The 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters means a limited theatrical re-release, and a new Blu-ray edition. It was only five years ago that we got the 25th Anniversary Blu-ray of Ghostbusters, so we don’t necessarily need an upgrade. However, what excites me about this collection is the first Blu-ray release of Ghostbusters II.
I always liked Ghostbusters II. Of course I did. I’m Franchise Fred. Why wouldn’t you want to see what happened to the Ghostbusters after they saved New York? If they did their job, they’d create their own obsolescence, right? I don’t find it so far fetched that five years after Gozer, New York City doesn’t believe in the Ghostbusters again. Society and governments have even shorter attention spans than that. But then, it always amused me that nobody believed Brody about the shark in Jaws 2 either. Maybe it’s a cheat to break Venkman (Bill Murray) and Dana (Sigourney Weaver) up so they can do a romance again, but they still had chemistry. Dana is now restoring paintings instead of playing music but that makes sense. Still highbrow.
Maybe people just didn’t like the river of slime story, but in a franchise that would just be one of the many missions of the ghostbusters. Had there been a film every 5 years, you could have taken your pick out of 6-7 supernatural comedies, but for now we’ve only got these two. I think it’s just a vehicle for the jokes anyway, and thanks to Vigo the Carpathian, I snicker every time I see Viggo Mortensen.
Nothing more needs to be said about Ghostbusters I. It’s a comedy classic. I was never happy with the previous Blu-ray transfer. It didn’t look significantly better than a DVD to me. The new 4K Blu-ray transfer is an improvement, a much more consistent look all around. It’s sharp and clear, a little brighter than before, but you still don’t want to turn up your brightness and color settings or you’ll see all the digital noise. Ghostbusters II looks amazing. It’s a gorgeous look at New York City in the late ‘80s. You can see the brush strokes on the Vigo painting, and ripples in the doors of the courthouse.
The Ghostbusters Blu-ray ports over previous bonus features like the DVD commentary which still features Harold Ramis, the Slimer picture-in-picture mode, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes features. It has a new interview with Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd by Geoff Boucher. It’s hard to distinguish now what I’ve heard before and what’s new, but it seems like their recollections of shooting in New York before anyone knew what Ghostbusters were is some valuable perspective. Aykroyd also calls the city a character in the film, so hello, They Came Together.
The interview continues on the Ghostbusters II Blu-ray and I’m glad Boucher seems to like Ghostbusters II as much as I do, but the interview begins with what feels like revisionist history from defensive talent. Right out of the gate they’re defending its artistic success, which I’m not arguing, but let’s acknowledge historical context. Fans were disappointed, and then if they come around later, that’s great. Or after acknowledging the reaction, explain what people might be missing.
What I love about the deleted scenes on Ghostbusters II is not so much the material, but the fact that they look like rough film dailies, not yet color corrected. That process is worth preserving, and there are some cute bits about Louis practicing to be a ghostbusters and the evil Kurt Fuller getting his comeuppance.
I guess this is the first time the Ray Parker Jr. Ghostbusters video has appeared on a DVD or Blu-ray. I would have thought that was on all of them. Ghostbusters II also has its Bobby Brown video. Honestly, there’s not a lot of new material, but it is a good interview with Reitman and Aykroyd. Blu-rays are about the transfer first and foremost and these are good. I’m always disappointed that sequels in movie collections get short shrift when all the bonus content is centered on the original, so at least Ghostbusters I and II are equal. By the 40th anniversary, maybe they’ll be able to download Ghostbusters right into our brains and that’ll be the new thing.