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Ghostbusters: Special Edition

Writers Harold Ramis and Dan Ackryod knew they were on to something when they created Ghostbusters, demonstrating that horror and comedy can be two great tastes that taste great together, and paving the way for other top-grossing sci-fi spook-outs such as Men in Black. Ramis and Ackroyd star along with Bill Murray as trio of New York academic burnouts who take their interest of the paranormal into the private sector as "Ghostbusters," a company that specializes in spiritual-pest extermination. But after a few routine removals of Big Apple hobgoblins, the 'busters soon discover that an apartment building on the edge of Central Park is a demon-beacon, as spooks take possession two residents (Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis) who will summon up "Zuul," the alpha-female of the netherworld. How could things get worse? It's hard to imagine, unless you are unfortunate enough to cross paths with a 100-foot Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man, the hilarious centerpiece of the film's finale that has pretty much become a part of film history by now. Funny from start to finish, Ghostbusters became a phenomenon in 1984, due to both the rapid-fire gags as well as the creative special effects, and even if the optic-based creatures don't match up to the superior digital creations that Hollywood routinely turns out today, they still retain their charm (and especially the "slimer," a hungry little phantasm who causes the 'busters to destroy a downtown hotel). The three leads invest in well-defined characters, with the rational Ramis and optimist Ackroyd playing against Murray, who offers up a cynical running commentary throughout the film — it's one of his best performances. Good transfer from an acceptable source print, Dolby 2.0, and the supplements on this disc can't be beat, especially the commentary track by Ramis, director Ivan Reitman, and producer Joe Medjuck, which is done in the style of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and nearly as entertaining as the film. Other supplements include feature-length production notes as subtitles, deleted scenes, a "making-of" featurette, a look at the special effects, and trailers. Columbia TriStar got this one right the first time, and this disc is sure to be the definitive edition of Ghostbusters for a very long time to come.

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