Ghost Town Blu-ray Review
Ghost Town comes to Blu-ray presented in a widescreen 1.78:1 ratio and encoded into high definition using the AVC MPEG-4 codec.
There's a very nice crisp quality about the image and it starts with the colour palette that's used. The rustic leaves, the greying facades of buildings and the general tone of the image make for a realistic depiction of urban life. It's very complimentary to the city landscape and backdrops that are prevalent in the movie.
Detail and textures are particularly good. Facial close-ups are a testament to the levels of detail on offer with plenty to get your, ahem, teeth into due to many shots focusing on the actors upper bodies. Fleshtones come across with particular accuracy and add to the overall authenticity of the presentation.
Solid blacks and the correct use of contrast make for an altogether upbeat and snappy picture. Blacks also remain very true and the darker scenes do not suffer from any form of crushing. In fact shadow delineation was particularly good and there was never any need for me to peer into the screen searching for detail; it's very apparently visible.
However, there are some foibles. The whites are extremely bright and there are occasions where the picture over-blows and blooms with brightness. Whilst the transfer is pretty clean there is certainly an inconsistency of grain. Thankfully, for the most part it remains filmic but there are times where it becomes quite coarse and you'd be forgiven for thinking some form of digital noise or interference had taken over.
Still, it's a good high definition presentation and it befits the rom-com tag. It's not the best and there's no 'pop' factor going on but it's a good enough leap over SD to warrant the premium.
There is an English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless soundtrack on this film but it doesn't extend to the French, Italian or Spanish variants. They are simply in Dolby Digital 5.1 form.
On the whole, the clarity of dialogue is exceptionally good. It's all front end orientated and remains anchored to the centre. The front stage panning is also very well balanced and the fronts blend effortlessly with the dialogue. There is a notable richness to the sound.
As you would expect from a movie of this type, there's not much else going on in the terms of special effects or further enhancements. The rears are used infrequently but you'll get the occasional rush of sound coming at you from behind to add a suitable ambience to it all.
LFE support is generally thin but where needed the bass response is full bodied and resolute. This is not a whimsical soundtrack that whimpers along by any stretch. Volume is not in question. In all it's a good accompaniment but there's simply never any great shakes or points of note to write home about.
It's clear that there has been no compromise on the quality of the soundtrack but whilst it doesn't lack character, it is somewhat limited. To be fair though, this is simply due to the very nature of the film itself.
The disc comes with an Audio Commentary and three visual extras presented in High Definition.
Audio Commentary - David Koepp and Ricky Gervais provide the commentary to the film in what is by far the best extra on this disc. As you would expect Gervais keeps the jokes coming thick and fast and makes for a lively and entertaining commentary. He's not as funny as he is in person, obviously, as a lot of his sarcasm is accentuated through his body language. The pair of them seem to get on well enough and the conversation bubbles along just nicely.
Making of Ghost Town - (22min 40secs) - The cast and crew comment about the story and making of the movie. It's very much the standard type of extra but it is well made. David Koepp keeps it very informative as do all the cast and it's always nice to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Ghostly Effects - (2min 1secs) - A very peculiar insert this one? You get shown a number of scenes where the ghosts of the people were superimposed onto the scenes. What makes it strange is that there is absolutely no narration going on to explain how they did it? Although it's self explanatory some narration would have helped to make it more interesting than it is.
Some People Can Do It - (6mins 21secs) - This is basically a string of excerpts from the film. It's all the takes where Ricky Gervais bursts out laughing when trying to keep a straight face. An entertaining enough of a reel but it's still a little disappointing in content.
Ghost Town barely registered on the radar when it hit the big screens but make no mistake about it, this is one very good film.
Many people think that 'a low box office take' spells for a forgettable film but please don't make that mistake with this one. Everything here remains so subtly understated that this gem of a movie is pure comic genius through and through.
Ricky Gervais takes centre stage throughout but surprisingly in this leading role debut of his, he easily upstages many if not all of his counterparts. In hindsight it is difficult to imagine how this movie would have worked without him; he's done it so incredibly well.
You've seen much of it before though and whilst it screams Randall & Hopkirk (deceased) as the inspiration, I feel Ghost Town is unique enough to be considered in its own regard.
The Blu-ray disc comes with a solid video presentation as well as a competent lossless soundtrack. It's true to say the video qualities outshine the audio but much of that is down to the type of movie that it is. It's a shame that the extras bundled on the disc are disappointingly thin on the ground, although Gervais' comedic talents do, at least, raise the level of the commentary.
Nevertheless, Ghost Town remains a mercurial gem of a movie. I have little reservation in recommending giving it a watch. You'll be glad that you did and it may just become one for your permanent collection.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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