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A few words about...™ Ghostbusters -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 50 Robert Harris

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Posted May 27 2009 - 03:10 AM

The HD video master of Ivan Reitman's 1984 Ghostbusters had the input of cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, and as such must be considered incontestable as far as a Blu-ray is concerned.

Those who saw the film theatrically 25 years ago, may or may not recall that the look varied from sequence to sequence. While some interiors seemed to have a pushed, grainy look, fully exposed exteriors appeared to have far less apparent grain. Some of the film is sharp, some parts lesser so.

Created from an archival 35mm interpositive, what has been delivered via Blu-ray is Ghostbusters as it originally looked, and I couldn't be happier.

I'm certain that there will be some who will find the grain too course, to evident, too brown, too angular, not pretty enough, or in one of my favorite phrases, simply about one would expect from an old (read: antique) film from a bygone era.

Love it or hate, this is Ghostbusters as created and released in 1984. Still a fun film and perennial home video favorite, it holds up well after a quarter century. It's appearance on Blu-ray also makes it one of those legacy titles that has made its way through every home video format, inclusive of CED, arriving after the end of production of CED hardware.

Those who remember the film from its theatrical release will be thrilled with the new Blu-ray. Those who have only seen it on inferior home video formats will find themselves in for a treat. And those few who are new to Ghostbusters are in for a fun ride into the ancient past of filmmaking, when special effects were special effects without the aid of computers. And it all works beautifully.

A terrific Blu-ray release that holds true to the Sony / Columbia ethic of making their films on Blu-ray continue to look like film.

Like Dr. Strangelove, Ghostbusters is encoded for all three regions.

Recommended.

RAH

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#2 of 50 Paul Arnette

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Posted May 27 2009 - 03:29 AM

Well, I don't know what to say about your review really. Your first sentence has me worried as it reads as a sort of preemptive strike on what you seem to feel will be a controversial release. I certainly trust your opinion, but I hope Laszlo Kovacs input wasn't given on the last DVD release because it looked terrible.
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#3 of 50 Dave H

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Posted May 27 2009 - 03:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
The HD video master of Ivan Reitman's 1984 Ghostbusters had the input of cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, and as such must be considered incontestable as far as a Blu-ray is concerned.

Those who saw the film theatrically 25 years ago, may or may not recall that the look varied from sequence to sequence. While some interiors seemed to have a pushed, grainy look, fully exposed exteriors appeared to have far less apparent grain. Some of the film is sharp, some parts lesser so.

Created from an archival 35mm interpositive, what has been delivered via Blu-ray is Ghostbusters as it originally looked, and I couldn't be happier.

I'm certain that there will be some who will find the grain too course, to evident, too brown, too angular, not pretty enough, or in one of my favorite phrases, simply about one would expect from an old (read: antique) film from a bygone era.

Love it or hate, this is Ghostbusters as created and released in 1984. Still a fun film and perennial home video favorite, it holds up well after a quarter century. It's appearance on Blu-ray also makes it one of those legacy titles that has made its way through every home video format, inclusive of CED, arriving after the end of production of CED hardware.

Those who remember the film from its theatrical release will be thrilled with the new Blu-ray. Those who have only seen it on inferior home video formats will find themselves in for a treat. And those few who are new to Ghostbusters are in for a fun ride into the ancient past of filmmaking, when special effects were special effects without the aid of computers. And it all works beautifully.

A terrific Blu-ray release that holds true to the Sony / Columbia ethic of making their films on Blu-ray continue to look like film.

Like Dr. Strangelove, Ghostbusters is encoded for all three regions.

Recommended.

RAH

I will check this release out. I've never seen the movie!

A terrific Blu-ray release that holds true to the Sony / Columbia ethic of making their films on Blu-ray continue to look like film.

Please pass these words off to Paramount.

#4 of 50 Nicholas Martin

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Posted May 27 2009 - 04:03 AM

I really enjoy the heavier grain of some Blu-ray titles, because it adds character if that makes any sense. Maybe it doesn't, I don't know.
I just know I like when it's there.

#5 of 50 ChadMcCallum

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Posted May 27 2009 - 04:09 AM

Thank you so much for this Mr. Harris. Earlier threads indicated that we may be in for some disappointment with this title and I'm ecstatic that's not the case. This is one of my blu-ray holy grails and I'm glad Sony has given the movie the treatment it deserves.

#6 of 50 Stephen_J_H

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Posted May 27 2009 - 04:26 AM

Given the extensive optical work involved in Ghostbusters, I would have expected some softness and grain in any event. What I am curious about is the visual effects work that was supposedly completed for the first DVD release: if this looks as it did in 1984, does that mean those visuals were left untouched? For clarification, I'm referring to the
Stay-Puft marshmallow man sequence

*Spoiler tags added for Ghostbusters "virgins."
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#7 of 50 Michael Reuben

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Posted May 27 2009 - 04:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
I really enjoy the heavier grain of some Blu-ray titles, because it adds character if that makes any sense. Maybe it doesn't, I don't know.
I just know I like when it's there.
It makes sense to me. Posted Image

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
but I hope Laszlo Kovacs input wasn't given on the last DVD release because it looked terrible.
Terrible in what way?
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#8 of 50 Fritz Nilsen

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Posted May 27 2009 - 04:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben

Terrible in what way?

I suppose he's talking about this: (not my cap)
Posted Image

#9 of 50 Paul Arnette

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Posted May 27 2009 - 05:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritz Nilsen
I suppose he's talking about this: (not my cap)

That's exactly what I'm talking about (i.e. blown-out contrast, etc.)

I couldn't for the life of me find the thread here that discussed the differences between the two DVD releases in detail though. Posted Image
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#10 of 50 Michael Reuben

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Posted May 27 2009 - 05:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
That's exactly what I'm talking about (i.e. blown-out contrast, etc.)

I couldn't for the life of me find the thread here that discussed the differences between the two DVD releases in detail though. Posted Image
Is that the 1999 release vs. the 2005? As I sit here today, I can't even remember the discussion (not saying it didn't happen; I just can't remember it). I also don't think I ever saw the later version. My DVD is the earlier release.

EDIT: I think I found the discussion you're looking for. It's at the end of a multi-page thread:

http://www.hometheat....-merged-9.html
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#11 of 50 Paul Arnette

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Posted May 27 2009 - 05:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Is that the 2000 release vs. the 2005? As I sit here today, I can't even remember the discussion (not saying it didn't happen; I just can't remember it). I also don't think I ever saw the later version. My DVD is the earlier release.

Yes, 2000 (Old Transfer) vs. 2005 (New Transfer). I don't remember a whole lot of the discussion myself apart from the consensus being the Old Transfer was truer to the original look of the film and that the New Transfer had severely boosted contrast that eliminated detail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
EDIT: I think I found the discussion you're looking for. It's at the end of a multi-page thread:

http://www.hometheat....-merged-9.html


That's the one. Thanks! I bow before your superior search skills. Posted Image
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#12 of 50 Scott D S

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Posted May 27 2009 - 06:49 AM

The gentleman who runs Spook Central finally posted a comparison between the 1999 and 2005 transfers. A couple of the caps aren't bad but the rest aren't great. Just mouse over the year captions.

Spook Central: The Ghostbusters Companion - "Ghostbusters" Home Video Image Comparison

Spook Central: The Ghostbusters Companion - "Ghostbusters II" Home Video Image Comparison

Mr. Harris and Co., thoughts?

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#13 of 50 Brian Borst

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Posted May 27 2009 - 08:00 AM

This should look and sound great. Not a title to show off the home theater, but it wasn't made for that purpose.
My only small gripe is the cover. I do wish they would have used the logo on a simple black background, instead of the blue slime artwork they have now.
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#14 of 50 Zack Gibbs

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Posted May 27 2009 - 08:07 AM

I love me some Ghostbusters! Curses for posting this three weeks early!!!

If the trailer for the Bluray is accurate then we need not worry about color and contrast issues.
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#15 of 50 Geoff_D

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Posted May 27 2009 - 09:53 AM

Count me as another who didn't like the look of the 2005 version. The boost to contrast and colour was distracting yet I didn't mind it too much, but what did get me was how incredibly grainy it was. The original release was extremely soft, and to go from one extreme to the other messed with my head.

I can only hope that the Blu encode gives a bit of HD finesse to the grain that looked so overpowering on the SD release. Your comments are somewhat reassuring RAH.

#16 of 50 ChadMcCallum

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Posted May 27 2009 - 10:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Borst
My only small gripe is the cover. I do wish they would have used the logo on a simple black background, instead of the blue slime artwork they have now.

They probably went with the blue background to help distinguish it from the video game released the same day that does use the logo over a simple black background. I don't find it too bad and I prefer the blue slime to the green the previous dvd had.

#17 of 50 Brian Borst

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Posted May 27 2009 - 10:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadMcCallum
They probably went with the blue background to help distinguish it from the video game released the same day that does use the logo over a simple black background. I don't find it too bad and I prefer the blue slime to the green the previous dvd had.

Then they should change the cover of the video game Posted Image .
But you're right, it doesn't look that bad. At least we got the original logo, didn't we? And I'm glad the film was handled with care.
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#18 of 50 Nicholas Martin

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Posted May 28 2009 - 05:22 AM

They should have kept the green slime (for Slimer) and should use pink for the sequel. Of course if they did that they might look too festive when put together on a shelf. Come to think of it my signature is too festive-looking.

#19 of 50 Scott D S

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Posted May 29 2009 - 05:53 AM

Hmm... this conversation was posted over at the Hi-Def Digest forum. It's a Twitter conversation between Aint it Cool's Moriarty and some readers. I honestly can't tell if he's concerned about too much grain or not enough grain or something else:

http://twitter.com/DrewAtHitFix

Quote:
Wow. Can't say I'm on fire over this new "Ghostbusters" transfer, but it might be the source material.

I expect you're going to hear a lot of discussion of the film grain on this transfer. A LOT OF DISCUSSION.

@peteramartin No, it's really rough. I like preserving film grain, but this is nigh unwatchable.

@jrc2334 Yeah, my first reaction is that this may be one of the worst BluRay transfers so far. That bums me out.

@The_Cameo It goes beyond grain. It's the first time I've noticed pronounced aliasing in any BluRay transfer. It looks like shit.

@ScottObiSwan I'll show it to you. I'm baffled at how this is a BluRay release. I seriously don't get how this was put out.

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#20 of 50 Ethan Riley

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Posted May 29 2009 - 06:35 AM

Hoo hah! The original film was good and grainy back in '84 in the theaters (yep--Grandpa remembers, as if it were yesterday...). My concern with film "grain" is that sometimes on BluRay, it just looks like digital noise. Must not be too fun, or too easy to actually preserve that grain without it looking like little gnats crawling over the actors...
 

 



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