Ghostbusters was made for 3D. Literally, the movie features a number of instances where visual cues extended beyond the framing and poke out above the "black bars" for added effect. These are carried over to the flat 2D images on the 1080p and 2160p discs, but they make their mark in 3D. Effectively, they allow for a greater sense of "pop," which is part optical illusion as it stretches out onto otherwise blank space and part 3D magic. Ghosts sometimes seem to flutter above the screen. Beams fling out. Particles jump and hover beyond the frame's general confines. A familiar face crashes out of the screen in a key moment at the 1:27:47 mark, which is the single best 3D visual in the movie and one of the most fun and effective yet on the 3D format. The movie definitely works well in 3D, and beyond the jump out of the screen is a healthy, tangible sense of depth back in. Something as mundane as peering down into a sink is very effective, but more so are lengthy locations like city streets and a subway station that, with its somewhat cramped setting that's much longer than it is wide, offers an effective look in 3D, particularly as the platform gives way to the tracks and the very real sense of drop-off space. The movie's basic elements don't hold up quite as well in 3D, though. Colors are dimmer and the frame overall darker. Blacks lose some detail, particularly on clothes. Textures are noticeably softer. Aliasing is increased, and a few jagged edges work their way into frame. Still, it's an effective trade. The 3D effects are really spectacular, and the rest of the movie looks good enough in a complimentary role. Of all three options -- 1080p, 4K, and 3D -- this is the way to watch the movie. It's too bad the extended cut isn't available.
The 2160p/HDR-enhanced presentation of Ghostbusters offers a marginal, but noticeable, upgrade over the movie's 1080p Blu-ray transfer. The movie was reportedly shot at 2.8K and finished at 2K, making this, presumably, an upscale from that source. The image retains all of the same basic characteristics from the 1080p version, including a fairly hot, heavily saturated color palette. The HDR coloring brings a bit more stability to the presentation, firmer shades and more appreciable nuance, whether in subtle variations of color or big splashes, such as yellow taxis or ghostly green and blue shades. It's an impressive palette within the movie's stylistic choices, very bright and extremely bold. The HDR brings out the best of the most colorful apparitions, cityscape details, and clothes. The final showdown, which takes place at night and contrasts extremely vibrant neons against a largely black background, is most impressive. Detail tightens up too, not by a significant margin, but crisper clothing lines, facial features, varied textural features on building façades, and Ghostbuster equipment are nicely conveyed. The digital readout on Abby's helmet is much more clear and easier to read. Black levels could stand to tighten up a tad, appearing a touch washed out in lower light interiors, such as the mansion at the beginning, but holding rather firm at night. On the whole, this is a very impressive 4K presentation from Sony, even if it's upscaled from a lower-res source.
The bad news is that Sony has once again decided to favor the "premium" status of its UHD disc at the expense of the 3D Blu-ray audience by refusing to bring over the enhanced Atmos soundtrack from the UHD disc (despite other studios dropping the Atmos track on every release). It would be nice if Sony could go even that half-extra mile and bump up to 7.1, but alas. The good news is that the included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack is still fantastic. Ghostbusters is a movie that depends upon sound design from top to bottom, from small creaks and moans to the most explosive, bass-happy, full-spread sonic mayhem. The track never really disappoints. Even limited to the standard 5.1 channel layout, there are no discernible gaps in coverage. Music is wide and rich, effortlessly saturating the stage with score and energetic popular music alike. There are plenty of fantastic zip and zap effects that expertly ride through the stage like a roller coaster as the team tests out some of its big guns in a back alley. Information flies through the stage with precision effect and dynamic clarity. Bass is thunderous, particularly during the big extended battle at the end. The low end is not only deep and strong, but very complimentary. There's a momentum to it, like the proverbial snowball that grows as it rolls downhill. The track never seems to tire or relent, always pushing as hard as it can while still maintaining an excellence of clarity and balance. Each key effect plays with its own unique signature, and no matter how frenzied the track may become, all the different pieces never become jumbled together or, worse, drowned out by the most impressive bass lines. Lighter atmospherics richly define low key scenes and fill in basic background ambience with ease. Dialogue is accurate, well prioritized and naturally positioned in the front-center. Even without the extra layers of a 7.1 or Atmos/X track, this is a very, very good listen that serves the movie well.
Ghostbusters receives the Atmos treatment for its UHD release, and it's a winner. Though not a huge step up from the 1080p and 3D release's fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack, it offers notable improvements and an even fuller, richer, more detailed and lifelike presentation. Clarity seems boosted to the point that very subtle atmospherics that weren't as prominent on the other track are more so here, not over amplified but certainly much more refined and complimentary to the experience. Background equipment humming in Abby's lab is a great example. Musical delivery is fantastic, with pinpoint clarity throughout the range and a seamlessly wide and totally immersive placement around the stage. The listener practically feels directly in the middle of the orchestra, recording studio, or concert venue. With regard to the latter, the Hard Rock concert that plays a prominent role in the film springs to life with insanely aggressive musical elements which eventually give way to one of the most dynamic sonic moments in the movie. The ghostly apparition sweeps and swoops through the stage with ridiculously impressive precision in its broadest movements and the most subtle support elements alike. Bass is amazingly potent and deep and the proton pack gunfire is ridiculously fun in delivery, zapping with a tangible weight and seeming to come from all over the stage. The climactic battle segments are a lot of fun, too, yielding, again, momentous bass and information that blends seamlessly and emanates from and travels through every inch of the stage, including above. The overhead channels engage frequently and while every element is not enhanced by them, the combination of necessary discrete effects and more broadly complimenting sound detail from atop is most welcome. Rounded out by faultlessly reproduced dialogue, this is a fantastic Atmos track and a reference presentation for the format's capabilities.
4K Bluray details
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish (Latin Am): Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish (Mexican): Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible)
English Audio Descriptive: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1