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Paramount Home Video presents
Ghost (Special Collector's Edition) (1990)

"Why don't you go haunt a house? Rattle some chains or something."
- Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 12, 2007

Stars: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg
Other Stars: Tony Goldwyn
Director: Jerry Zucker

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (adult situations, language, violence)
Run Time: 02h:06m:31s
Release Date: March 13, 2007
UPC: 097361207445
Genre: romance

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- C+A-A- B+

DVD Review

Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) and Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) are deeply in love. Now sharing a New York City loft, things couldn't be better for the young couple. After leaving a play, the pair is held up at gunpoint. Not content to just turn over his money, Sam is fatally shot, and left in limbo between heaven and hell. Pained by his situation, Sam tries to stay as close to Molly as he can, but when he discovers that her life is in jeopardy, desperation takes over. Enter Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), a psychic who actually believes herself to be a fraud until she begins communicating with Sam. With the help of Oda Mae, Sam learns the truth of who was behind his murder, and tries to achieve a sense of justice before his soul reaches its final destination.

Perhaps it's the jokes at its expense in the past 17 years, but the magic just isn't there anymore. Many of the performances (including the Oscar-winning turn by Goldberg) seem unnatural, full of forced melodramatic overacting. What does remain appealing is the blending of a wide array of genres. While romantic comedies and dramatic fantasies aren't rare, director Jerry Zucker manages to tie together romance, comedy, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and drama. It's often quite messy to infuse so many themes, but the overall resulting tone is far from dated and actually set a precedent for many other films that followed.

Despite the missing magic, there are still many factors that make this ghost story appealing. Sam's murder is truly gripping, edge-of-your-seat stuff, leaving you gasping that the main character is, essentially killed during the first reel. By now, we know that this death is essential to the movie's story and we'll be seeing plenty more of Swayze, but this is still pretty shocking. Much of the after-life imagery that Sam sees is extremely spooky as well, with some of the ghouls playing the biggest part in the PG-13 rating. There's even some remaining shock value in the big reveal of the villain's identity. The overall look of the film is still its strongest point, though. Adam Greenberg's cinematography is topnotch, crafting memorable visuals of New York City. The unique lighting and effects used to project Sam's afterlife point-of-view successfully separate the viewer from the world of the living, never leaving us in doubt as to what we're witnessing at any given time.

It's nearly impossible to complete this discussion without mentioning the famous potter's wheel/love-making scene. This is still one of the most erotic (without being graphic or exploitative) set pieces put to film, only further enhancing Swayze and Moore's sex symbol status at the time. The Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody enjoyed a renaissance as a pop culture classic as a result of its use in this scene, and rightfully so. If the rest of the film can't quite be deemed a classic, this sequence will go down among the most memorable in motion picture history.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: A new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation gives us crisper, sharper images than previous home video iterations, while shadow and black levels are spot-on. The color scheme is richer and bolder than ever, with accurate flesh tones as well. Lighting plays a huge part when the spirit world crosses into ours, and the handling of the visual effects is perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the new transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is similar to that of the previous DVD release, but that one didn't exactly leave much room for improvement. The mix features liberal use of the surrounds and quite a few directional effects during the more fantastical sequences. The atmospheric score comes across well, with some bass adding a nice bit of punch. There's no room to complain about dialogue clarity either, as it's seamlessly integrated into the proceedings.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Dreamgirls, Titanic: 3-Disc Special Collector's Edition, The Last Kiss
1 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Jerry Zucker and writer Bruce Joel Rubin
Packaging: Keep Case
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: Fans of the film will love the extras collection, including a new documentary titled Ghost Stories: The Making of a Classic. This 13-minute piece uses clips from the film and interviews with the cast and crew. It covers everything from the casting, to different iterations of the script, to the performances, with a few funny anecdotes thrown in for good measure.

Inside the Paranormal gives us an eight-minute look at what real psychics think of the film. We hear from spiritual medium/psychic Shelley Duffy, psychic Laurie Campbell, medium George E. Dalzell, and spiritual medium James Van Praagh. While not for the skeptical, those with more open minds will enjoy hearing them speak about their "gifts" and their ability to relate to the Oda Mae Brown character.

Alchemy of a Love Scene is all about the infamous pottery scene, and this six-minute segment covers as much as it can in such a short time. We hear from the cast and crew, but it's most interesting to hear from Moore and Swayze.

Cinema's Great Romances is the lengthiest (almost 20 minutes) and arguably best extra. This goes beyond Ghost, though, instead touching on 14 of the films included on AFI's "100 Years... 100 Passions" list, via clips from these pictures.

Ported over from the earlier release are the film's theatrical trailer and an audio commentary track with director Jerry Zucker and writer Bruce Joel Rubin. This is still interesting material, with Rubin doing much of the talking, and going over much of the screenwriting process. There's also a photo gallery and previews for other Paramount DVD releases.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

Blockbuster smash and best picture nominee Ghost isn't as effective as it was 17 years ago, but it is still an unforgettable cinematic experience. Powered by an award-winning screenplay and whimsical cinematography, there's no denying its significant place in movie history. Although the audio is similar to that of the previous DVD, an improved video transfer makes this a worthy upgrade. While it's too bad there aren't any deleted scenes, the extras will make rabid fans very happy.


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