Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary: More than Just Well-done Restoration Work

By Nguyen Le · September 8, 2014

It came out before my parents met, and only until 4th grade did I watch it. I still remember being amazed at the effects, the Ectomobile and the music, sticking to the end while clueless about the language. Thankfully, only the latter has changed but not any of Ghostbusters’ magic.

After a summer populated with duds, the return of classics this weekend – Forrest Gump in IMAX and Ghostbusters in 4K – is definitely a much-needed prescription. And since the price to sit on the bench is a little bit steep, I decided to call our paranormal experts instead. 4K resolution is perfect for the film, considering László Kovács’ photography wants to show off the sets and performers rather than “watch the way I move the camera, Ma!” No more really close-up faces, cut-off frames, hazy lighting, pixelation or antenna/old TV-related issues – now the film can be appreciated in the intended presentation format and maximum clarity. Your ears are bound to be happy too from Elmer Bernstein’s still-effective score and choice of 80's music, not to mention the timeless theme song from Ray Parker Jr. A classic seen, and heard, in the way it’s supposed to be.

And speaking of “the way it’s supposed to be," by understanding English now, this viewing of Ghostbusters has more than just added value in the technical department for me. Each character becomes more than just weird people doing funny things, now I can identify them as human beings. Bill Murray’s Venkman might be a silver-tongue sleaze, but his desperate attempts to impress people – especially Dana, or Sigourney Weaver in relaxed mode – make him endearing. Dan Aykroyd’s Stanz has so much heart and enthusiasm you have to root for the guy. The late Harold Ramis, in my opinion the star of the show, is perfect as Egon, cooking up the most laughs with laid-back delivery and para-science babble. It helps too that Aykroyd and Ramis wrote the screenplay, making the chemistry between the three so palpable. Ernie Hudson’s Winston remains a character in need of deeper exploration, but this is only a remaster and not a recut. Let’s hope this issue will be remedied in the upcoming Ghostbusters (fingers crossed they get everything right before rolling first!).

The biggest surprise, however, is that the effects still look good. The practical ones are outstanding, I have to admit. All the slime-covered, animatronics and explosions do make the supernatural in Ghostbusters something to be reckoned with. Then again, who would’ve expected it to be used for great comic effect too – a floating lady who still respects library rules, a rotting cab driver, a slimer with infinite appetite, that “are you the Keymaster” sequence, the end of the world brought to you by Mr. Stay Puft, etc. Oh, the days when dedication is shown in how much work two hands can do instead of how many hours the computers have rendered…

Still entertaining after all these years – this is more than just well-done restoration work, this is proof Ghostbusters remains a solid example of creativity at its best. Now I will spend the next week humming to that theme song, but before that I will put the Ghostbusters on speed dial. Well, what are you waiting for, let’s put on a proton pack and out to theaters – don’t you know this is a must-attend birthday party?