Remastered In 4K: Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters 4k Remaster by Sony

A few months ago Sony made an announcement that they were creating 4K televisions that are supposed to be 4 times the quality of HD.  You can go here and read all about it. In addition to this, they are re-releasing films from their library in 4K transfers. Last week I looked at The Amazing Spider-Man.

Next up is a film that needs no introduction, unless you’ve been living on a remote island for most of your life. I’m talking about Ghostbusters (1984). I was fifteen when I saw Ghostbusters in theaters. It was the summer between my freshman year and my sophomore year; I was in the process of switching schools. I mistakenly thought a vocational school was the right decision for me. Plant Maintenance (carpentry) was not a good fit. To make matters worse, freshman year turned out to be the worst year of schooling I have ever had. I can recall two movies that eased the pain of that first year, Ghostbusters, and some time later, Gremlins.

I went in the afternoon and the theater was so packed that all the seats were taken, and everyone else who came in had to stand against the back wall. And I, and everyone else, loved the movie upon first viewing.

I recall my second viewing as well. It was Christmas Day and HBO was planning on running some mystery movie. Curious to know what it was, I planted myself in front of the TV and hollered out the instant I recognized it to be Ghostbusters. Unfortunately, my household was a year away from getting its first VCR, but had we had it that year, I certainly would have thrown in a tape and recorded it.

Do I even need to explain the plot? If you actually have been living in sheltered seclusion for most of your life, it’s a comedy about three paranormal investigators, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and the poor dude they hire later to lighten the work load, Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson), who end up raking in a lot of money by creating a ghostbusting service where they go out, literally capture the ghost. All this is thanks to Egon and Ray’s creation of some serious cutting edge tech, a special containment unit designed for housing spectral energy.

Eventually, it occurs to them that why they’ve been so busy, and so rich as of late, is that the dead are coming back to life for a reason, and that reason is a Sumerian God that goes by the name of Gozer. It’s a comedy, not a horror movie, but it does carry horror movie elements, and some science fiction, now that I really think about it.

This was a time when Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis were at the top of their comedic game, and the movie is filled with funny and most times hilarious dialogue/one-liners, which has helped to make it a classic among classics.

Now, comes news of Sony putting out these new blu-rays culled from the movies in their library and calling them, “Mastered In 4k.” The controversy I’ve been hearing on forums is that movies, modern ones, anyway, are already transferred from 4k masters, but are down converted for “normal” blu-rays. I’ve also heard them being compared to the now defunct Superbit DVDs. From what I understand, none of these “Mastered In 4k” blu-rays come with any extra features at all, not even a trailer, and in that regard, yes, they kind of do remind me of Superbits. Are these new blues the Superbits of the blu-ray generation? Who knows. Only time will tell, I guess.

They are easy to distinguish, for the MASTERED IN 4K is prominent at the top of their packaging. Initial interest in them was not there, for I assumed they required some special machine to be played on, which I also assumed was soon going to be announced. And, yes, Sony does have a prototype 4k player in development, but I changed my tune once I learned they would play fine on any normal blu-ray player, region free or otherwise. And they do, I can attest to that. I cannot, however, tell you how they look on a 4k TV, for, at the moment, they are far to expensive for me to afford.

Both movies are in a 2.40:1 (1080p) aspect ratio with TrueHD 5.1 audio, while I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with The Amazing Spider-Man—the transfer was visually as stunning as any Sony movie I have ever seen on blu-ray—Ghostbusters was another story. I understand the previous blu-ray release was not as impressive as it could have been. I never bought it, so I can’t compare it to that. What I can do is compare it to my old 1999 DVD, and in that regard it’s a major leap forward. I have, though, read reviews of it on other sites and they all say Sony has made an appreciable upgrade that puts the previous blu to shame. All I can tell you is the colors pop, and the detail was incredible.

I must reiterate, though, if you own previous editions of either of these movies, you might want to keep them, for none of the extras have been ported over.

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