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Ghostbusters: Afterlife Home Video Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Feb. 12, 2022 at 11:50 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Home Video
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment recently released Ghostbusters: Afterlife on home video in the following formats: 4K UHD/Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, and Individual DVD. Thankfully, there are no store-exclusive releases or digital-exclusive special features this time, so this will be a fairly straightforward rundown of comprehensive details on what to find in each release. It should be noted that this review only covers United States releases, though it will likely be applicable to Canada, too. Not sure about Mexico or areas outside of North America. I suspect that the discs are, for the most part, the same worldwide, but I can't say for sure, so I'll just err on the safe side and cover what I know has been released here in the U.S.

-- THE MOVIE --

The movie is rated PG-13 for supernatural action and some suggestive references. If you haven't seen the movie yet, the first 10 minutes have been uploaded to the official Ghostbusters YouTube channel, so take a little time and watch it.


I've already written a brief non-spoiler review, and a lengthy, critical spoiler-filled review, so there's not much I really need to say about the movie. Of the three canonical Ghostbusters movies, I would rank Afterlife third. While Ghostbusters II and Afterlife both have their fair share of major problems, Ghostbusters II is better in two significant ways.

(1) They didn't wait so long to make Ghostbusters II that we couldn't get all four Ghostbusters as a team again. Yes, I know how Afterlife ends, but that's just schmaltz that feels like "too little, too late". (2) Ghostbusters II gives us a new villain and new scenarios.  It doesn't recycle Gozer and the Terror Dogs and replay scenes from Ghostbusters verbatim. Yes, I know Ghostbusters II follows the same story structure as Ghostbusters, but it doesn't copy-and-paste the same story and score elements.

If you take off the rose-tinted Ecto Goggles, you'll realize that Afterlife plays out like bad fan fiction with a story that doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Several characters are underdeveloped, too many elements from the 1984 original are flat-out ripped off for the sake of nostalgia, and it feels like a much longer movie that's been "edited to fit in the time allotted".  The lack of an Extended Cut on this home video release is a crying shame.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy watching Afterlife. I certainly did. It has a lot of really cool moments and my birthday bestie, Mckenna Grace, is an absolute delight. Enjoy it for its fun moments and ignore the story.  The parts are better than the whole.

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-- 4K ULTRA HD/BLU-RAY COMBO PACK --

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BUY IT: 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack

This two-disc combo pack is not for the average mainstream consumer, as you will need a specific type of player and a specific type of television in order to watch it. For the 4K ULTRA HD disc, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR, Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and a high-speed HDMI 2.0A cable.

This release uses fan art by artist Richard Philpott that Jason Reitman loved on Twitter. The first print run includes a slipcover/slipsleeve. Inside the case, you get two discs, each adorned with different artwork. The 4K ULTRA HD disc features artwork of Phoebe in the gunner seat firing into the clouds. The BLU-RAY DISC features artwork of the mischievous Mini-Pufts. A digital copy voucher is included that redeems on Movies Anywhere in 4K UHD. This voucher is the only insert included.

DISC 1 - 4K ULTRA HD
Video: 3840x2160p Ultra High Definition, in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, with a 2:03:56 runtime over 16 chapters.
Languages: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible), English Audio Descriptive Service, French 5.1, French Audio Descriptive Service, Portuguese 5.1, Portuguese Audio Descriptive Service, Spanish 5.1, Thai.
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai.
Special Features: None. Just "Previews" for Spider-Man: No Way Home (2:56), Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2:36), A Journal for Jordan (1:40), Morbius (2:47), and Uncharted (2:24).

DISC 2 - BLU-RAY
Same disc as the Blu-ray release listed below, so jump to that section for the specifications.

Yeah, there are no special features on the 4K disc, leaving the Blu-ray disc to carry the load. Sadly, this is rather standard for 4K/Blu-ray combo packs. So, after you watch the movie in ultra high definition, you'll have to get up and switch discs if you want to watch the special features.

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-- BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO PACK --

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BUY IT: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

This two-disc combo pack is the one that most people will buy. The discs included here will play on any standard Blu-ray player and HDTV.

This release uses a modified version of the original poster art (the Ecto-1 in the field version), which awkwardly shoehorns Carrie Coon into the group. I wonder why they never did this with Winston when reusing the Ghostbusters poster photography on other things. The first print run includes a slipcover/slipsleeve. It's also worth noting that the slipcover says "Blu-ray + DVD + Digital", but the case artwork underneath says "Blu-ray + Digital". This makes me wonder if future runs won't include the DVD disc. (UPDATE 3/18/2022 - The second print run updated the case artwork to also state "Blu-ray + DVD + Digital", as I observed today in a local Best Buy store, where I took this photo.) Inside the case, you get two discs, each adorned with different artwork. The BLU-RAY DISC features artwork of the mischievous Mini-Pufts. The DVD DISC features no artwork at all; just plain text on the silver disc. A digital copy voucher is included that redeems on Movies Anywhere in HD. This voucher is the only insert included.

DISC 1 - BLU-RAY
Video: 1920x1080p High Definition, in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, with a 2:03:56 runtime over 16 chapters.
Languages: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Audio Descriptive Service, French 5.1, French Audio Descriptive Service, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Portuguese Audio Descriptive Service, Spanish 5.1, Thai.
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai.

Here is a list of all of the Special Features that can be found on the Blu-ray disc, with some preview clips that Sony uploaded to the official Ghostbusters YouTube channel.
  • Summoning the Spirit: Making Ghostbusters: Afterlife (19:50) - A rundown of various aspects of the film, starting with the genesis of the story and the pre-production meetings. Characters are discussed in this order: Phoebe, Trevor, Callie, Podcast, Lucky, and Gary Grooberson. The locations are discussed in this order: Farmhouse, Egon's Lab, and Temple of Gozer. The jumpsuit costumes are discussed, followed by a look at directing the original cast, and a somber conversation about Harold Ramis' absence and passing the torch to a new generation. Overall, fairly generic stuff, though there are some bits worth noting. At 1:16 & 15:27 is footage of the filming of the post-credits scene at the Los Angeles firehouse in August 2021. At 8:00 is B-roll of a deleted scene between Callie and Sheriff Domingo after she shops at the hardware store. This scene is not on the disc. At 14:15 is a clip from an Adam Savage video in which costume designer Danny Glicker points out a patch flaw. You even hear Adam scoff off-camera. Yet, the entire video is nowhere to be found on the disc. At 15:01 you can see body double Emma Portner on set with everyone else. You'll also see her again at 17:24 (on the left) in the Gozer half-costume. At 15:25 & 16:00 is some B-roll of Janine talking to Dana and Peter at their home in another deleted scene not on the disc. At 16:22 we see Janine at the farmhouse during the finale, which was also deleted from the film and isn't to be found here. Finally, at 16:49, we see a marshmallow-covered Podcast standing in front of the Ghostbusters as Egon dissipates. Although Podcast is there in the final film (he can be glimpsed in the shot from behind the guys), we never see him from the front to acknowledge his presence. Geez, Sony, you're such a tease. (preview clips: Story Concept / Directing The Original Cast, Phoebe)

  • The Gearhead's Guide to Ghostbusters Gadgets (6:12) - The equipment is discussed in this order: PKE Meter, Ecto Goggles, Proton Pack, Ghost Trap, Ghost Tray Array, and Remote Trap Vehicle. Of note is a clip at 2:20 of Phoebe stepping out of the secret lab wearing the Proton Pack, and another at 2:58 of Podcast trying to pry open the Ghost Trap while Phoebe comments, "A wooden ruler versus a metal box. I wonder who will win". Both clips are from scenes that don't appear in the film or on this disc. (The ruler scene is in the film, but without Phoebe's comments.) (preview clips: Proton Pack, Ghost Trap / Trap Array, Remote Trap Vehicle)

  • Spectral Effects: The Ghosts of Afterlife (6:29) - The ghosts and creature effects are discussed in this order: Mini-Pufts, Muncher, and Egon's Ghost. Of note is some Muncher concept art at 3:00, 3:11, and 3:27. Seeing this reminds me of how nice it would have been to have some image galleries on the disc with concept art, photographs, poster art, and other nice things. Oh well, it was a nice thought. Also, if you want to see Bob Gunton as Egon's body double, you'll want to jump to the 5:04 mark. (preview clips: Intro, Mini-Pufts)

  • Bringing Ecto-1 Back to Life (4:49) - The cast and crew let us know how much work went into bringing the iconic car back to life, aging it, adding the gunner seat, and so forth. Ironically, the company that restored the car is named Ghostlight. (preview clips: Intro)

  • We Got One! Easter Eggs Revealed (7:49) - This video points out most of the obvious references and homages, as well as a few of the obscure and easily-missed ones. At 7:10 is more footage from the filming at the L.A. firehouse in August 2021. (preview clips: Clip #1, Clip #2)

  • Ghostbusters: A Look Back (10:37) - Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, and Ivan Reitman reminisce about their time making the 1984 film. The guys are interviewed together, while each of the ladies appears separately. What's remarkable here is that this is the FIRST TIME that Bill Murray has been involved in a new special feature on a Ghostbusters home video release.  It's such a shame they couldn't get him to do something for the Ultimate Collection set.

  • A Look Ahead (3:44) - Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver talk about reprising their iconic roles in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

  • Deleted Scene: Is It Ever Too Late? (1:24) - Janine gives Callie a box containing her father's ashes, and finds the lucky coin she gave Egon (in the "Busy" deleted scene) in the farmhouse. This scene actually contains two Easter eggs that I won't spoil for you.

  • Previews - Spider-Man: No Way Home (2:56), Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2:36), A Journal for Jordan (1:40), Morbius (2:47), Uncharted (2:24), and Alex Rider: Season 2 (2:23).
Sony uploaded a sizzle reel promoting these special features.


DISC 2 - DVD
Same disc as the DVD release listed below, so jump to that section for the specifications.

While Sony has provided a modest collection of enjoyable special features, just like the movie, one can't help but get the feeling that there's a lot missing. For starters, where is the Extended Cut? Jason said in a Collider video interview that "the first cut was easily over three hours and and now we're down to, I think, an hour 56 with credits. So, it's way more slim." Given that the Theatrical Cut feels edited down, this is a movie that NEEDS an Extended Cut. Why is there no audio commentary from Jason Reitman? Where are all of the deleted scenes, some of which we saw in the trailers? Where's the EPK-style B-Roll and Soundbytes? Where are the Adam Savage videos? Where are the promotional vignettes, such as "Passing the Proton Pack" and "Logan Kim takes Podcast's Podcast to the Next Level"? How about the reaction videos from Bill Murray, Mckenna Grace, Celeste O'Connor? Where's the New York Comic Con Panel? If you're thinking that they're on the Ghostbusters Ultimate Collection box set, I can assure you that they're not. That box set treats Afterlife like an afterthought, providing only the teaser, the first two trailers (domestic and international for the first), and a 2019 message from Jason on the set to a group of people gathered at the Sony lot for some reason.

Unlike the original two films, Sony can't claim that they don't know where any of this material is. Afterlife is, probably, the most documented of ALL of the Ghostbusters films. Sony knows where to find every single frame of film, every drawing, every photograph...every everything! I have no doubt that all of this stuff is purposely being withheld for a future release somewhere down the line, such as a "40th Anniversary" franchise box set in 2024.

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-- INDIVIDUAL DVD --

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BUY IT: Individual DVD

This single-disc release uses a modified version of the original poster art (the Ecto-1 in the field version), which awkwardly shoehorns Carrie Coon into the group. I wonder why they never did this with Winston when reusing the Ghostbusters poster photography on other things. The DVD DISC features no artwork at all; just plain text on the silver disc. A digital copy voucher is included that redeems on Movies Anywhere in either HD or SD. (I don't have this voucher to test.) This voucher is the only insert included.

Video: 720x480p Standard Definition (Anamorphic Widescreen), in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, with a 2:03:56 runtime over 16 chapters.
Languages: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Descriptive Service, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, French Audio Descriptive Service, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish.
Special Features: "Summoning the Spirit: Making Ghostbusters: Afterlife" (19:49). Also "Previews" for Spider-Man: No Way Home, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, A Journal for Jordan, and Uncharted (total runtime 12:24); and Alex Rider: Season 2 (2:23).

I guess this release will be the one bought by those who can't afford the other releases. However, it's only a few bucks cheaper than the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, which also includes the same DVD disc, so I really don't see why someone would buy this over the other release. Even if you don't have a Blu-ray player, it doesn't hurt to have the disc for future use.

Interesting, because the DVD case is taller than the Blu-ray and 4K cases, a photo of Phoebe and Podcast in the field has been added to the top of the back cover to fill in the extra space, which gives it one thing that the other releases don't have.

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-- TRIPLE FEATURE RELEASES --

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BUY IT: Blu-ray, DVD.

These releases contain the three related movies, leaving out the unrelated 2016 film. [Ghostbusters (2016) is like the James Bond film Casino Royale (1967). It's an official spoof of the real thing, bearing the name of the real thing, but it's not a part of the official series.] I have been told by my contact at Sony that each contains three discs. So, thankfully, it doesn't have that re-authored "movies only" Double Feature disc for the original two movies. My contact said that the discs are the "pre-2019" releases, so I'm 99% sure this is what's included in each:

BLU-RAY
1. Ghostbusters: Afterlife - 2022 disc with all of the special features listed above.
2. Ghostbusters - 2014 disc with lots of special features, as noted here.
3. Ghostbusters II - 2014 disc with lots of special features, as noted here.

DVD
1. Ghostbusters: Afterlife - 2022 disc with the "Summoning the Spirit" featurette.
2. Ghostbusters - The shitty 2005 disc with a botched movie transfer, botched menus, and botched photo galleries, as noted here.
3. Ghostbusters II - 2005 disc with two episodes of The Real Ghostbusters, as noted here.

If you bought either of these releases, please use the comments section below to confirm what discs are included.

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-- LET'S WRAP THIS UP ALREADY --

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If you're still with me this far, I'm not sure what else I have to say. If the time you just spent reading everything above didn't give you enough information to make an informed decision on this, I don't know what will. Honestly, I'm disappointed with Sony on this. I hate that they left off a substantial amount of special features. I can hold out hope that it'll all appear in a few years when they do the inevitable double dip, but everything should have been on here from the outset. There should have been a second Blu-ray disc dedicated to all of the Afterlife special features.

If you want to buy the physical disc, and you didn't notice the links I gave throughout the review, here they are again: The movie is available on 4K UHD/Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, and Individual DVD. The 3-Movie Collection is available on Blu-ray and DVD. There are no store-exclusives in the United States, so this is all there is. While I have no love for store-exclusives, the three previous films that Sony released under the "Ghostbusters" banner all received Best Buy-exclusive Steelbook releases as part of the "Project Pop Art" series with consistent artwork by artist Dan Mumford back in 2016. It would have been nice if Afterlife was a part of that series.

The 4K/Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray/DVD combo packs were provided by Sony for review on this site.

2 comments

Comment from: mrmichaelt [Visitor]

Dan Mumford did the Best Buy Steelbook covers.

Feb. 13, 2022 @ 06:33
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks, Michael. In the dark recesses of my mind, I knew the name, but it just wasn’t coming forth. Google was of no help as a reminder. - Paul

Feb. 13, 2022 @ 20:30

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