Ghost appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the movie looked positive.
As a whole, sharpness seemed good. Some mild softness interfered at times, but I blamed the era’s bland film stock more than anything else.
Try as they might, they’ll never be able to eliminate the sheer “1990-ness” of the footage. Definition never dazzled, but it was more than acceptable.
Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, and edge enhancement appeared absent. Any potential digital noise reduction remained minor, as the movie showed a decent layer of grain, and the image lacked source flaws.
Colors usually appeared fine. Again, the period’s film stocks meant some blandness in that realm, but the image still showed pretty positive hues. The gaudy outfits worn by Goldberg came across especially well, as they looked vivid.
Shadow detail remained fairly good, as the film’s low-light sequences appeared appropriately dense but not excessively thick. Blacks came across with reasonable darkness. This was a fine presentation given the limitations of its era.
To my surprise, I also felt impressed with the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Ghost, as the soundfield provided a rather active and engaging affair that drew me into the film. The forward spectrum presented a nicely broad and well-spread image that created a lively atmosphere via music and effects.
At times the localization seemed a little spotty, and panning could be a bit weak. For example, in one scene, a subway train moves from right to left, but the audio stayed pretty firmly anchored in the center. However, that scene became an exception, as most of the track showed sound that appeared appropriately placed.
Surround usage also seemed strong. For the most part, the rear channels functioned as reinforcement of the forward speakers, so I heard good atmospheric use of music and effects from the surrounds throughout the movie.
However, at times the rear channels really came to life. This was especially true when Ghost Sam would pass through an object; the audio would give us a “you are there” ambience that was quite involving. While the soundfield of Ghost wouldn’t match up with many modern mixes, it still seemed very positive for its era.
Audio quality seemed generally good as well. Dialogue could be a little flat and occasionally displayed some slight edginess. However, for the most part, speech appeared distinct and natural, with no problems related to intelligibility.
Effects displayed nice clarity and depth, and they lacked signs of distortion, so the various elements appeared clean and accurate. Music functioned especially well as Maurice Jarre’s Oscar-nominated score came across as bright and vivid.
The music showed nice dynamic range as well, with some clear highs and appropriately deep lows. As a whole, I was quite impressed with the audio for Ghost, so it provided a compelling environment.
How did the 2020 “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray compare to the 2008 BD? Audio seemed to remain identical, as both came with TrueHD 5.1 mixes.
As for the visuals, they also appeared similar to the 2008 release. Both exhibited the same strengths and weaknesses, so any potential improvements felt limited at best.
Like other “Paramount Presents” releases, Ghost mixes old and new extras. We start with a running audio commentary from director Jerry Zucker and writer Bruce Joel Rubin, both of whom were recorded together for this screen-specific affair.
Normally the director would dominate this kind of effort, but here the opposite is true as Rubin provides the lion’s share of remarks. His attachment to the piece remains evident as he really digs into Ghost. I learned a lot about his motivations and what he wanted to do with it, and we get a nice look at his side of the creative process.
Zucker doesn’t say as much, but his statements are also valuable. He tends to concentrate less on the introspection and more on the nuts and bolts of the production, and he does so with humor and style.
While you won’t hear any real “dirt” on this commentary, both men show a nice willingness to criticize the piece and to discuss disagreements they had while they made the film. Since so many commentaries focus only on positives and praise, it’s nice to hear a track in which the participants view the project honestly and realistically. Overall, this becomes a fine commentary.
A featurette called Ghost Stories: The Making of a Classic runs 13 minutes, six seconds. We hear from Zucker, Rubin, production designer Jane Musky, and actors Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore (from 1990), and Whoopi Goldberg.
“Classic” looks at how Zucker came onto the project and his collaboration with Rubin, casting, characters and performances, Zucker’s style on the set, and the flick’s success. “Classic” offers a quick but satisfactory recap of the production.
Quite a lot of the information also pops up in the commentary. The inclusion of the other participants manages to shed a little extra light on matters, but don’t expect much new material. Still, this stands as a reasonably good overview.
Next we find the six-minute, 16-second Alchemy of a Love Scene. This show includes notes from Rubin, Zucker, Musky, Moore, Swayze and director of photography Adam Greenberg.
We learn why the filmmakers made Molly a potter and look at Moore’s training in the field. We also learn of complexities shooting the famous pottery love scene and find out about the musical choice for it. “Alchemy” gives us a tight view of the elements that went into the movie’s signature sequence.
In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, we also find a new clip: Filmmaker Focus. It spans six minutes, 24 seconds and brings circa 2020 notes from Zucker.
The director discusses how he came to the project, cast and performances, visual effects, and the movie’s legacy. This becomes an enjoyable chat but it reveals little that we don’t hear elsewhere.
Note that the 2020 Blu-ray drops a photo gallery from the 2008 disc as well as two featurettes. Neither turns into a fatal omission, but I still don’t understand why “Paramount Presents” products fail to provide all existing bonus features.
23 years after it took theaters by storm, I remain unimpressed by Ghost and still can’t figure out what all the fuss was about, but I acknowledge that it’s a generally entertaining and well-made film. It combines a variety of genres into one fairly fluid piece, and though it has its share of problems, it still can be interesting and compelling at times. The Blu-ray delivers strong picture and audio along with a decent roster of bonus materials. I’ll never be wild about Ghost, but the Blu-ray brings it home well, though the 2020 “Paramount Presents” version doesn’t improve on the prior release.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of GHOST