Ghostbusters Double Feature review, Ghostbusters Double Feature DVD
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver,
Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts
Ivan Reitman
Double Feature Gift Set

Reviewed by Jason Zingale


t’s hard to imagine that the original concept of “Ghostbusters” was centered around a pair of space-traveling ghost hunters (as we learn on the commentary of the first film), but with help from the writing-directing duo of Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman (respectively), “Ghostbusters” was turned around into one of the most successful movies of 1984. The film also redefined the action-comedy genre in the process with a brilliant comic team made up of “SNL” and “SCTV” alums, and a hilarious script that exploited each comic’s individual strengths. Bill Murray easily carries a majority of the film with his dry, deadpan humor, but when his efforts are combined with Dan Aykroyd’s wacky persona, Ramis’ seriousness, and Rick Moranis’ nerdy half-wit, you get nothing short of comic gold.

“Ghostbusters” far exceeded everyone’s expectations as a comedic achievement, and due to its incredible success, a sequel (“Ghostbusters II”) was made five years later. “Ghostbusters II” also lived up to everyone’s expectations… of sucking, but it’s really not that bad of a film when viewed unbiased from the original. Still, even the cast’s chemistry and the clever performance by Peter MacNichol can’t excuse the mistake of Vigo, the super cheesy villain that the Ghostbusters battle in this second coming of the franchise. And now, you can relive all of your favorite childhood memories again with the re-release of both movies in the “Ghostbusters: Double Feature Gift Set,” a two-disc DVD box set featuring the two films in separate slim cases, and a “Ghostbusters” Movie Scrapbook that features early storyboards, concept art, and trivia.

Both films have been re-mastered and transferred over to disc in widescreen video formats, and boast Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks. Aside from that, there aren’t too many differences from the previously released discs in 1999, although that particular “Ghostbusters” DVD actually houses more extras. Among some of the bonus material you’ll notice missing are the “Pop Up Video”-type trivia facts and the “MST3K”-style audio commentary, but these aren’t big enough grievances to get upset over. The film definitely looks, and sounds, much better than the previous versions, and the barebones “Ghostbusters II” disc has been beefed up a little with two episodes of the spin-off cartoon series, “The Real Ghostbusters,” which was actually a pretty solid cartoon back in its day.

That’s all you’re going to find on the second disc, but the “Ghostbusters” DVD - despite missing some key extras - still offers a good collection of special features, starting out with a full-length audio commentary with director Reitman and co-star/writer Ramis. The audio track is a decent discussion on the behind-the-scenes moments of the film, but it sometimes feels dry and uninspired. It’s a pity that Murray and Aykroyd didn’t sit down to record a supplemental commentary track for this new collector’s set, but seeing as they haven’t been on the best of terms since Murray refused to make a second sequel (he owns 1/5 rights of the film), it doesn’t look like any sort of reunion will ever be in the mix. The rest of the disc is packed with an aged, and equally cheesy, 1984 production featurette on the making of the film, an updated cast and crew featurette with interviews from both sides, and four special FX features that range from scene specific comparisons to concept art of the film’s many ghosts and locations. Rounding out the special features section is even more concept art, storyboards, and a Scene Cemetery offering ten, very mediocre deleted scenes.

“Ghostbusters” is one of the best action-comedies of the 80’s, but it doesn’t feel dated watching it today. The sequel, on the other hand, is certainly worth passing on if you’re not a fan of the franchise. If you already own the 1999 release of the original, this is probably a set to avoid. If you don't have either movie, the new video transfer and the addition of the movie scrapbook make “Ghostbusters: Double Feature Gift Set” a collector’s item that you should get your slimy hands on.

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