objects and buildings are littered within and throughout the frame. Everything appears sharp, with great clarity and definition. Blacks are deep, with excellent contrast throughout the shadowy environments at night. Daytime scenes have a warm glow, but never at the expense of color or texture. The HDR10 and Dolby Vision grades widen the spectrum in these areas, especially in the underground mines outside Summerville. Bold greens, pinks, and reds are used in abundance, and the grading brings as much detail out of the color as possible. This is a great looking presentation.
The main audio option offered is English Dolby Atmos (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible). The Atmos widens and expands the soundtrack’s capabilities and delivers a blisteringly effective track, full of nuance and subtlety. The height and surround channels are put to major use, broadening every action scene, but also giving atmospheric activity a great boost. Minor sound effects in and around the quiet dirt farm at night, as well as the loud, booming earthquake activity, are both given ample support. The lower registers rattle the windows with deep bass, and Rob Simonsen’s score, which reinterprets much of Elmer Bernstein’s score for the original film, is beautifully rendered. It’s a powerhouse track. Other audio options include English, French, and Portuguese Audio Descriptive Service; French, Spnaish, and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital; and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai.
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO): B+/A/A+
All three films are presented on separate 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs, representing six of the discs in this new Ultimate Collection. The other two discs are devoted to additional bonus materials for all three films, including a mix of brand new and vintage material. Each disc includes the following:
DISC ONE: GHOSTBUSTERS (UHD)
DISC TWO: GHOSTBUSTERS (BD)
- Audio Commentary with Eric Reich, Troy Benjamin, Chris Stewart, Ashley Victoria Robinson, and Sean Bishop
- Audio Commentary with Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis, and Joe Medjuck
- Slimer Mode: Picture-in-Picture
- Tricks & Trivia
The first audio commentary is by long-time Ghostbusters fans Eric Reich from Ghost Corps, podcasters Troy Benjamin, Chris Stewart, Ashley Victoria Robinson, and prop replica expert Sean Bishop. It’s a decent commentary, though the contributors tend to talk over each other, attempt to make jokes, and enjoy the film instead of comment on it. Occasionally information is doled out, but nothing that hasn’t been said elsewhere. The classic commentary with Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis, and Joe Medjuck is still an informative and funny listen. It’s unfortunate that technology cannot allow for the MST3K-style video portion from the original 1999 DVD release, but the commentary is still a great listen. Slimer Mode includes a picture-in-picture experience, showcasing interviews with cast and crew as the film plays. The Tricks & Trivia subtitle track offers a variety of information about the making of the film.
DISC THREE: GHOSTBUSTERS II (UHD)
DISC FOUR: GHOSTBUSTERS II (BD)
- Audio Commentary with Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, and Joe Medjuck
The new-ish audio commentary with Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, and Joe Medjuck isn’t quite as fun or revelatory as its predecessor. The three men haven’t seen the film in a while, nor do they remember quite as much about it. They provide some occasionally interesting anecdotes, but fall back into the trap of just watching the film. They also have occasional difficulty in remembering things, which isn’t necessarily a problem, but at one point, one of them refers to Bobby Brown as M.C. Hammer. Methinks a retake after the fact might have been in order.
DISC FIVE: GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (UHD)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer (HD – 2:56)
- Venom: Let There Be Carnage Trailer (HD – 2:36)
- Journal for Jordan Trailer (HD – 1:40)
- Morbius Trailer (HD – 2:47)
- Uncharted Trailer (HD – 2:25)
DISC SIX: GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (BD)
- Summoning the Spirit: Making Ghostbusters: Afterlife (HD – 19:50)
- The Gearhead’s Guide to Ghostbusters Gadgets (HD – 6:12)
- Spectral Effects: The Ghosts of Afterlife (HD – 6:29)
- Bringing Ecto-1 Back to Life (HD – 4:49)
- We Got One! Easter Eggs Revealed (HD – 7:49)
- Ghostbusters: A Look Back (HD – 10:37)
- Deleted Scene: Is It Too Late? (HD – 1:24)
- Previews (HD – 14:48)
Summoning the Spirit is a general overview of where the ideas for Ghostbusters: Afterlife came from, the story, the cast, the crew, the practical and computer-generated effects, costumes, and Harold Ramis. Gearhead’s Guide discusses the film’s many gadgets. Spectral Effects talks about the ghosts and how the effects for them were achieved. Bringing Ecto-1 Back to Life delves into the cars that had to be assembled and aged to represent the Ecto-1 in the film. We Got One! goes into the film’s many “Easter eggs” (though I’m not sure things seen in plain sight should be considered as such). Ghostbusters: A Look Back features interviews with Ivan Reitman, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts about the legacy of the original film. The Deleted Scene is fleeting as Janine brings Callie Egon’s remains. The Previews offer the same selection of trailers from the Ultra HD disc.
DISC SEVEN: BONUS DISC #1 (BD)
GHOSTBUSTERS SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Ghostbusters Preview Cut with Optional Commentary by Joe Medjuck and Sheldon Kahn (SD – 114:26)
- Reitman Squared Scene Commentary (HD – 7:35)
- Dana’s Lost Auditions: Denis Crosby (SD – 19:32)
- Dana’s Lost Auditions: Anna Jemison (SD – 6:05)
- Dana’s Lost Auditions: Kelly LeBrock (SD – 12:16)
- Dana’s Lost Auditions: Melanie Mayron (SD – 5:12)
- Dana’s Lost Auditions: Kelly McGillis (SD – 13:19)
- Dana’s Lost Auditions: Joanna Pacula (SD – 1:19)
- Dana’s Lost Auditions: Cynthia Sikes (SD – 5:40)
- Dana’s Lost Auditions: Merete Van Kemp (SD – 3:07)
- Behind Closed Doors: Ghostbusters (Upscaled HD – 88:15)
- Ghostbusters TV Version (SD – 101:49)
- Ghostbusters TV Commercial (HD – :27)
- Ghostbusters TV Commercial Outtakes (HD – 4:44)
- Scene Cemetery: Ecto-1 Parking Ticket (HD – :26)
- Scene Cemetery: Pulling Up to Fort Detmerring (HD – :47)
- Scene Cemetery: Fort Detmerring Ghost (HD – 1:41)
- Scene Cemetery: Louis Encounters Woman (HD – :37)
- Scene Cemetery: Louis Encounters Muggers (HD – :29)
- Scene Cemetery: Nobel Prize Aspirations (SD – :35)
- Scene Cemetery: Stake (SD – 1:08)
- Scene Cemetery: Dana (SD – :51)
- Scene Cemetery: Honeymooners (SD – 1:22)
- Scene Cemetery: Winston (SD – :59)
- Scene Cemetery: Bums (SD – :52)
- Scene Cemetery: Busy (SD – 1:34)
- Scene Cemetery: Promotion (SD – :42)
- Scene Cemetery: E.P.A. (SD – :27)
- Scene Cemetery: Puft Hat (SD – :37)
- Scene Cemetery: “No Louis!” (SD – :44)
- Dailies: Dana Interview (HD – 4:17)
- Dailies: Dana’s Apartment (HD – 31:16)
- Dailies: Headquarters (HD – 5:22)
- Dailies: Ballroom (HD – 12:12)
- Dailies: Central Park (HD – 5:11)
- Dailies: Keymaster (HD – 25:22)
- Dailies: Mayor’s Office (HD – 8:10)
- 1984 Showest Exhibitor Reel (HD – 12:11)
- A Moment with the Stars (SD – 15:11)
- 1984 Featurette (SD – 9:37)
- SFX Team Featurette (SD – 15:26)
- Cast and Crew Featurette (SD – 10:56)
- Alternate TV Version Takes (SD – 6 in all – 1:23)
- “Who You Gonna Call?” A Ghostbusters Retrospective (HD – 24:04)
- Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car (HD – 15:41)
- Ruth Oliver’s Library Ghost Scream Test (SD – 1:26)
- Multi-Angle Explorations: Firehouse Exploding (SD – 2:37)
- Multi-Angle Explorations: She’s a Dog (SD – 1:47)
- Multi-Angle Explorations: Crossing the Streams (SD – 1:10)
- Storyboards Comparisons: Slimer (SD – 2:05)
- Storyboards Comparisons: Dogs Drag Dana (SD – 2:01)
- Storyboards Comparisons: Atop Spook Central (SD – 1:56)
- Photo Galleries: Gallery 1988 Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Print Collection (Upscaled HD – 31 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Haunted Stacks (SD – 14 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Boys in Library (SD – 25 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Proton Charging (SD – 24 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Slimer (SD – 100 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Louis Meets Dog (SD – 26 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Bums in Park (SD – 6 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Cheeky Ghost (SD – 13 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Mink Coat (SD – 14 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Slimer Pigs Out (SD – 6 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Louis Meets Muggers (SD – 21 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Dogs Drag Dana (SD – 25 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Storyboards – Atop Spook Central (SD – 87 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Production Photos – Ghoulish Librarian (SD – 24 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Production Photos – Lovely Floating Ghost (SD – 18 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Production Photos – Production Team (SD – 4 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Production Photos – Slimer (SD – 59 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Production Photos – Spook Central (SD – 43 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Production Photos – Stay Puft Man (SD – 65 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Production Photos – Terror Dogs (SD – 72 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – Colorful Early Concept (SD – 1 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – Colorful Ecto-Mobile Interior (SD – 3 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – Early Stay Puft Man Concepts (SD – 3 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – Light Stream Chalk Drawings (SD – 19 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – Pencil Librarian Ghoul Concepts (SD – 5 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – Pencil Terror Dog Concepts (SD – 4 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – Pencil and Chalk Creature Concepts (SD – 158 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – SFX Conceptual Paintings (SD – 10 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Design Concepts – Early Logo Concepts (SD – 17 in all)
- Photo Galleries: Ghostbusters Garage – Ecto-1 Gallery (Upscaled HD – 42 in all – 5:31)
- Ghostbusters Music Video by Ray Parker, Jr. (Upscaled SD – 4:18)
- Theatrical Teaser (HD – 1:28)
- International Teaser (HD – 1:04)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:15)
- 30th Anniversary Domestic Trailer (HD – 1:26)
The preview cut of Ghostbusters, or the editor’s first cut of the film, is fascinating. It’s a low resolution, tape-sourced version of the film without any score or final visual effects, but it offers a glimpse into how the film was brought into shape—especially since the film had an extremely tight editing window prior to release. It features a plethora of alternate and extended takes, as well as many deleted scenes. It’s especially beneficial to Egon’s character as there’s much more involvement with him, including more moments between he and Janine whose romance didn’t quite blossom in the final cut. For instance, after she tells him that she’s afraid that he’s going to die and hugs him, he spouts the line “You have nice clavicles.” There’s also more extended Bill Murray antics, including another take of him exiting the ballroom at the Sedgwick Hotel. An early use of animatics is employed for the moment when the ghostly trails hover above the New York skyline after the roof of the firehouse explodes. There’s also a completely different montage in the middle of the film with all sorts of deleted material, including the Ecto-1 breaking down and leaving Egon stranded, Egon and Ray working on various machines, and the Ghostbusters’ exit from the Sedgwick surrounded by reporters. Many of the film’s known deleted scenes are in this version, but not all. It’s a shame that the original workprint couldn’t be included as well, just for comparison’s sake. A new optional audio commentary is provided featuring associate producer Joe Medjuck and editor Sheldon Kahn. It’s an excellent chat as the two men discuss this cut of the film and why it was altered, as well as their reminiscences about the making of it. They go quiet too many times, but still manage to provide plenty of valuable information.
Reitman Squared Scene Commentary features video commentary by Ivan and Jason Reitman on two scenes from the film, with Jason providing interstitials about his connection to the film and his father. It’s a shame that they didn’t do commentary on the entire film together. Dana’s Lost Auditions features audition tapes of eight other choices for the role of Dana Barrett. The most interesting alternate option might be Kelly LeBrock, which makes sense knowing that the character was originally a supermodel in the script. Behind Closed Doors is a Reelz channel TV documentary series that covers the original film and the franchise it spawned, featuring many members of the cast and crew in new and vintage interviews. The TV Version of the film as presented here is not the true original that premiered in September of 1987, but is presented full frame and features some of the alternate takes to cover for language. While Ray referring to Walter Peck as “Wally Wick” instead of “dickless” is intact, Venkman coming out of the ballroom and announcing “What a knockabout of pure fun that was!” is replaced with the theatrical’s “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!” line. One can only assume that this is a later TV version that reflects the changing of what could and couldn’t be said on TV at the time.
Next is the TV commercial for the Ghostbusters’ business as seen in the film, as well as a series of outtakes from shooting that commercial. Scene Cemetery gathers together 16 deleted scenes from all of the film’s Laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD releases over the years. New to this release are a set of Dailies covering seven scenes from the film, which are equally fascinating. They offer multiple takes from multiple angles, and keen eyes can spot which takes were selected and trimmed for the final film. A Moment with the Stars is a vintage EPK featurette used for promotional purposes featuring interviews with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, and Ivan Reitman. The 1984 Featurette derives much of its material from these interviews, as well as clips from the film and B-roll. The SFX Team 1999 DVD featurette offers interviews with the Boss Films special effects production team, including Richard Edlund, John Bruno, Terry Windell, Annick Therrien, Conrad Buff, Matthew Yuricich, Michelle Moen, Mark Stetson, Bill Neil, Neil Krepela, Thain Morris, and Virgil Mirano. The Cast and Crew 1999 DVD featurette offers interviews with Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis.
Six of the aforementioned alternate TV takes from the original 1987 broadcast version of the film are presented separately. Entertainment journalist Geoff Boucher hosts the Who You Gonna Call? retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd. The Ecto-1 featurette is dedicated to showing a team of experts restoring the original car to its former glory. Following that is the Library Ghost Scream Test from the original Laserdisc, a set of Multi-Angle Explorations and Storyboard Comparisons, and extensive Photo Galleries featuring a total of 939 stills. Finally, there’s the music video for Ray Parker, Jr.’s Ghostbusters, four trailers—all presented in HD, and a promo for the 1999 DVD release featuring Ivan Reitman.
DISC EIGHT: BONUS DISC #2 (BD)
GHOSTBUSTERS II SPECIAL FEATURES
- Reitman Squared Scene Commentary (HD – 7:14)
- Scene Cemetery: World of the Psychic (HD – 18:42)
- Scene Cemetery: Fraud (HD – :18)
- Scene Cemetery: This Is Hard for Me (HD – :53)
- Scene Cemetery: It Was Right Here (HD – :24)
- Scene Cemetery: Dana’s Curse (HD – :45)
- Scene Cemetery: We Should Get a Deeper Reading (HD – :37)
- Scene Cemetery: El Gato, The Cat (HD – :52)
- Scene Cemetery: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Audience (HD – :33)
- Scene Cemetery: Wow (HD – :11)
- Scene Cemetery: He’s Asleep (HD – :18)
- Scene Cemetery: Louis’ Secret (HD – 1:16)
- Scene Cemetery: Sewer Invitation (HD – 1:23)
- Scene Cemetery: He Had Me by the Throat (HD – :33)
- Scene Cemetery: We’re Stuck in Here (HD – :52)
- Scene Cemetery: You’re My Cousin (HD – 1:11)
- Scene Cemetery: They’re Gonna Need Me (HD – :27)
- Scene Cemetery: Peter’s Concern (HD – :50)
- Scene Cemetery: We’re Getting Nowhere (HD – :17)
- Scene Cemetery: We’ll Handle Everything from Here (HD – :12)
- Scene Cemetery: Jack Buys It (HD – 1:37)
- Scene Cemetery: Can You Get Into That Museum (HD – :51)
- Scene Cemetery: Kumbaya (HD – :29)
- Scene Cemetery: What Are You Doing Here? (HD – :46)
- Scene Cemetery: Good Evening New York (HD – :39)
- Scene Cemetery: Driving Miss Liberty (HD – 1:10)
- Scene Cemetery: Ghostbusters with Vigo (HD – :44)
- Randy Edleman Music Commentary (HD – 2:39)
- Ghostbusters II 1992 TV Version (SD – 97:27)
- The Oprah Winfrey Show: Cast of Ghostbusters II – June 1989 (SD – 43:17)
- Ghostbusters II Original EPK (SD – 41:37)
- Time Is but a Window: Ghostbusters II and Beyond (HD – 16:16)
- On Our Own Music Video by Bobby Brown (SD – 4:35)
- Domestic Teaser (HD – 1:07)
- International Teaser (HD – 2:32)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:26)
- Rare Unfinished Teaser (HD – 1:46)
Reitman Squared Scene Commentary again features video commentary by Ivan and Jason Reitman on two scenes from the film, with Jason providing interstitials about his connection to the film and his father. Once again, a full commentary would have been more preferable. Scene Cemetery not only carries over all of the previous deleted scenes, but adds a number of new ones as well, presumably from a workprint. Since the film went through a number of reshoots, plenty of deleted material was leftover. Despite the wealth of material, there are still a few things missing. Ray being possessed by Vigo and driving the Ecto-1 like a maniac, more of Louis’ cousin played by Eugene Levy, the oversized “frog” ghost in the underground tunnels, the full version of Ray and Peter catching the ghost jogger, the full version of the Ghostbusters in the jewelry shop, the Ghostbusters returning the Statue of Liberty and receiving a key to the city, and the original version of Vigo walking out of the painting during the climax. Whereas most if not everything that fans have wanted to see in the deleted scenes from the first film are almost all accounted for, Ghostbusters II still has a ways to go when it comes to major deleted material.
The Randy Edelman Music Commentary is brief as he covers the score for the opening of the film, but this short piece is meant more as an advertisement of sorts for the CD soundtrack of the film’s score. The TV Version appears to be the true 1992 original with all of the alternate dialogue intact. Next is the cast’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, taking questions from the audience and talking about the upcoming film. The Original EPK material offers interviews with the cast and crew, as well as additional B-roll footage. Time Is but a Window sees entertainment journalist Geoff Boucher return for another round of questions for Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd. Next is the Bobby Brown On Our Own music video and four HD trailers, including an unfinished teaser trailer which utilizes the Ghostbusters’ business commercial featuring Janine and Louis as seen in the final film.
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE SPECIAL FEATURES
- Jason’s Sneak Peek from the Set (HD – 2:06)
- Teaser Trailer (HD – :53)
- Theatrical Trailer #1 (HD – 2:28)
- Theatrical Trailer #2 (HD – 2:28)
- International Trailer (HD – 1:52)
Jason’s Sneak Peek features the director on the set briefly speaking about how excited he is to be making the film. Last is a series of trailers for the film. It should also be noted that each of these bonus discs comes with subtitle options in English, English SDH, Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), and Thai.
Missing extras for the first film include the film’s screenplay, additional Multi-Angle Explorations (featuring the Library Ghost, Slimer, and the Ballroom sequence), additional storyboards and sketches from the Criterion Laserdisc, the aforementioned video commentary portion of the 1999 audio commentary, and the making of and trailer for the Ghostbusters video game. For the record, it would have been nice to also include a full playthrough of the game, just for completists’ sake since the original cast provided voices for it. Also left out are additional high quality behind-the-scenes stills, the film’s marketing materials including TV and radio spots, and the unused Ghostbusters theme songs (one of which made it into the original teaser trailer, and the other into the Showest reel). The second film has yet to include those aforementioned deleted scenes, Run DMC’s Ghostbusters music video, high quality behind-the-scenes stills, and the film’s marketing materials included TV and radio spots. And since Ghostbusters: Afterlife is such a recent film, the film’s marketing materials should have been an easy inclusion, not to mention an audio commentary with the director and cast.
The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs for each film are included in their own separate amaray cases, with new artwork on the front and slipcovers featuring that particular film’s version of the no ghost logo on the front and the villain for each film on the back (though Afterlife includes a shot of the mini Stay Puft men). A set of Digital codes for each film—including both the theatrical and extended versions of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call—are included on a paper insert inside the packaging. Also stashed away inside is a recreation of Don Shay’s Making Ghostbusters book from 1985, with multiple behind-the-scenes photos, stills from the film, storyboards, sketches, and pages from the original shooting script. All of this is housed within a cardboard slipcase recreation of a ghost trap, which lights up in green on the inside when you remove the discs (from an apparent sensor along the inside, which doesn’t work that well, but is still neat nonetheless). All of this fits snugly inside a clear plastic casing.
This Ultimate Collection of the Ghostbusters franchise in 4K and Blu-ray is a very attractive package. As mentioned before, it doesn’t quite reach “ultimate” status, but it does a whole lot of things right. As of this writing, Sony appears to have sold out of this package, but hopes are high that the studio will re-release it in the same type of packaging, or perhaps in a sleeker, discs-only set without all of the swag. Either way, this is a great box set that comes highly recommended... if you can get your hands on it.
- Tim Salmons