Ghostbusters (2016)

Forget all the hyperbole about an all-female cast and man-hating: Is this Ghostbusters reboot any good simply based on merit? Yes and no. The movie retreads familiar ground and tries too hard to emulate its predecessor but has fantastic special effects. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones are a group of paranormal hunters. McCarthy and Wiig play longtime pals once estranged from each other, reunited when Wiig is fired from her position at Columbia University due to McCarthy’s publishing of a book they wrote years earlier expounding on the existence of ghosts. McKinnon is an eccentric physicist, and Jones is a New York subway worker who’s also a history buff. The four unite to fight a scourge of ghosts being mysteriously unleashed in New York City. The movie has the signature green slime, “Ghostbusters” pop hit, and amazing special effects, but many of the jokes fall flat, and the cast of talented actors doesn’t quite gel. Both theatrical and extended cuts of the movie are supplied. was shot on the Arri Alexa XT at 2.8K resolution and utilized a 2K Digital intermediate, so this 2.39:1-framed UHD disc is upscaled to 4K. The benefit is the wide color gamut and dynamic range of HDR. The colors look magnificent, natural, and practically explode from the screen. One trick the filmmakers employ is breaking the confines of the letterboxing bars during CGI effects, so even in 2D, the image looks three-dimensional. On the included Blu-ray 3D disc, which represents a post-production conversion, there is strong added spatial depth and pop-out with the CGI effects.

A Dolby Atmos track backward-compatible with TrueHD 7.1 is provided. It isn’t the most engulfing Atmos mix, but it has standout moments, most of which come during the hyperactive finale where ghosts fly around overhead and behind you, and there are various explosions with low-end thump. A giant Casper stomping through Times Square rattles the floorboards. Dialogue is clear throughout.

Ghostbusters is stuffed with extras, including two pleasant-to-listen-to audio commentaries and five featurettes. The cream of the crop, however, are the hilarious gag reels and the “Jokes A Plenty” outtakes. “The Visual Effects: 30 Years Later,” exploring the evolution from the practical effects of the 1984 film to the CGI effects of the reboot, is interesting too. Also included are a 2D Blu-ray, an UltraViolet copy, and a special offer for 50 percent off digital movies.

Studio: Sony, 2016
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos / TrueHD 7.1 core
Length: 116 mins./134 mins
MPAA Rating: PG-13/Not Rated
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon