Ghostbusters Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

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Sadly it tries too hard and simply isn't funny

by Simon Crust Nov 23, 2016 at 9:48 AM

  • SRP: £27.77

    Film Review

    I don't go to Chinatown, I don't drive wackos, and I ain't afraid of no ghosts!

    What do you get when you combine a soulless script with an improvisational director, four comedic actresses, product placement and a made-by-committee-in-the-editing-room film? Well the new reboot of Ghostbustersis just such a beast, a wild, meandering animal that doesn’t know where it’s going, what it wants to achieve or why it is even around in the first place. The film will probably be best remembered for the internet furore that followed in the wake of its first trailer. It still remains the most disliked trailer of all time but the disproportionate coverage that the ‘misogynistic commentators’ were given was so that Sony had an angle in which to advertise the film and get people talking. Not only were Sony caught deleting certain comments but scenes were reshot and included in the film to highlight the backlash, which is fairly shameless in the part of the studio.
    Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are all talented actresses and comediennes that have a terrific body of work, Paul Feig is a talented writer/director and has a decent body of work; and yet something has happened with Ghostbusters that has negated all that talent in favour of lazy writing, poor improvisation and a non-plused script that has nothing to say and does not know where it’s going. There is no characterisation, no wit and certainly no charm. It’s not as if there is even a scatter gun approach to the comedy, it’s trying too hard and is simply not funny – pretty damning for a comedy film. There is no plot, no ultimate end game and therefore no threat; there is no sense of building to a climax with things just happening to get to the next set piece. What does it say about the film when the final villain is the logo used to promote it? Awful.

    Picture Quality

    Ghostbusters Picture Quality
    Ghostbusters was filmed digitally using the Arri Alexa XT camera at a resolution of 2.8K and was finished using a 2K Digital Intermediate (DI), which presumably formed the basis for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release. The film was upscaled to 3840 x 2160p and presented in widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio (actually it is 1.78:1 as there are plenty of instances of material seen ‘outside the frame’ in the black bars). The disc uses 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. We reviewed the Region free US Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Ghostbusters on a Panasonic 65DX902B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. We are reviewing the US release but the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray should be identical.

    Detail, despite being an upscale, is excellent and beats the (included) Full HD Blu-ray with finite edges, from close up skin texture, to clothing weaves, to (most impressively) broader establishing shots of New York. Indeed many of the cityscape shots are hugely striking, with edges to windows, street markings, vehicles and people being far shaper and well defined in the Ultra HD presentation. The team's various equipment and thier messy labs look far more intricate as well.

    HDR really expands the dynamic range of the image

    Black levels are terrific, the addition of HDR really expands the dynamic range so that there are far deeper blacks with more shadow detail available, while at the other end of the scale, whites are gorgeous; the occasional day time shots look incredibly lifelike with grades of colour that are not seen in the Full HD Blu-ray. Indeed all the primaries are very strong; the whole image is more saturated than the Full HD, meaning flesh tones are towards the pink, however this really pushes the envelope when it comes to the climatic shoot out, where the greens, blues and reds positively beam off the screen. We particularly liked how much the hi-vis stripes of the girl’s uniforms reflects so naturally in HDR, while the Columbia logo before the credits is practically blinding.

    Digitally there are no compression issues or edge enhancement, the source is absolutely pristine and so is this presentation.

    Sound Quality

    Ghostbusters Sound Quality
    Ghostbusters was released theatrically with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack and that has been used for the Ultra HD Blu-ray release, which can be listened to in 5.1, 7.1 or various Atmos configurations. We are reviewing the US release but the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray should be identical.

    Simon Crust reviewed the audio using a standard 5.1-channel setup – An impressive surround experience right from the off with the surround speakers employed to fill out ambience as well as effects throughout. The quieter moments make do with street noise, office chatter or computer/scientific equipment, but when the action ramps up it becomes a full-on sonic assault with proton beams, ghost screams, explosions and general mayhem flying around the room with pin point accuracy. Dialogue is clean and clear and dominated by the frontal array, it never gets lost in the mix and sounds very natural. Bass is well held and reasonably tight, LF effects come thick and fast during the climax with some very deep rumbles, but nothing too over the top. The score is well layered and makes good use of all the speakers. A good solid surround track.

    An excellent Dolby Atmos soundtrack compliments the impressive images

    Steve Withers reviewed the audio using a 7.2.4-channel Dolby Atmos setup – Whilst not quite up there with the very best Dolby Atmos soundtracks, this object-based mix is still superior to the 5.1/7.1 version with a nicely immersive experience. The sound design is naturally at its most immersive during the supernatural sequences but the addition of overhead speakers does add more ambience to the scenes set in the subway tunnels for example. The same is true for street sounds, restaurants, offices and laboratories, whilst a rock concert has some excellent dynamic range. Naturally it's when the ghosts appear that the audio really kicks up a gear and from the very first encounter the sound designers make full use of the additional channels to deliver aggressive surround effects with plenty of precise steering. The bass is used to underscore the action, especially during the climax and there is extensive use of the LFE channel to deliver some nice low-end impact. The score is mixed into the overall sound field very effectively, mostly across the front three channels, whilst the dialogue is clear, focused and anchored to the action on screen. Overall this is a great Dolby Atmos soundtrack that compliments and enhances the film itself.


    Ghostbusters Extras
    The US release of Ghostbusters reviewed here is comprised of three discs - UHD BD, BD and 3D BD but in the UK although the release still includes three discs these are the UHD BD, the BD and a bonus BD of extra features, there is no 3D BD. As mentioned in the picture section although the film is framed at 2.39:1, ghost effects actually go outside the black bars, which can be effective in 3D but seems a bit pointless in the 2D versions of the film.

    Disc 1 – UHD disc
    The disc includes the Extended Version of film
    Moments - Four ‘highlight’ reels taken from the film: Light 'Em Up (05:00), Kevin (09:00), Ghosts (11:00) and The World (06:00)
    Cast and Crew – A single picture of each actress and one of the director.

    Disc 2 – Full HD Blu-ray (Region Free)
    The disc includes both the Theatrical and Extended Versions of the film via seamless branching.
    Audio Commentaries – Two are included. The first is with writer/director Paul Feig and writer Katie Dippold, the second with editor Brent White, producer Jessie Henderson, production designer Jeff Sage, visual effects Supervisor Pete Travers and special effects Supervisor Mark Hawker. Both are easy listening with the participants filling the time with plenty of behind the scenes information; the former deals with more anecdotal information while the latter is more technical in nature.
    Gag Reel 1 – Seven minutes of skylarking around on set.
    Gag Reel 2 – Eight minutes of more of the same.
    Deleted Scenes – Four scenes running for nine minutes.
    Extended & Alternate scenes – Twenty minutes of this.
    Jokes A Plenty – Similar to the above, only this time centric on specific jokes and the multiple takes trying out different lines, you know the thing – over half an hour of this one.
    Meet the Team – Eight minutes of cast and crew discussions on the four leads and their respective interpretations.
    The Ghosts of Ghostbusters – A fifteen minute look at how the various apparitions are ranked and brought to the screen with emphasis on visual effects.
    Visual Effects: 30 Years Later – More insight into how the ghosts made it to the screen.
    Slime Time – Let’s look at slime, why not.
    Chris Hemsworth is ‘Kevin’ – Seven minutes with the actor in his worst role to date.
    Photo Gallery – Artwork unveiled.

    Disc 3 – 3D Full HD Blu-ray (Region Free)
    The disc includes the Theatrical Cut of the film in 3D

    Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict

    Ghostbusters Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict
    Ghostbusters is a remake of the 1984 classic, with an all-female cast of proven comedic actresses, who do their very best to bring the film to a social media savvy new generation. If you can get over the trailer controversy and Sony's spiked misogynistic anti-marketing campaign you are left with a poorly scripted film with no heart, soul, wit or charm whose only redeeming features are the classy effects and cameo appearances, but even they seem wasted, tacked on and tired. Ill-conceived and underestimating an audience can be damning, and even though the film has not lost as much money at the box-office as it was predicted, let’s hope soulless cash-cow product-placement remakes will become harder to green light.

    The package from Sony is as full-up as it gets

    As a 4K UHD Ultra-HD Blu-ray set, this US package from Sony is as full-up as it gets! Containing Two versions of the film in Full HD, a 3D and a 4K HDR version of the film, with multiple sound options and a host of extras, Sony are really trying to recoup their outgoings. The 4K picture is a step up in terms of clarity, detail, brightness and colour reproduction from the Full HD Blu-ray in every way, even if it appears more saturated, while the sound is a full on sonic engagement with plenty of surround action. The extra features are plentiful if based around additional material, but do go to show the dedication of the filmmakers and help to fill out the package.

    You can buy Ghostbusters HERE

    MORE: Read more UHD Blu-ray reviews

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £27.77

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