Before we begin , I 've to state something. I'm a Ghosthead., therefore you could think that even if this DVD sucked I would loved it anyway, and you're probably right, however I'll try to be s neutral as possible.
Let's start with the cover, shall we? The box is well build, not those cheap carton box I often get. Plastic borders, garantee sticker on the top and a secured closure. That's really fine. Now for the cover, you should remember that when the cover art has been released to public general reaction was average. After seeing it "real life" I've to admit that while the "Ghostbusters" word should have been a little bigger... the cover looks just great, very colorful it catch the eye which is what a cover art is supposed to do. Better than the look-at-the cloud poster ( although I like its darkness) but , of course , not better than the no-ghost logo on black background.
The estetical surprises do not finish here. I actually seen the DVD disc, on screenshot the art print on it wasn't that great but , again, in real life the result is not bad , but black color instead of white should have been welcome.
The box also included a "production notes booklet" which is infact a leaflet, anything to report here.
Having a DVD-Rom drive as my unique DVD playback solution I inserted the disc in my computer. As it entered , by autoplay, there's a setup program starting, installing the DVD-Rom features of the disc. Seeing the common setup splash screen with the guys and Slimer as a back-screenshot during the setup process, was unusual and very cool, the GB entered the 1999 era of computering!
Don't worry I started the DVD now. Columbia Tristar logo, menu. I've seen the menu in hundreds of screenshot all over the web and also some movie clips, but seen in full screen at high resolution is another thing. Esthetically , there are amazing, in the main menu screen the ghostly lights flying around generating noises , seeing all little cars on roads and Stay-puft walking on the corner is very suggestive, especially with the theme by Ray Parker Jr. My favorite menu screen being "Spook Central" with thunders, moving clouds and theme by Elmer Berstein.
All the menus are camouflated There aren't just selection screen but they are stuck in some kind of environment, thus we have elevators doors with buttons highlight when choosing them, or a cinema theater exposing posters of the 3 of the 4 trailers on disc. A nice detail I noticed is that there's actually animated clips in the scene selection menu and that in the Video commentary menu you can actually hear and see a clip of it while the GB theme is playing.
The menus are used with ease, being divided in two main branch, "Spook Central" and "Features" , all cross linked. Maybe the "Activate Feature" entry can be confusing. Clicking here will start or resume the movie with the features you just selected.
Been lot of extras on disc I decided to watch the movie "clean". It was a shock to seen GB on my _computer_ but a part that, I was amazed by the video quality. The picture is perfect. I compared it to some others DVDs I have, Lethal weapon 4 , Batman Returns which are known for very good quality, no differences. Since I got the DVD , almost a month ago now, I've seen the movie 7-8 times and I still continue to me amazed. The image is sharp, colors are vidid and saturated, contrast is great. Blacks , which concern picture quality lover, are true black. Any kind of artifact, are seen , maybe some times , and I mean 1 or 2 times, you can see microscopic scratches on the image but you have to look for them. As for sound I prefer to not judge since I've a Stereo system with by SB16 having problem with the right channel.
While watching I played with subtitles. They appear as yellow text, well done , they are synchronous to the dialogue, sometimes the omit some words , but generally they a re very faithful to the speeches , above the average. I was surprise there weren't subtitles for deafs.
And now the extras. I'm not going to list them again! The ones I got most interest in were the fueaturettes they are the first thing I've seen after the movie.
My favorite in the 1984 "On scene with the Ghostbusters" featurette ( AKA Making GB) I was really curious about this one I don't remember having seen it 15 years ago. Actually this is only some kind of long-commercial advertisement, featuring some neat on-shooting footage, interview with the crew's key members some cool footage from the Entertainment Effects Group labs with models of ghosts Terror dogs etc. It's nice to watch it and you make a jump in the past seeing Bill with his hair not yet white. The encoding quality is not at the level of the movie and the image appear a little washed out and slight out of focus but nothing really annoying. The clip is encoded in 4:3 and even the movie clip are pan& scanned.
The second featurette is the 1999 one. It presents interviews with Dan, Harold and Ivan and discuss 3 main subjects: If the success of the movie was expected, what in their opinions worked in the movie and why and how the movie affected their lifes. There's some very interesting point highlighted mostly by Ivan and Dan, the latter also explain shortly it's vision of ghosts. I found this featurette a very nice watch and instructive in some ways. The quality this time is perfect , been recorded this year. This time the movie clips are letterbox from the new master they use for the DVD. By the way maybe the clips are too long, probably to feel the gaps. And the absence of Murray , Weaver and Moranis is a pity too.
The third , the SFX featurette, disappointed be a little. I expects some making of shots, with tech explanation and lab views, instead we have interview with the crew cut by movie clips. The discussion is quite general and never goes in to details. It is , actually, a remembering-session where pieces of stories are told. The guys are cool so it's nice to hear them, but I'd like something more focussed.
All of the three featuretee has no subtitles which is a shame, both for audio impaired and for third-langue-speaking English people like me. I don't understand why they did not added them , I don't think it would have been hard...
One of the most awaited feature has been the deleted scenes. Not one not two not three but 10 deleted scenes. While you can easly understand why some of them has been removed those scene are interesting and well chosen. Some are very hilarious. Unfortunately there's one scene available on the Laserdisc which is missing on the DVD, very stupid by CTHV. The video quality of the deleted scenes is "100% biological with no artificial additions" , I mean those scene clearly has suffered not even a clean up ( like the washed out featurette) so the image present lot of scratches and colors are pale. Personally, I make fun out if it, I mean those are deleted scene never used and re poor quality adds a historical value, it really seems to see something got from buried archives and I like it. Those recordings are letterboxed 4:3 too.
Among the Behind the scene stuff, the DVD offers , first of all , production notes, ran as standard subtitles, during the whole movie. Those are provided by Don Shay , author of the Making GB book. It's really cool to see the movie in that way , similar to the "pop up video". Being subtitles mean you can quickly switch them off but why should you? Unfortunately, though there's not he entire notes from the making GB book and , I believe, there are missing some important notes like the fact that Ivan decided to resurrect Dana from inside the TDog to add drama or the iconographic significance of Stay Puft. I really do think that lot of studios should do as CTHV made and add this kind of subtitles to their DVD releases.
And now on another of the most talked feature , SFX comparisons with angle controls. Here again , there's scene on DVD that aren't on LaserDisc and viceversa, this is a pity. The scene are designed so you can change between no-SFX display to the full-SFX display. I need to say that I'd preferred a split screen comparisons because is much natural to compared and also because the angle switch takes about 1.5 seconds to happen so you have to anticipate the angle switch. With some training is easy but is kinda annoying. They no-SFX movie part looks dated and has not been restored , while the full-SFX is the new master , high quality. Concluding I think this is a bad use of angle feature which is really made to show alternate footage, but the clips presented are interesting, especially the final explosion of the Shandor building
Do not desperate. There's another features , the Storyboard to film comparison which is great. It's a split screen comparison of 3 scenes in the movie with the original storyboards. Using spilt screen this is a nice experience, but what I really liked is that the camera zooms & pans on the storyboards in the upper part of the screen to indicates camera and scenes movements. Thus the camera rubles on the storybords when the table it the wall in the Ray encounters with Slimer. I really like this feature too, I would have make plenty of those , there's still 2 Gigas on disc. This also is 4:3, with movie clip from the new master
Then there's the pictures galleries. There's TONS of pictures, almost 1000 of them from conceptual drawings, to production photos to storyboards. While the pictures they self are great I 've some note to do. First of all some pics on the Making GB book are not present , which is annoying, and then that it may happens that some pics on the conceptual drawings are close ups of the previous picture , highlighting some text or drawing details. The main reason of this , and here we come to the third note, is because of the move the pictures are presented. While production photos and the SFX galleries are not involved , the conceptual and draft galleries are shown not in full screen and not plain , but spinned , which reduced the view rage and definition of the images. This could be bad for a viewer and this could really pisses of a GB fan , which look for details. The storyboards too are spinned a little but there's no side effect you would notice.
Yes; I kept the video commentary for last , simply because sue some tech probs I can use this feature properly , I can hear audio but have troubles with the shilouettes. I can see them for 3 secs that they start dancing all over the screen. I got a feeling for a moment of what it could be and it's nice. well actually the shiluettes help the listening to the commentary, since off-voices let you concentrate on sound but you don't know how to look making it a little pain. . Having shiloette to watches relax your mind. The technology used is interesting.
I like this DVD and it is really a top of the notch products , technically speaking is great , but what troubles me are those little things thing missing like scenes from Laserdisc or subtitles in extra materiel or weird way to display concept drawings. . This is not an unfinished product at all, it just that it would have made it more complete, but is also true that we are probably excepting too much from this DVD , and I think that Columbia really made the best DVD out there, lotta stuff, excellently presented , high quality rendering. That's amazing! I believe that CTHV really crated a new way of experiencing movies, let you understand what's behind, in front and trough it. Of course you need a certain movie to make such an experience, great films and GB is one of them. The next step IMO, is to include extra footage and put in in angles controls , to see the movie as you went, but this is for the future. DVD a future standard? If the DVD disc of the next year are of this level yes defiantly. Go get it!
As for GBFans , well, you can learn from this DVD most of the thing we learned in 15 years, still, there's new stuff too! I think that's there's nothing to say, this disc is a huge database of GB stuff and you should already have it. The 2.35:1 remaster alone is a sufficient reason to get it but really there's too much there you'd better get it!