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Ivan Reitman
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson
Writing Credits:
Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis

Be ready to believe us.

The discovery of a massive river of ectoplasm and a resurgence of spectral activity allows the staff of Ghostbusters to revive the business.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$112.494 million.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Surround
Italian Stereo
Japanese Dolby Surround
Portuguese Monaural
Castillian Spanish Dolby Surround
Castillian Spanish Dolby Surround
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Chinese Traditional
Brazilian Portuguese
Castillian Spanish
Latin American Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $26.99
Release Date: 9/14/2014

Available Only as Part of Available Only as Part of the Ghostbusters Special Collector’s Edition

• “Time Is But a Window” Featurette
• “Scene Cemetery”
• Music Video
• Trailers
• Digibook


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Ghostbusters II [Blu-Ray] (1989)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 22, 2016)

Every summer spews it many mega-blockbusters, but 1989 stands out to me as one of the biggest years ever. Batman emerged as the season’s main attraction, but it had a lot of competition from hits like Lethal Weapon 2, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Then there were the disappointments of the summer. Star Trek V remains probably the biggest bust of that season, but some others came up short of expectations as well. I’d count Ghostbusters II in that category.

According to IMDB, II snared a not-insubstantial $112 million at the box office. That figure sounds pretty good, especially since those dollars haven’t been adjusted for inflation; that number would be around $213 million these days. To be sure, we can’t regard II as a flop.

But I think it shouldn’t be seen as a real hit either. The original Ghostbusters took in $238 million back in 1984, a figure that adds up to about $542 million in adjusted dollars. That meant a big decline from the first flick to the sequel.

Or maybe I see II as a dud just because I remember that it left me with a feeling of disappointment. I think I enjoyed the movie when I saw it theatrically, but it didn’t live up to the heights of the original. 27 years later, will I still feel that way? Read on and see!

Set a logical five years after the events in the first film, Ghostbusters II immediately reintroduces us to Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver). In the interim, she got married, had a baby named Oscar, and got divorced. As she heads into her apartment building, the baby’s carriage takes off on its own and zooms through the busy New York City streets.

Understandably, this alarms Dana, so she contacts some old friends. Alas, hard times have befallen the Ghostbusters. Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) tries to keep them alive, but along with Winston Zeddimore (Ernie Hudson), he only can muster gigs as entertainers at kiddie birthday parties. Ray also runs an occult bookstore, while Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) hosts a cheesy cable TV show about psychic phenomena. Only Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) remains in the field.

After the events of the first film, the Ghostbusters went bankrupt and were legally ordered never to pursue spooks. Egon went back into university-level research, and that’s where Dana contacts him to help her figure out what’s wrong with her baby. He brings in Ray, and as a result, Peter comes along as well. Dana and Peter broke up badly, and she doesn’t want him involved, but he tortures Ray and finds out the scoop. The team investigates her situation and tries to find out why Oscar’s pram went so bonkers.

In the meantime, we see that Dana now works at a museum where she cleans up dirty old paintings. She needed more flexibility when she had her baby so she left the symphony, though she plans to return now that he’s a little older. This upsets her boss, Janosz Poha (Peter MacNicol), a prissy European who has romantic interest in Dana. He also undergoes a transformation when a painting of 16th century tyrant Vigo (Wilhelm von Homburg) comes to life and orders Janosz to find a baby to act as his re-entry into human form.

Gee, I wonder whose baby that will be? Ray, Egon and Peter continue to investigate Dana’s case, and they locate a virtual river of slime underneath the streets of Manhattan. Unfortunately, they also bust a power line while they’re down there, and this lands them in court. Judge Stephen Wexler (Harris Yulin) doesn’t believe in ghosts and orders them to go to jail. However, when the ghosts of some killers he once had executed pop up in the courtroom, who’s he gonna call? He withdraws the old restraining order and lets the Ghostbusters off the hook as long as they save his bacon.

This means the boys are back in town, and just in time. The river of slime leads to the museum and it appears some major stuff will hit the fan soon. The Ghostbusters have to deal with Vigo’s attempts to return to life and take over the world along with various other spook-related challenges.

Many sequels do little more than remake the original, and Ghostbusters II falls into that category. I don’t want to describe it as a carbon copy of the first flick, for it does make a number of changes. However, you’ll definitely see many similarities between the two.

I regard that as a disappointment and a lost opportunity. Within the genre, plenty of different storylines exist, and the franchise could have gone off into numerous escapades that displayed little connection to the first movie. Instead, this one’s tale and pacing strongly resemble the original movie. We get a definite feeling of “been there, done that” as we watch.

One prominent change occurs, and it’s not a positive. The loose, carefree and wild attitude of Ghostbusters doesn’t port over to the sequel. You can feel the pressure on all involved to create a blockbuster, and the stress shows. It suffers Big Budget Sequelitis, as it’s bigger and fancier but less inspired and creative. It manages to rehash a lot of the same elements without the same spark or energy.

This means II ends up as sappier, cuter and more sentimental than the original. The introduction of the baby influences those trends. I like that the film develops Venkman beyond his status as a wise-cracking cartoon in the first movie, but I don’t care for the kinder, gentler tone the film takes. It lacks the crackling intensity and feels just a little too family-friendly.

Geez – this discussion makes me look like I hate Ghostbusters II, doesn’t it? But honestly, that’s not the case. In truth, the movie has its charms, and it improves measurably as it progresses.

Much of that comes from Murray’s performance. He sleepwalks through the first third or so, but he slowly starts to come to life. As the flick moves along, he displays more wit and charm; we start to remember why we liked him so much in the original movie. Murray was that effort’s driving force, so the sequel needs his power to make it work. When Murray brings his “A” – or at least “B+” – game here, the film becomes significantly more amusing and enjoyable.

Of the new elements, MacNicol provides the best work. His European of Uncertain Descent reminds me of others like Serge (Bronson Pinchot) in Beverly Hills Cop and Franck in Father of the Bride. MacNicol manages to make a role that could become tedious and inane into something quite entertaining. He’s weaselly enough for the part but he never goes over the line to become a true villain.

On its own, Ghostbusters II winds up as a moderately enjoyable film. It has some laughs and good times attached to it. The movie simply pales in comparison to its predecessor.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Ghostbusters II appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Only minor issues affected this satisfying presentation.

Sharpness offered some mild problems, as a few wide shots came across as slightly soft and indistinct. Most of those instances related to visual effects, but a few seemed less than precise for less logical reasons. Nonetheless, those didn’t pop up frequently, so the majority of the flick looked pretty tight and accurate.

I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws were a non-issue, as the movie seemed clean and fresh.

Colors looked fine. As with the first film, Ghostbusters II used a fairly withdrawn palette, and the tones appeared solid within the design parameters. The hues were acceptably peppy and showed good clarity. Blacks seemed reasonably dense and firm, while low-light shots offered nice range and opacity. This became a strong transfer.

I also felt happy with the fine DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Ghostbusters II. Given the movie’s age, the mix opened up elements better than expected. Much of the material focused on the front channels, but all the spooky action managed to use the surrounds in a convincing manner. Elements moved around the room smoothly and made this a surprisingly immersive piece.

Audio quality also held up well over the last 27 years. Speech always remained natural and concise, with no edginess issues. Music demonstrated nice dimensionality and definition. Effects lacked distortion and were clear on the high-end side of things. They also provided warm, rich bass when necessary. I liked this soundtrack and thought it worked well for the material.

How does the Blu-ray compare to the 2005 DVD release? Audio showed substantial improvements, as the lossless track offered better balanced sound that used the speakers in a more engaging manner. In addition, visuals looked tighter, cleaner and clearer. The Blu-ray trounced the less than satisfying DVD.

While the DVD lacked many extras, the Blu-ray includes a few nuggets about the movie. With the 16-minute, 16-second Time Is But a Window, we get an interview program. Hosted by entertainment journalist Geoff Boucher, we find comments from director Ivan Reitman and actor/writer Dan Aykroyd.

They discuss bringing the sequel to life and aspects of the experience. Reitman and Aykroyd also chat about story/character areas, effects, and various spin-offs. This becomes a good collection of notes, but it’s awfully short, so we don’t learn as much about the film as I’d like.

Within the Scene Cemetery, we locate seven deleted scenes. These fill a total of seven minutes, 27 seconds. We get a bit more exposition – especially via a segment that offers a lead-in to Lewis’s late-film exploits as the “Fifth Ghostbuster” – and we see the ultimate fate of the mayor’s disbelieving aide. Nothing essential shows up here, but we see some fun material.

In addition to three trailers for Ghostbusters II, we greet a music video for Bobby Brown’s “On Our Own”. Dated as the song may be, I still like it, and the video seems fun, largely due to a slew of cameos.

Inside the packaging, we find a digibook. This 28-page piece offers photos, art, essays called “The Story of Ghostbusters” and “The Story of Ghostbusters II” and 1984 bios for Reitman and the main cast. The book adds value to the set – as does a card with “A Personal Note from Ivan Reitman”.

If I could view Ghostbusters II in isolation, I’d probably like it more than I do. Unfortunately, I can’t help but compare it to the original Ghostbusters, and when I contrast it with that classic, it comes up short. The sequel entertains but never makes it to the higher level achieved by its predecessor. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture and audio and a handful of useful supplements. The movie will never be a classic, but it has its own charms, and the Blu-ray conveys it well.

Note that this version of Ghostbusters II is available only as part of a “Ghostbusters Special Collector’s Edition”. This set includes the original Ghostbusters along with the sequel. It sells for the bargain price of about $27 list, which makes it a nice deal if you don’t already own the first film on Blu-ray.

To rate this film, visit the original review of GHOSTBUSTERS II

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