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Old September 1 2014, 02:51 AM   #1
Trekker4747
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Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

On June 1, 1984 "Ghostbusters" entered American theaters and cemented itself pretty good into popular culture for 30 years now. (Shockingly, the movie has yet to be entered into the National Film Registry.)

This weekend a remastered 4K version of the movie hit theaters.

I went to a screening last night and loved it. I got to see the movie in theaters a couple years ago during a re-release with the Blu-Ray version of the movie hitting shelves. I wasn't to impressed with presentation, I don't think the type of film used for Ghostbusters really lent itself well to high-def. (Though, thankfully, the movie wasn't made horrible looking with too much noise reduction in the video.)

The 4K version actually looked pretty good, but still a pretty "drab" looking film without very vibrant colors. (To contrast, I saw Back to the Future in a theater re-release (coinciding with that movies BD release, as well) and it look positively vibrant and alive on the big screen. I doubt film changed that much inside of a year so I suspect Ghostbusters was on slightly more restrained budget necessitating cheaper cameras and film, not to mention a filming style to better fit the movie's tone and setting.

Anyway, it was fun seeing the movie again on the big-screen and Bill Murray in this role is utterly a delight to watch. Also it was nice to watch the movie and reflect on Harold Ramis who passed away earlier this year and his role of Egon Spengler.

Just a good movie, one (and it's ensuing franchise) that had a great impact on my childhood. Small audience size, but it was pretty early in the evening when I went to see it. A family and their two younger children where in the seats behind me, the children seemed to enjoy it. Man around my age was a couple rows ahead and laughed pretty good at all of the jokes and comedic moments (mostly from Murray and Moranis) in the movie.

Just a good time.

Happy Anniversary, Ghostbusters.
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Old September 1 2014, 04:52 AM   #2
davejames
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

Yeah I went to a showing as well, and was surprised they were actually showing it on the huge XD screen instead of one of the regular screens.

Unfortunately I have to agree about the picture quality. If there was a 4K restoration, it's hard to tell if it really made any difference, because the picture was still grainy as hell (even by 1980s standards), and even downright blurry at some points. In fact I'd swear my blu-ray copy looked a whole lot better than this the last time I watched it.

Still though, the movie itself is just as funny and awesome as ever. And the effects hold up better than I would have imagined on the big screen as well. The only thing that really looked dated were the animated terror dogs, but even that didn't stand out nearly as much as I expected.
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Old September 1 2014, 04:57 AM   #3
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

I am on my way to a showing in less than an hour.
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Old September 2 2014, 08:12 PM   #4
Trekker4747
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

davejames wrote: View Post
Yeah I went to a showing as well, and was surprised they were actually showing it on the huge XD screen instead of one of the regular screens.

Unfortunately I have to agree about the picture quality. If there was a 4K restoration, it's hard to tell if it really made any difference, because the picture was still grainy as hell (even by 1980s standards), and even downright blurry at some points. In fact I'd swear my blu-ray copy looked a whole lot better than this the last time I watched it.

Still though, the movie itself is just as funny and awesome as ever. And the effects hold up better than I would have imagined on the big screen as well. The only thing that really looked dated were the animated terror dogs, but even that didn't stand out nearly as much as I expected.
Yeah a lot of the added-in-post stop-motion terror dogs stuff looked rough. But most of the movie, particularly the Stay Puft scenes, holds up very, very well.
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Old September 2 2014, 09:04 PM   #5
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

I dragged my boyfriend to a screening, and he has an increased appreciation for the movie.

At times some of the SFX would bleed through, like a taxi cab being visible through a building gargoyle or a "ghost ball" (when the containment unit exploded) also being visible behind a skyscraper. In some areas, you could also tell when several shots were spliced together to make a single scene. But really, most of the rest of the FX held up wonderfully, like the ever-dependable proton streams.

But even better for me -- even though I've seen the movie dozens and dozens of times, the huge screen revealed more sight gags and jokes than I remembered; for instance, when Venkman and Peck are arguing in Peter's office, Janine's head pops out to look at the commotion. That was the first time I noticed it. And of course, the jokes still work anyway, but they work even better with a crowd to laugh and applaud with you. When I watched it last June at Millennium Park in Chicago, the crowd clapped no less than seven times during the movie, the first time being when Slimer was captured.
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Old September 2 2014, 09:16 PM   #6
Trekker4747
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

It's fun to watch the movie and just notice everything else going on in a scene. Notice when Venkman rushes out of his office to greet Dana and jumps over the barrier door his foot clips the door a bit. Bill Murray came awfully close to either a concussion or killing himself with that stunt!

Also notice that as Venkman is discussing with the hotel manager the cost of their services Egon indicates, subtly, with his fingers how much to charge.

Sunshine Biscuit Company product placement all over the place and so many fun little things. Just a good movie.
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Old September 2 2014, 09:35 PM   #7
davejames
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

Well I suppose the other thing that looks really dated now are the matte paintings of Dana's building. Kind of a shame they didn't rely instead on miniature models instead, because those would have held up much better over the years.

And I didn't notice many new details myself, although somehow I had never really heard or paid attention before to Louis's dialogue at the end, when he asks why he can't ride along with the others in the Ectomobile.

It also cracked me up how absolutely ancient Dana's TV looks now. Hard to believe that's about as good as the picture quality ever got back then. Lol
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Old September 3 2014, 03:58 PM   #8
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
It's fun to watch the movie and just notice everything else going on in a scene. Notice when Venkman rushes out of his office to greet Dana and jumps over the barrier door his foot clips the door a bit. Bill Murray came awfully close to either a concussion or killing himself with that stunt!

Also notice that as Venkman is discussing with the hotel manager the cost of their services Egon indicates, subtly, with his fingers how much to charge.
-I noticed for the first time during the screening that, when Dana was talking to the guys the first time around, Peter walks behind Dana and motions to Egon and Ray to make the job sound procedural with protocols. Egon and Ray momentarily look at each other concerned but then follow up without missing a beat -- Egon says he'll research the usual literature and Ray will look up her building's blueprints. Of course, the two of them are far more interested in the job itself.

-This one I noticed, not at the screening but still only within the past couple years, but when the boys face off against Gozer and Peter goes all military (throwback to Stripes?), the phallic innuendo starts:

Venkman: Grab your stick!
The rest: HOLDIN'!
Venkman: Heat 'em up!
The rest: SMOKIN'!
Venkman: Make 'em hard!
The rest: READY!

It's funny how all this goes over your head when you're a kid.

-And props to Ray. It was the first time that I realized his dedicated to Dana's case, at least on camera. Dana was their first case and a couple months at least pass between the interview and the climax. But we had no footage of Egon following up with his research until Louis/Vinz came along (though we know that Egon did his homework), and Peter was far more interested in Dana than actually solving her problem, but Ray on his own accord and without prompting from anyone else was still reading up on blueprints towards the end (and how did he manage to get it into their jail cell?).
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Old September 3 2014, 06:23 PM   #9
davejames
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

Yeah I noticed that as well. It seemed like quite a lot of time had passed before Venkman got back to Dana with the news, which makes me think some scenes got shifted around a bit in editing.

I also found myself wondering more about how exactly the technology works, and how Egon could have possibly come up with any of this stuff, or thought it would be effective on ghosts. Whether it's the proton packs or the traps or the containment system. Somehow it all looks fairly credible on the surface, but if you stop and think about it for a second it's definitely a stretch.
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Old September 3 2014, 09:46 PM   #10
Trekker4747
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

It's pretty implied Ray and Egon had been working on this stuff for quite sometime and it was the libraian ghost in the beginning that gave them the data they needed to push them over the edge in developing the technooogy.

The timeline certainly is odd. When Dana visits the firehouse Ecto-1 is still a heap, but then during their first call it's painted and in perfect working order.

So a few days had to have passed.

The guys enter Dana's apartment on the 22nd floor but the portal is clearly several stories higher on the roof, it doesn't seem the hidden staircase goes that high.

Also the matte shot of the stairwell makes the building seem much higher than the ten or so more stories between the "teens" (where they say they're at in the stairwell scene) and the the mid/late 20s (the height of the building.)

Peck's concern that the Ghostbusters are scam artists extend well past his pervue as the head of the EPA, he also manages to stop the Ghostbuster's business without much evidence they're doing anything wrong. He also easily dimisses the expertise of the ConEd man and the owners of the equipment concerning the dangers of just shutting it off.

And the guys were strapped for cash to start their business, they had to put the down payment on the firehouse and repair, buy and repair the car, build specialized proprietary equipment and produce a commercial and buy ad time on local TV. So considering how strapped they are for cash and the last of their petty cash comes in the form of Chinese take-out it's odd some of that money went to buy arcade cabinets (in the b/g in before their first call.)

And, again, apparently Peter (who is not a medical doctor, nor is Egon or Ray) goes on a date with a good dose of a prescription heavy anti-psychotic.

Go to say though, Dana/Zuul would be hard to say no too.
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Old September 3 2014, 09:47 PM   #11
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

The only movie I've seen in the theater three times in first-run. (The third time I was making sketches to build my own mockup proton pack for Hallowe'en.) But it appears there's still a lot I missed. Time to break out the DVD again!!!

davejames wrote: View Post
I also found myself wondering more about how exactly the technology works, and how Egon could have possibly come up with any of this stuff, or thought it would be effective on ghosts. Whether it's the proton packs or the traps or the containment system. Somehow it all looks fairly credible on the surface, but if you stop and think about it for a second it's definitely a stretch.
It is a stretch, but Egon also didn't just come up with the stuff and hope it worked. They had a good scientific knowledge of ghosts already ("Class 5 free-roaming vapor") and detection equipment that was already proven. Presumably Egon had come up with enough commonalities regarding ectoplasm that he knew how to detect it, and from there how to affect it.

The really big leap, of course, is being able to do that having almost never seen any ghosts. I'd hope that sometime between the library scene and the hotel scene they had a few more encounters in the field. Not a "successful test of this equipment", but maybe one or two experimental particle streams to see if the spooks react.
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Old September 3 2014, 10:55 PM   #12
davejames
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

One other odd thing is why everything else came back as a ghost or spirit... except for that one cab driver who was a corpse for some reason.
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Old September 4 2014, 02:17 AM   #13
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

davejames wrote: View Post
Unfortunately I have to agree about the picture quality. If there was a 4K restoration, it's hard to tell if it really made any difference, because the picture was still grainy as hell (even by 1980s standards), and even downright blurry at some points. In fact I'd swear my blu-ray copy looked a whole lot better than this the last time I watched it.
A 4K restoration was done in 2010 - 11, presumably after someone at Sony realized that the 2009 Blu-ray had absolutely abysmal color timing. I'm reasonably certain, after having seen the film multiple times in both the '11 and '14 re-releases, that they (and the 2013 Blu-ray) came from the same remaster.

That being said, a remaster isn't going to make a movie look like it was shot yesterday, and nor should it. While it's not a terribly effects-heavy film, the effects that are present were incredibly labor-intensive and took a lot of time for all the effects shops to complete, barely meeting deadline in more than one case. As a result, Ghostbusters was shot on an extremely high-grain film stock (some variety of Kodak 250T or 400T; I don't have any magazine articles in front of me at the moment to double-check). This was done to, essentially, cover up the seams in some of the dodgier shots (the stop-motion with the Terror Dogs, for example).

So you can run the film through a computer as many times as you want, but it's always going to look grainy as hell unless you put a ton of DNR on it ... and then you get the abomination that was the 2009 Blu-ray.

davejames wrote: View Post
One other odd thing is why everything else came back as a ghost or spirit... except for that one cab driver who was a corpse for some reason.
Well, we still haven't explained why the walls of the 53rd precinct were bleeding.
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Old September 4 2014, 02:41 AM   #14
Trekker4747
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

That's what I thought I had remembered, Timby, that the movie was shot on dodgier film that doesn't lend itself to well to a remaster producing a nice, cleaner, image as is the case in other recent remasters of older films.

The BD release does look horrible, one of the reasons why I never bought it. Short of some good special features, which aren't likely to be noteworthy after the passing of Harold Ramis, I honestly don't see myself ever getting a BD/HD versions of the movie.

It's either going to look like crap because of an over-zealous restoration or simply because it was shot on such dodgy film.

The movie looks good enough on DVD and I'm happy with it.
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Old September 4 2014, 03:01 AM   #15
Timby
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Re: Happy Anniversary: Ghostbusters

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
That's what I thought I had remembered, Timby, that the movie was shot on dodgier film that doesn't lend itself to well to a remaster producing a nice, cleaner, image as is the case in other recent remasters of older films.

The BD release does look horrible, one of the reasons why I never bought it. Short of some good special features, which aren't likely to be noteworthy after the passing of Harold Ramis, I honestly don't see myself ever getting a BD/HD versions of the movie.

It's either going to look like crap because of an over-zealous restoration or simply because it was shot on such dodgy film.

The movie looks good enough on DVD and I'm happy with it.
Grain isn't inherently bad -- it's just the way the film was shot. It was filmed in 1983, which is when there was a pretty big seismic shift happening in the world of film stocks; the decade saw the introduction of much faster stock, but it took a while for the grain issues to be worked out. Ghostbusters and its sequel came out during what was very much a transitional time in terms of stock. The original film was shot on a soon-to-be-discontinued Kodak variety (I'd bet money it was one of the last major films ever shot on those earlier stocks, which had been in use for decades). Ghostbusters II, conversely, was shot on a newer 5295 stock, which was incredibly low-grain and low-contrast, and also used a different photochemical process, supposedly more environmentally friendly than C-41 (which was relegated to strictly black-and-white film not terribly long after) -- which is one of two big reasons Ghostbusters II looks so different from its predecessor.

In any event, the 2013 Blu-ray is a mammoth, night-and-day difference from the 2009 Blu-ray, which somehow managed to look worse than the 2005 DVD (which is amazing, considering the 2009 and 2005 discs were struck from the same master). The 1999 DVD is the best in terms of color timing, but the improved sound and the better picture on the 4K Blu-ray seals the deal for me; I only pop out the 2009 Blu-ray if I'm looking to watch one of the special features.
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