Ghost (Blu-Ray) Studio: Paramount Home Video Rated: PG-13 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 HD Encoding: 1080p HD Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; Spanish, French 5.1 Dolby Digital Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese; English SDH+ Time: 126 minutes Disc Format: 1 SS/DL BD Case Style: Keep case Theatrical Release Date: 1990 Blu-Ray Release Date: December 30, 2008 Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly’s (Demi Moore) life seems to really be coming together nicely: they are in love, they just moved in to a recently renovated loft so Molly can pursue who pottery and sculpting career, and Sam is enjoying great success in banking. As they are walking home from a play one night, a mugger confronts them, shooting Sam dead. But as quick as the shot is discharged, Sam is up, chasing the criminal. Sam ends the chase to go back and check on Molly only to find her cradling Sam’s lifeless and bloody body. As Sam follows Molly to the hospital, he finds out he is a ghost, and he has chosen to stay behind. Sam follows Molly around and learns his death was part of a grander scheme, involving large amounts of money and scheming bankers. Sam finds a medium, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), who can actually hear Sam’s ethereal voice. Oda Mae agrees to help Sam catch his killers and reunite, if only temporarily, with Molly. Ghost pretty much took the summer of 1990 by surprise, finding great success among the year’s event movies. It’s fairly simple story of “true love never dies” was realized thanks to the genre breaking direction of Jerry Zucker, one of those responsible for the Naked Gun movies as well as Airplane. Swayze and Moore have incredible on-screen chemistry, helping to sell the picture further. Goldberg’s Oda Mae is excellent adding in some much needed levity into what would otherwise be a bit of a downer of a story. The picture plays fair with us all along, showing Sam’s ghost powers developing as he races to save Molly from harm. My only real complaint is that the story could have used more time developing Sam’s confusion and anger due to his new reality. Regardless, Ghost is a three hankie picture that will make you want to hold your loved one closer each time you go out. Video: Note: I am watching this title using a Marantz VP 11-S1 DLP projector, which has a native resolution of 1080p. I am using a Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player while a Denon 3808CI does the switching and pass through of the video signal. I am utilizing the HDMI capabilities of each piece of equipment. The Blu-Ray disc is encoded in the MPEG-4 AVC codec at 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The picture shows some dirt or debris from the original print, and I noticed some edge enhancement. The picture maintains a very “real world” feel with none of the colors coming off as over-saturated or garish. Flesh tones are excellent. The image does show its age as this looks like the same transfer from the previous DVD release and not a new HD master, unfortunately. Detail and sharpness is fine, and it exhibits some good dimensionality. Black levels are good but they could be a little better as I did not notice a lot of shadow detail. I also noticed the darker the picture became the noisier it became. The opening credit sequence looks very grainy and nasty, as do some of the other darker scenes. Audio: The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was attained by the HDMI connection of the PS3 to the Denon 3808CI. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is immersive and presents a good soundstage. Panning effects were good, but maybe a bit harsh and not as smooth as they could have been. The track was free of distortion or other dirt, and voices sounded natural. Surround channels engage more prominently during the more action oriented scenes. LFE’s are weak and barely noticed. Bonus Material: all items are in SD unless otherwise noted. Commentary by Director Jerry Zucker and Writer Bruce Joel Rubin: Rubin and Zucker go right into the discussion of how Zucker was not an obvious or even popular choice to direct the picture. They continue by explaining the genesis of the picture and they give some great detail about their views of Sam’s ghost world. Not an essential piece, but still enjoyable. Ghost Stories: The Making of a Classic (13:06): the genesis and production of the picture is discussed by Rubin, Zucker and the cast. It’s the usual EPK material, but it’s interesting to hear everyone’s pleasant surprise of the hiring of Zucker. Inside the Paranormal (8:36): various mediums and psychics talk about their real world abilities. Believe as you will. Alchemy of a Love Scene (6:16): Rubin, Zucker and the cast discuss what went into the pottery scene, covering pottery, the music and the shoot. Cinema’s Great Romances (19:45):AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Passions has added Ghost to the list. Here, Patricia Hanson, AFI Historian and critics discuss why Ghost and others are on the list. The theatrical trailer (in HD) and a Photo Gallery complete the extras. Conclusions: One of the better love stories still holds up eighteen years later thanks to strong performances by Swayze, Moore and Goldberg. The disc gives us a good, but not great AV experience with a few extras.