Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition (2020 release) on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition
Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition: The original two films have been out in various forms and packages over the years, but this latest package gives a mix of some new extras, some of the 2014 30th Anniversary release, and some going back to the original 1999 DVD releases.

After being booted out of their student digs, three parapsychology professors decide to put their theories to the test about an influx of ghostly goings-on and set up base as professional ghostbusters. They are Doctor Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), ever the optimist, who convinces himself and the others that this is the chance they were waiting for despite having no idea how they are going to fund their activites, Doctor Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), usually the ‘Doubting Thomas’ of the group but still with a few ideas of his own and Doctor Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), the scientific egg-head of the group.

Business is slow at first, with a brief encounter in the library and a fright from a green blob of slime up and down the corridors of a posh hotel, the offender being the appropriately-named Slimer, barely paying the rent. Things pick up when Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), a classical musician, turns up at their door complaining of eggs cooking on a standard kitchen surface and a fridge that’s given way to a spiritual home for God-knows-what that emits a terrifying cry of “Zuul” to all and sundry. While Egon and Ray want to get to the bottom of the matter, Peter just wants to get to the bottom of her pants.

This is just the last of Dana’s problems. She’s got enough to cope from an annoying neighbour in her appartment, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), but you’ll find out later that they have more in common than they think…

Of the rest of the cast, there’s a kooky receptionist in the form of Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) who has a normal haircut in this film, but a dreadful one in the sequel. If you don’t think that three ghostbusters are enough, then Ernie Hudson applies to be the fourth as Winston Zeddemore. If Hudson’s name doesn’t ring any bells, even though he’s been around a while by now, then I highly recommend the brilliant prison drama Oz, where he played the powerful prison warden Glynn.

Villain of the peace in Die Hard, roving (and invasive) reporter Richard Thornberg not the mad German, William Atherton, pulls another star turn as city council official Walter Peck. His actions have catastrophic effects on the city of New York and it leads to a hilarious exchange of words in the mayor’s office, but if you’ve only seen the TV version, you’ll have heard the words “dickless” replaced with “twinkie”, which I can only assume was done with a wry sense of humour by the director to take a swipe at those TV bosses who were happy to show a spliced version of his PG-rated comedy.

Finally, there’s the always-gorgeous Jennifer Runyon as the eponymous volunteer for Venkman in the opening ESP scene, Slavitza Jovan as the evil Gozer and director Ivan Reitman gets an uncredited performance as the voice of “Zuul”.

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver.

But what of the fact that the original movie is now a 12-cert rather than a PG?

Taken from the BBFC site:

    “Ghostbusters remained at PG on video when it was submitted again in 1985, 1993, 1995 and 2009. However, when the film was resubmitted for cinema classification in 2011, it was classified 12A for moderate sex references and subsequently passed at 12 on DVD/Blu-ray.

    The BBFCinsight for the 2011 submission of the film explains: “The BBFC’s Guidelines at ‘PG’ state there may be ‘Mild sex references and innuendo only’. The film contains a number of sex references, both verbal and visual, that exceed this allowance. Most notable is a scene in which it is implied that a ghost is performing oral sex on a man. As the man’s trousers and zip are unfastened, the camera moves to his face as he sinks back on the bed with his eyes crossed in pleasure. Later, a woman who has been possessed by a demon rolls about on a bed with a man and tells him: “I want you inside me”. Although these references were permitted at ‘PG’ in the 1980s, when there was no classification available between ‘PG’ and ’15’, they are now more appropriately classified at ’12A’ where the Guidelines state ‘Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed. Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers’.”

    The Examiner report from 1984, available here, shows the level of acceptability of these issues at the PG level in the early 1980s. It is important to remember that, at this point the 12A certificate had not been introduced, so the choice was between a PG or a much more mature 15 rating. The BBFC Guidelines consultations with the public had also not yet been established, with the first consultation taking place in 1999, 15 years after the first submission of Ghostbusters. The addition of the 12A and 12 classifications between the PG and 15 levels, as well as more comprehensive research by the BBFC into public acceptability, has had an impact on a number of films classified around the same time as Ghostbusters. For example, another film passed PG – albeit with cuts – during the 1980s that is now classified 12A is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), while Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) was originally classified 15 for cinema release, but is now classified 12A.”

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

Bill Murray with ‘dickless’ William Atherton.

While the films sound as fantastic as they always did, there is grain on the picture. This is most likely down to the fact it was shot on film and so there’s only so much you can do with an image. Most people won’t really notice it, but nerds like me will. The same is for both movies. Hence, I’ve heard that if you’re buying the 4K version, you won’t really get any advantage in doing so. I’m just reviewing the regular Blu-ray package, but at the time of writing, this is £9.99, whereas the 4K package is £29.99, although that’s largely because the spec for 4K packages state that the regular Blu-ray(s) must also be included.

Both films are in their correct widescreen ratio, but while there were no original widescreen videos for these, the Ghostbusters PAL laserdisc only lost a small amount of side info, while the sequel was cropped to approx 1.66:1 – which was complete madness. And to add insult to injury, Columbia thought they’d sell so little of it that they bundled them together for a penny under fifty notes!

The extras for the Ghostbusters disc are coming up, but I understand this package is missing some of the new extras which can be found on the US and German releases. Plus, this package emblazons the 35th Anniversary Fan Commentary on the back, yet it’s not present. What happened? Well, discs 1 and 2 are from the 2014 release, as I mention later on

Anyhoo, the extras on disc 1 are as follows:

  • Slimer Mode: Picture-in-picture: A 2009 extra with a staggering 71 chapters, each of which brings you interview clips and facts about the film from many cast and crew members.

  • Gallery 1988 Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Print Collection: 31 posters and other images, and for some reason, I couldn’t actually get out of this menu and back to the main one, so I had to take the disc out of my PS4 and start again.

  • Who You Gonna Call: A Ghostbusters Retrospective (24:01): A 2014 30th Anniversary piece in which Dan Aykroyd and director Ivan Reitman talk to journalist Geoff Boucher about making the movie, including dressing up in the Ghostbuster outfits for the first time, and feeling they have a hit on their hands. Despite the picture-in-picture extra containing 71 chapters, this one has…. zero (sigh).

  • ECTO-1: Resurrecting a Classic Car (15:37): Putting the car back together.

  • Audio commentary: with Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis and Joe Medjuck. Here, you just get their audio, but on the 1999 DVD, it looked rather different than you’d expect. “Looks” he says? Yes. If you switched your DVD player into non-anamorphic mode, you’ll get their three heads appearing at the bottom of the screen. They’ll shuffle about while they talk about the film, pointing up at the screen, but I didn’t watch it all the way through, so if they nipped out for a Cornetto, then I missed that.

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

The four Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters 2 is, as the name suggests, the sequel to the original 1984 blockbuster. Five years on, the team are no more. Egon still does research into the spirtual plane, Ray and Winston are doing childrens parties in their Ghostbusters gear and Peter hosts a cheap cable TV show called “The World of the Psychic”.

What brings them back together are more spooky goings-on, preceeded by a mysterious force that sends Dana’s baby buggy careering down the street and into the traffic. Yes, she’s got a kid, the result of a broken marriage. She hasn’t seen Peter for a long time. Will the forces of nature get them back together? What do you think.

As the plot, what there is of it, progresses, we find that the city of New York is full of “mood slime” that reacts to the same human emotions as we do. Couple this with a painting of an ancient tyrant named Vigo (Wilhelm von Homburg) which brings its subject back to life and who commands the museum manager, Doctor Janosz Poha (Ally McBeal‘s Peter MacNicol) to get him a child at whatever cost so that he may walk the Earth again and you have a reason for the Ghostbusting quartet to resurrect their defunct business and save the city again, especially when the R.M.S. Titanic comes to town…

When it comes to how both films fare I’ve loved Ghostbusters ever since I saw it for the first time.It’s rare to get a film with excellent comedic timing and even rarer for director Reitman, as his films can be hit or miss. For every Twins there’s a Junior, for every Ghostbusters there’s a Ghostbusters 2 and for every Stripes there’s a Six Days Seven Nights.

For the sequel, it loses its way completely. A very odd storyline could have been developed well, but those in charge turn it into one that’s neither engaging nor funny. Actually there is one funny gag – near the start when Ray and Winston attend their last childrens party and sing the famous song. After they chant, “Who Ya Gonna Call?”, times have clearly moved on and all the kids chip in with “He-Man! He-Man!”. Well, you had to be there.

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

The lovely Jennifer Runyon…

And for the Ghostbusters 2 extras:

  • Time is But A Window: Ghostbusters II and Beyond (16:16): A follow-on with Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and journalist Geoff Boucher.

  • Scene Cemetery (aka Deleted Scenes) (7:27): Seven of them. Nothing major that needs to go back into the film, but it’s always good to see such clips when the film’s over 30 years old.

  • Bobby Brown – On Our Own Music Video (4:36): From the days when he had a wedge for a haircut. There’s also Donald Trump walking out of Trump Tower. Buckle up, America, you’ve got four more years from him soon.

  • Original Trailers (6:06): A teaser and two trailers.

All of these are repeated on disc 3, but… there’s an extra trailer. Check further on….

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

But can she guess what’s on Peter Venkman’s card?

Disc 3 is a bonus disc which gives you extras for Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II and “The Real Ghostbusters“.

For the two movies, some of the extras from the first disc are repeated, which is a bit odd. However, I understand the movie discs are from the 2014 release, with disc 3 being the new addition. I’m guessing that since the films are getting released in 4K for the first time – which will be on their own discs in the 5-disc boxset, they won’t have the extras from the regular Blu-rays, and so we have a mish-mash of discs from older releases in this box.

The Real Ghostbusters is a ‘Pitch Concept Pilot’, a fan restoration by Robert Barbieri (3:52): I remember this cartoon back in the day. It wasn’t brilliant, but it filled a gap. Still, it did surprisingly well, as it ran for seven seasons from 1986 to 1991. None of the original cast were involved, however. In fact, this piece feels like a random set of clips from the series, so I’m not sure what Mr Barbieri is meant to have done?

Looking at the extras, there’s the following relating to Ghostbusters:

  • Scene Cemetery (16:47): 17 clips, all shown separately rather than as one video file with individual chapters, so I had to get my calculator out to work out the total length. Some scenes are a work in progress, without the finished effects.

    Ten of these were on the 1999 DVD, although I can’t remember which ones offhand, as I’ve had a sleep since then.

  • Ghostbusters TV Commercial (0:27): The “We’re ready to believe you!” advert used in the film.

  • Ghostbusters TV Commercial – Outtakes (5:01): Does what it says on the tin.

  • 1984 Showest Exhibitor Reel (12:11): Clips of the film with a brief intro from Murray and Aykroyd, put together for a convention.

  • A Moment with the stars: Original EPK Featurette (15:11): Brief Q&A questions where the Q is a title card, and various cast and crew members answer the questions.

  • 1984 featurette (9:32): Again, from the 1999 DVD, this plays like an extended trailer and features short snippets of chat from the three guys and Sigourney Weaver.

  • SFX Team featurette (15:21): Again, from the 1999 DVD, where it was called ‘Meet the SFX Team’, it’s an intriguing featurette with all those involved chatting to camera, are describing how various scenes were put together including the Marshmallow Man, levitation and some explosions.

  • Cast and Crew featurette (10:52): Chat from key cast and crew members mixed in with clips from the film.

  • Alternate TV Version takes (1:30): Back in the ’80s, some films on TV were so badly censored, it was painful to watch. For example, as Murray would normally say after defeating Slimer in the posh restaurant, “We came, we saw, we KICKED ITS ASS!”, here it’s, “What a knockout of pure fun that was”.

    Also, instead of the ‘dickless’ comment, it becomes “Wally Wick”, and when Venkman is asked for clarification, he replies, “It’s true, your honour, the man is some kind of rodent, I don’t know which.”

  • Multi-angle explorations (5:22): Remember multi-angle extras on DVDs? They were a thing for a while, and were used on the 1999 DVD under the name “Special Effects: Before and After”, an excellent little addition in which three major SFX scenes, “Spook Central Exploding”, “She’s a Dog” and “Crossing the Streams” can be seen, as it says, before and after, via the use of the DVD’s multi-angle feature.

    I play Blu-rays on my PS4 and, despite having the console since October 2015, this is the first time I’ve actually used this feature. You have to go into the PS4’s control panel from the controller, and select ‘angle’ to toggle between them, so it does work, but it’s a bit of a faff. Still nice to see it’s still being implemented, though.

  • Storyboards (5:37): Again, from the 1999 DVD, the three scenes from that were “Slimer” in the hotel corridors, “Gozer” (nearly) bumping off our heroes and Sigourney Weaver “Becoming The Gatekeeper”, with each scene sitting within the 4:3 TV window with the widescreen image at the bottom – showing the scene in question – and the relevant in the top half of the screen.

    Here, no.2 and 3 are swapped round for no particular reason, and while “Slimer” is still nameed the same, the others become “Dogs Drag Dana” and “Atop Spook Central”.

  • Music video (4:18): Ray Parker Jr’s Ghostbusters theme.

  • Original Trailers (6:06): Two teasers (1:28, 1:04) and a trailers (2:15). All are in 16:9, but then comes a 2.35:1 Theatrical Trailer (1:32) for the 30th Anniversary. I wanted to go and see this, but it wasn’t showing anywhere near me 🙁

And some extras repeated from disc 1:

  • Who You Gonna Call: A Ghostbusters Retrospective (24:01): Whereas on disc 1 this extra has no chapters, here, it has three.

  • ECTO-1: Resurrecting a Classic Car (15:37): Putting the car back together.

  • Gallery 1988 Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Print Collection: This is repeated, but there are also more from the 1999 DVD…, namely Storyboards, Production Photos (formerly ‘Ghostly Gallery’), Design concepts (formerly ‘Concept Drawings’) and a new one, Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Gallery (5:27) which is a series of pictures of the car with the original score behind it.

And for Ghostbusters 2:

  • The Oprah Winfrey Show: Cast of Ghostbusters II – June 1989 (43:17): A full episode with the four men, Sigourney and Janine.

  • Ghostbusters II Original EPK (41:37): A big behind-the-scenes feature. This wasn’t on the UK DVD as there was barely any extras on the GB2 disc at the time.

    And then ALL of the disc 2 extras, but with an extra Unfinished teaser trailer (1:46).

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

Vigo. He may be mad and bad, but he looks like he’s just farted.

Both films have just 16 chapters, although I always live by the rule of thumb that films should have one chapter every five minutes, as well as one for the end credits.

For the menus, while the first film’s menu loads, you either get some sort of electric shocks images or a PKE meter device, and for No.2, there’s Vigo in his painting.

When you get to the main menu for No.1, there’s a static with a short of the cast in the window of ECTO-1, and the Ray Parker Jr theme tune playing out, and kudos to Sony for featuring the entire song over the menu, which is rarely ever done by any studio. This is the same for disc 2 as well, even though Ghostbusters 2 has Bobby Brown’s On Our Own as its main theme.

Disc 3 just has an instrumental of the Ray Parker Jr theme.

Languages and subtitles are detailed below, but they’re a bit annoying in that even though I’m going to select English SDH, I can’t press ‘back’ after selecting it. I have to scroll down through all the other options to get rid of that sub-menu.

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition is out now on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray.

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition – The package and the discs…
…with a ZX Spectrum Next behind.

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition – How disc 1 is presented

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 Special Edition – How discs 2 and 3 are presented

Running time: 105 minutes
Year: 1984 / 1989
Distributor: Sony SBR PD07930
Released: September 28th 2020
Chapters: 16 per film
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Widescreen: 2.39:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio

Ghostbusters Languages: English DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, French 5.1, German Dolby Surround
Ghostbusters 2 Languages: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, French 5.1, German Dolby Surround, Italian Stereo, Japanese Dolby Surround, Portuguese Mono, Russian 5.1 VO, Spanish (Castilian) Dolby Surround, Spanish (Latin American) Dolby Surround, Thai 5.1

Ghostbusters Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish, Turkish

Ghostbusters 2 Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Thai, Turkish

Disc 3 subtitles: English SDH, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish

Ghostbusters FILM CONTENT
Ghostbusters 2 FILM CONTENT


Director: Ivan Reitman
Producer: Ivan Reitman
Screenplay: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis
Music: Elmer Bernstein

Doctor Peter Venkman: Bill Murray
Doctor Raymond Stantz: Dan Aykroyd
Dana Barrett: Sigourney Weaver
Doctor Egon Spengler: Harold Ramis
Louis Tully: Rick Moranis
Janine Melnitz: Annie Potts
Winston Zeddemore: Ernie Hudson
Walter Peck: William Atherton

Ghostbusters 2:

Director: Ivan Reitman
Producer: Ivan Reitman
Screenplay: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis
Music: Elmer Bernstein

Doctor Peter Venkman: Bill Murray
Doctor Raymond Stantz: Dan Aykroyd
Dana Barrett: Sigourney Weaver
Doctor Egon Spengler: Harold Ramis
Louis Tully: Rick Moranis
Janine Melnitz: Annie Potts
Winston Zeddemore: Ernie Hudson
Doctor Janosz Poha: Peter MacNicol
Vigo: Wilhelm von Homburg