Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call Ultra 4K 2D / 3D HD Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Proton-packed and taking the supernatural world by storm, the Ghostbusters: Answer the Call Extended Edition debuts on digital September 27 and on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray October 11 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Armed with more ghostbusting action and plenty of attitude, the new Extended Edition features more than 15 minutes of never-before-seen film footage. Director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today. Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon comprise the team of four dynamic women, along with Chris Hemsworth, who prepare for an epic battle in Manhattan as mischievous ghouls descend on Times Square. The Extended Edition Blu-ray and digital releases come loaded with both the extended edition and theatrical version of the film along with an incredible treasure trove of bonus features, including 15 deleted, extended and alternate scenes, gag reels, filmmaker commentaries, plus more than 60 additional minutes of extended and alternate scenes available with Ultraviolet download.
Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Particle Physicist, Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), is up for tenure at Columbia University. Years earlier, Erin and her former best friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) wrote a book together about the paranormal. Without Erin’s permission, Abby is selling the book on amazon. A ghost problem at the Aldridge Mansion in New York City, brings a man seeking assistance to Columbia to seek out Erin’s assistance. Erin heads straight to Abby, demanding that the book sales cease. 

In exchange for an introduction at the mansion, Abby agrees. Abby and her colleague Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) head to the scene of the ghost sighting with Erin. Abby brings untested equipment which soon lights up in the presence of the paranormal. Although skeptical, Erin soon finds herself face to face with an angry, floating apparition. After being slimed, the three ladies jump excitedly, screaming that ghosts are real on the sidewalk. That video it soon online and Erin is out of a job.

Abby promises that her lesser known college will be happy to have Erin on staff. A meeting in the Dean’s office reveals that he was unaware of the existence of Abby’s department and soon she is unemployed as well. Feeling confident from their recent paranormal experience, Abby, Erin and Jillian rent the space above a Chinese restaurant to start their new business. The business needs a receptionist, and Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) is the only applicant. He asks inappropriate questions, can’t answer the phone and covers his eyes when he doesn’t want to hear something……but he sure is handsome. Erin, in particular, can’t stop noticing how attractive Kevin is. Kevin is brought on board just in time for their first client. 

An MTA employee named Patty (Leslie Jones) has recently had a run in with a ghost in a subway tunnel. She asks the women for help, and quickly joins the team. Abby and Erin are the brains of the operation. Holtzman creates the gadgets and Patty supplies the vehicle. The women soon discover that someone is behind the paranormal activity. They must fight the living and the dead to save New York City from total destruction. 

I was disappointed when I saw this film in the theater. I didn’t think the film needed to be reimagined with female leads and I was unimpressed with most of what I saw. The updated ghosts and other scary things was certainly an upgrade from the original films but I missed Venkman and Spengler. The second and third times around, with lowered expectations I enjoyed the film a lot more. I was no longer irritated at what an idiot Kevin is, and I enjoyed watching Chris Hemsworth be silly. 

The extended edition offers 15 extra minutes with many added laughs, but made the film feel less appropriate for young children. I realize the film has a PG-13 rating but we allowed our 8 year old to see it, who loves Ghostbusters and never repeats foul language (and frankly loves crude humor). I’m not generally a fan of 3D. It is usually full of cheap gimmicks and things flying at the audience unnecessarily. However, Ghostbusters is a film that lends itself to 3D viewing. It’s worth it to see the levitating ghosts and ectoplasms coming at you. Even in 2D the film extends beyond the expected range with streams of energy and sparks going into the black bars beneath the widescreen movie.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)

3D Video (4 out of 5 stars)                                     4K UHD (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call pops off the screen in 3D. The paranormal is the most fun to explore in 3D. In both versions, you’ll take notice of the vibrant blues and pinks that are associated with those no longer living. The yellow and reds from the ghostbusting equipment is also incredibly bright. In 3D you do lose some detail, noticeable in darker moments and clothing. The UHD version is sharper, brighter and is the only way to see the extended minutes, so it makes sense that the combo pack includes both versions.
Audio (5 out of 5 stars)

3D Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)                            4K UHD (5 out of 5 stars)
The incredible Dolby Atmos soundtrack is regrettably only found on the UHD Disc. It provides a near perfect track that takes full advantage of every supernatural thing that goes bump. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that you’ll find on the 3D disc is pretty good and both handle the creatures zipping across your side channels. Dialogue is even and consistent in both films, legible throughout when spoken or screamed. It is almost hard to put your finger on it, but everything just sounds a step better, more realistic, and closer to home on UHD. You’ll find an unusual amount of language options on both discs.
Extras (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 3D disc contains no additional bonus content and only the theatrical release of the film. The UHD contains the extended cut and the Blu-ray offers both options. Digital extras are available only with iTunes, Vudu and Comcast. The combo pack contains the following extras:
  • Filmmaker Commentary - Writer/Director Paul Feig and Writer Katie Dippold provide an entertaining audio commentary. They offer details about the filming process and planning as well as anecdotes in the well balances commentary.
  • Audio Commentary – Editor, Producer, Production Designer and Effects Supervisors are included in this, more technical commentary. This commentary manages to be informative, but still fun and is worth the time.
  • Gag Reels – There are so many laughs on set that you’ll find the Gag Reel in two rounds, each lasting over seven minutes).
  • Deleted Scenes - Past Lives, The Big Test, The Breakup, and Where Are You?. 
  • Extended & Alternate Scenes (1080p, 21:14 total runtime): Erin Walks to Class, Phil & Phyllis, The Duke, The Dean, Bennie & Erin, Protect the Barrier, The Beasts of Mayhem, Casper, Visine, Where's the Walkie, and Rebecca Gorin.
  • Jokes a Plenty –One liners and alternate takes titled Free for All, Holtzman Gone Wild, The Patty Show, Kevin Unleashed, The Dean Goes Down, and The Bird
  • Meet the Team - Director Paul Feig and cast discuss the main characters and the actors who play them.
  • The Ghosts of Ghostbusters – A look at the array of ghosts that appear in the film with a focus on testing, makeup, costumes and digital effects.
  • Visual Effects: 30 Years Later – A discussion of the digital effects and the practical items used to create the final product.
  • Slime Time – A look at the ooze that flows through the film.
  • Chris Hemsworth is "Kevin" – Details Hemsworth’s portrayal and his lesser known comedic skills.
  • Photo Gallery – Concept art
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call has grown on me. With the many cameos in the film, I have to assume that the original cast approves. Watching the film in the theater it was a bit sad to see people miss those cameos, with a younger generation of viewers in that audience being unaware of the original films. This is the first film that offers 3D effects well in 2D but you’ll be glad that Sony offers both 3D and 4K UHD in the same combo pack. With excellent audio and video in both formats and a healthy list of bonus features, this is a set to own. It’s not an outstanding movie by any means, but it is enjoyable and fun to watch.

Order your copy today!

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