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Ghostbusters: The Video Game - Ghostbusters 3 Movie DVD & VHS Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Nov. 19, 2019 at 10:53 PM , Categories: Home Video, Games
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Ten years ago, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was released and it gave us the third movie that we had been waiting 20 years for. Even Dan Aykroyd considered it to be "essentially the third movie". However, unlike most "movies", it was never released in a home video format, even though other video games of the era were (see: Lego Batman 2). That left the fans to fill that gap with several cutdowns of the game's story uploaded to YouTube. The longest one was already released on an unofficial/bootleg Blu-ray. Now, a shorter one has gotten a physical release...with a twist!

Ghosthead Gianni Belotti took Dan Aykroyd's words to heart and decided to turn the video game into a Ghostbusters III home video release. He started with the almost two and a half hour (2:22:15) re-titled "Ghostbusters III" cutdown video by GamestersStuff, which features gameplay on a Xbox 360 system.


Ghostbusters III - The Video Game Movie
Published on November 12, 2014 by GamestersStuff

Now, if you're looking for an accurate and complete representation of the video game's story, look elsewhere. Both GamestersStuff and Gianni have made changes to the original game footage. Gianni made even more changes, with his version now running seven seconds shorter at 2:22:08. Gianni's video starts with the logos for: Sony into Columbia Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Ghost Corps, and Threewave. You can compare that list with the video embedded above to see what's different. The other big difference you will find is that Gianni matted the original video into a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, presumably to make it more "film-like". In doing so, portions of the game's on-screen text is cut off, which I find very distracting and takes me out of the "movie" more than it if were left alone.

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One change that Gianni did not make was changing the title to "Ghostbusters III". That alteration appears in GamestersStuff's original video.

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The entire video feels like an "edited to fit in the time allotted" version. A lot of stuff was cut out by GamestersStuff to condense it down to the most important story points. Don't expect to see Peter and Rookie walking though the kitchen en route to the ballroom, Winston and Rookie trudging through a dark and spooky laundromat to get to the back alley, or any appearance from the dreaded stone angels in the cemetery. To be fair, the longer cut by BrySkye that was used on that Blu-ray runs for three and a half hours. Most movies don't run that long. So, a two and a half hour cut is more "movie like". For what its worth, GamestersStuff put the "Experimental Equipment Technician" scene in the original place (it was moved in BrySkye's video), and added in a little bit of the cemetery's maze section with the rookie that's missing in BrySkye's video.

There are a few lines that have been cut off in GamestersStuff's original video. At 1:29:31, when they're in the Sedgewick lobby for the second time, Ray says, "If this place is a Mandala node, a few burnt walls and broken ceilings are the last thing that anybody's..." A few minutes later, at 1:36:03, after the team turns the hotel power back on and exits the kitchen, the manager says, "Thank God, you're..." (the word "here" is completely cut off). About ten minutes after that, at 1:47:01, is an interesting occurance of a dropped line. After entering the building on Shandor Island, Winston's line, "I'm gonna get us all name badges that say, Hello..." is cut off when the gameplay cuts off for a pre-rendered cutscene.

It should also be noted that eagle-eyed viewers, such as myself, may spot a few frames here and there containing digital artifacts ("digital squares" as I like to call them). These are mainly in a frame or two at the end of a shot, though on occasion they're at the beginning of a shot. They are present in GamestersStuff's original video, and were not introduced in Gianni's editing process. Below is an early example (image cropped), with the artifacts circled by me so they're easy to spot. The few cut-off lines and quick glimpses of "digital squares" are the only flaws to be found.

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As far as I can tell, the only edits Gianni made were the logos at the beginning and the very loud music at the end. The newly added music is much louder than the game audio, so be sure to keep the remote handy. The first instance of new music is right at the end of the movie. When Slimer comes in to slime Ilyssa, this really loud and obnoxious rock music is piped in, drowning out her dialog. It ends a few seconds later when the scrolling credits start (right after another "Ghostbusters III" title screen that was added by GamestersStuff). Here we get a snippet of the Extreme Ghostbusters theme performed by Jim Cummings. That is followed by some dance song that I can barely understand the lyrics to, some random instrumental piano piece, and finally "Ghostbusters" performed on a piano. There are no added credits for the new music. The movie ends with the classic Columbia Pictures logo, which was moved by Gianni from the beginning of the movie.

Overall, it's not a bad effort by Gianni, or GamestersStuff for that matter, but I prefer the more complete and accurate presentation by BrySkye. This is good, though, if you need something that can better fit onto a DVD. Speaking of which...

Gianni sent me two physical releases of his Ghostbusters III. The first is on a DVD, with high quality case artwork.

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As you can see, the artwork is meant to be reminiscent of late-1990s releases, such as the first Ghostbusters DVD. I have to say, Gianni really knocked it out of the park with the attention to detail on the physical release. Open the case up, and you'll not only find a beautifully-labelled dual-layer DVD+R disc with almost 8GB of content on it, but you'll also find a dual-sided Chapter Index insert card! Remember when DVDs used to have Scene Selection insert cards and booklets with production notes? One side is the same artwork as the front cover, the other lists the 31 chapters.

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The DVD features some great picture menus, over which some really loud Ghostbusters fan music plays. The music is nice, it's just REALLY loud. Again, be sure to keep the remote handy.

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The Ghostbusters III movie is presented on the DVD in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen with English 2.0 stereo audio. The menu lists English subtitles, and gives you the option to turn them on and off, but none are actually present. The following bonus features can be found on the disc.

Behind the Scenes (11:06) - This is the same video game featurette that appeared in the PS3 version of the game and on the 2009 GB1 Blu-ray. It's watchable, but there is a little reduction in quality, likely due to downsampling. You can see it best around Egon's eyebrows, nose, and chin in the GB1 elevator clip at 7:30 (see cropped image below). Also, the audio starts to go off sync around the 9 minute mark and gets worse until, by the very end two minutes later, the interviewees mouths no longer match their words.

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Theatrical Trailer (1:59) - A fan-made video game Ghostbusters III trailer with a fictional release date of June 12, 1998.

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Two episodes of Extreme Ghostbusters are included, presented in the original 4:3 aspect ratio. They are based on the Hulu rips that sourced the bootleg Blu-ray and my DVD set. The quality is not as good as either of those releases since Gianni needed to add extra compression in order for them to fit on the disc, but they are complete and most definitely watchable. Just like my DVD set, but unlike the bootleg Blu-ray, the chapter marks are in the proper places (the commercial break spots). "Fear Itself" has the Sony Pictures Television logo at the end, while "Grundelesque" has the original Columbia TriStar Television and BKN logos.

Fear Itself (21:55) - A night club owner uncovers a series of catacombs which are protected by a ghost who can see into people's fears and turns them into reality. The gang has to pull together to face each other's fears and end up finding in the long run that the ghost's fear is human beings.

Grundelesque (21:58) - Kylie takes it upon herself to "consult" with the most powerful entity in the containment unit in order to stop a ghost, who looks remarkably like a childhood friend of Kylie's who disappeared. Things go from bad to worse, however, when the entity gets loose, and the two ghosts team up. The Extreme Ghostbusters must recapture the Grundel and release Kylie's friend from a seven-year spell.

There are also two Easter Eggs to be found. Highlight the hidden text if you want to know how to find them.

Theatrical Trailer #2 (1:40) - Another fan-made video game Ghostbusters III trailer; this one based on the real "When Disaster Strikes" game trailer that appeared on the 2009 GB1 Blu-ray. To find it: go to Bonus Features, DVD Credits, highlight "Back To Extras", press RIGHT, ENTER.

The Real Ghostbusters Uncut Restored Pilot (4:02) - While the restored pilot appeared on the Ghostbusters 1&2 4K UHD & Blu-Ray Set in 1920x1080 high definition, it did not include the film reel's original leading and trailing footage. That extra footage is found here, and there is no added credit to Robert Barbieri, making this a purer version of the original film reel. The video is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, but pillarboxed into a 16:9 frame. Although it's not in HD, I think that it looks better than the Blu-ray because it barely flickers. To find it: Go to Title 6 on your DVD player. There is no way to access this through the menus.

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There is also DVD-ROM content to be found if you put the DVD into your computer's optical disc drive. Obviously, all of you using laptops without optical disc drives lose out on this.

Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent Fan Script PDF (4th version, 7/1/2017, 208 pages) - Before you get too excited, this is not Dan Aykroyd's unused movie script from the 1990s. This is fan fiction by Jarol-Tilap. It is described on its title page as: "Second sequel to Ghostbusters, created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Borrowing elements from Ghost Smashers, Ghostbusters The Video Game (2009), plot synopsis of unused script Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent, and the Real Ghostbusters season 4 episode Flip Side."

The back of Gianni's DVD case artwork lists "Reworking Shandor" and "Music Videos" as special features, but neither of these items are on the disc.

Besides the DVD, Gianni also sent me a VHS copy. Yes, you read that right - A VHS VIDEOCASSETTE! I take some solice in knowing that I'm not the only one who still uses VHS in 2019. Gianni's VHS is in a hard plastic case (like the rental stores used to use) with artwork reminiscent of late-1990s VHS releases.

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To further add to the late-1990s retro feel, the videocassette bears a white Columbia TriStar Home Video label of the era.

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For whatever reason, the T-120 tape took about a dozen tries before my VCR would load it. Even though the tape looks to be in great condition, my VCR kept spitting it out. I have no idea why. It did not do that with any of my own VHS tapes. Once I finally got it to stay inside the VCR and play, I was greeted with the classic Columbia TriStar Home Video, preceded by three seconds of leading blackness. Although the video was duplicated in the EP/SLP speed, my VCR didn't have any issues with tracking. Personally, I would include 20 seconds of leading blackness to allow for tracking...but that's just me.

The tape opens with 16 minutes of coming attractions, trailers, and advertisements - just like a real VHS. Furthermore, almost all of them are from 1999, which is the fictional release year of this videocassette:
  • Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You - Can't Hardly Wait, Shadrach, 8MM, Stuart Little (BTS promo), Muppets From Space, Ghostbusters (2016).
  • Coming Soon to Home Video - The Nuttiest Nutcracker, Baby Geniuses.
  • Now Available on Home Video - Animorphs, Godzilla: The Animated Series, Extreme Ghostbusters/Men in Black/Jumanji.
These ads are followed by the following screens: classic blue CTHV FBI warning, Surround Sound, "Stay tuned after the movie for behind-the-scenes and an episode of Extreme Ghostbusters", and "This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit this screen."

Then the movie starts, and true to the preceding screen, it's presented in a cropped 1.33:1 (4:3) aspect ratio. While you should NEVER watch it this way, I have to give Gianni credit for staying true to how movies were presented on VHS back in the 1990s. (The image below was photographed off the TV screen, which is why the quality is poor. It is being included to show how the image is cropped, not to show the image quality. It wasn't worth hooking up the VCR to my computer just to grab one frame.)

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In terms of length and content, the movie is exactly the same as on the DVD. Aside from the cropping, of course. It is immediately followed by the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "Fear Itself" (21:48), though the Sony Pictures Television logo has been removed at the end. I assume Gianni did this to make it more authentic to the 1999 "release date". Right after that is the Behind The Scenes featurette (11:06) found on the DVD, only here is has been anamorphically squeezed into 4:3. That's, actually, the appropriate way to now put widescreen content onto VHS, so that you're filling the entire video image with actual video content and not black bars. If you set your TV to 16:9 while watching this, it will appear as proper widescreen. There is nothing else on the tape after this. The entire runtime of the tape is a little over 3 hours. The entire second half of the tape is blank.

Although the VHS is playable (after a dozen tries), with there being an uncropped anamorphic copy on the better quality DVD format, the tape is more of a novelty collectible item than something to watch. Though it should be noted that none of the coming attractions/trailers appear on the DVD, but everything else is - and more!

If you want a copy of this DVD or VHS, you can buy it through Gianni's Etsy page for $15.00, where he can be found under the username SPM1Occult. The DVD is also included, with Gianni's permission, as part of Spook Central's Disc Preservation Project - Limited Edition Physical Release. A dual-layer DVD ISO file and all related artwork files can be found on that flash drive.

4 comments

Comment from: Gianni Belotti [Visitor]

Thanks for the tidbits made here, so I might as well explain the errors that were present.

Picture: I wanted a legit crop, but an overlay was the last choice. The leftover text being there would always happen regardless of what I do. I might as well point out I had no issue with how Gamester presented the movie in terms of scene placement. Also the featurette definitely had that lip sync issue when I first found the file since I noticed it during the making.

Music: The ending music does have noticeably louder sound, and I wasn’t aware due to awkward sound mixing that existed on my computer at the time of editing. I have upgraded computers and the boost is more noticeable. Those songs are: GruellingTerror Cover to XGB theme, Unfixable by Will Ryan, Welcome to the Sedgewick from the game score, and my custom piano cover of the GB theme. Also the menu (and secret trailer) got the PumPS song that was meant for the game. The other menu music was the 2009 re-recording and more of the GruellingTerror cover.

That Easter egg: The path always gets wiped out during the making, although the trailer one always works. Not sure how that happened.

Miscellaneous: I kinda prematurely quit the actual subtitles, but I’ll most likely bring them back for later discs. The Reworking Shandor and Music Videos stuff was supposed to happen, but I was REALLY inexperienced which led to me saying “forget it”. The VHS was supposed to be Long Play, but the VCR I had couldn’t do it, which leads to a LOT of leftover blank tape.

Anyway, these are all fair points to take note of. I could remake the DVD menu and footage to make things more functional and maybe switch software. I used DVDStyler which might’ve led to some problems noted here. If someone contributed with a Xbox One X/PS4 Pro recording of the remaster, it’d be perfect.

Fortunately I have an Etsy page to purchase the thang ding. I have plans for other things, like the TV cut of GB1, and unrelated stuff like a repro dvd of Gadget’s Greatest Gadgets and Season 1 of Pepper Ann. (Paddi Edwards didn’t just voice Gozer, ya know) My Twitter/Instagram/Discord stuff did have stuff regarding it too.

T- SPM1_Tweets
I- spm1_instantgrahams
D- SPM1Discord#6031

Thanks for the critique.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/754702227/ghostbusters-3-unofficial-project-1998

Nov. 20, 2019 @ 07:35
Comment from: [Member]

Hi Gianni

Thanks for providing the Etsy link and the additional information on the production of the project.

I hope you don't think that I was being too harsh in my review. I was trying to be fair. I don't want you to feel like I was saying, "You suck". I wasn't. I appreciate your efforts - certainly better than what I can do - and I'm happy to hear that you're working on a revised version that fixes some of the issues with this one.

Which TV cut of GB1 do you plan to work with - 1987 ABC 4:3, late-1990s 4:3, or current 16:9?

Nice to see that I'm not the only one who fondly remembers Pepper Ann. You know that she's too cool for seventh grade, right? They say that she's one in a million! Bet I just got the theme song stuck in your head. :-)

Oh, I know about Paddi Edwards. She voices Flotsam and Jetsam in my favorite Disney animated film: The Little Mermaid.

-- Paul

Nov. 20, 2019 @ 17:39
Comment from: Gianni Belotti [Visitor]

I knew there was no negativity in that sense. It’s fine. I knew there were some odd quirks I wanted to fix beforehand, but couldn’t go back. I’m just wondering if there’s any potential to fix it up at some point later. Maybe those scrapped features will return in said revised version. And if there’s a way to spice up music videos, hook me up with someone who’ll do just fine. If not, it’s fine.

And trust me, that theme’s never leaving my head, and that’s coming from someone who keeps humming the Gadget theme. I’m also one of the peeps who want this show on Disney+ and/or DVD :P

And maybe I’ll put out a DVD compiling the episodes from those Magic Window tapes ;)

Almost forgot to mention the TV cut. Most likely late 80’s or 16:9 with whatever I can to fill in the gaps. Those trailers’ll be the only bonuses, that’s for sure.

Nov. 20, 2019 @ 21:45
Comment from: [Member]

There's definitely some room for improvement in your DVD. If you ever made a big revision, I'd be happy to cover it and re-review it.

A few of those RGB Magic Window tapes have the alternate music not in thew TimeLife set, or even in Sony's DVD. Details found here:
https://www.theraffon.net/~spookcentral/rgb_alt.htm

I have the 1987 4:3 ABC cut here, but it's highly compressed:
https://www.theraffon.net/~spookcentral/gb1_1-29-1989.htm

I have the 2018 16:9 TV cuts of both GB1 & GB2 here (analog transfers):
https://www.theraffon.net/~spookcentral/scblog/2019/10/31/halloween-treat-ghostbusters-videos-collection

-- Paul

Nov. 21, 2019 @ 16:02

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