Ghostbusters 1 & 2: Double Feature Gift Set Ivan Reitman

Where would '80s pop culture have been without Ghostbusters and its unforgettable theme song? Becoming an overnight international phenomenon, Reitman's film (written by stars Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis) took paranormal activity into a whole new realm thanks to a spot-on Bill Murray and the magnificent city of New York. Everyone's seen it, but watching it today — amongst all of Spielberg and Peter Jackson's epic special effects blockbusters — and realising just how advanced the effects were, how hilarious the script was, largely in part to Murray turning in one of his best comedic performances as Dr. Peter Venkman, and how brilliantly cast the roles were (Rick Moranis as Louis and the Stay Puft Marshmallow man are brilliant choices), it's one of that decade's finest ambassadors. Aging seems to be a difficult process for a lot of '80s films but Ghostbusters holds up. As an inferior sequel, 2 does its job, updating the audience on the story of each character. The choice to separate Sigourney Weaver's Dana and Venkman is a good one, as is the failure and split of the Ghostbusters themselves, with the city turning on the foursome after all of the damage they caused in the first film (the scene with Winston and Ray at the kid's birthday party is priceless). The fact that they make these heroes losers first who must earn their praise makes both films that much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, 2's major conflict with the painting of Vigo and the river of slime feels weak compared to the original's extraordinary ending, which devalues 2 heavily. A commentary featuring Reitman, Ramis and producer Joe Medjuck is a lot of fun, as they not only explain all of the little practical special effects but also enjoy themselves as they point out a number of the location details, reveal cool facts (i.e., the proton pack weighs approximately 30 pounds) and poke fun at Murray's genius and temperament. Most interesting though is the revelation that the film was originally written as a project for Aykroyd and Belushi. Two "making of" featurettes (one from '84 and a new one) don't offer as much as the commentary, and the two episodes from the cartoon on 2 feel measly, but this "gift set" includes an attractive little scrapbook with original storyboards and the early sketches for that iconic ghost of theirs. Plus: deleted scenes. (Columbia/Sony)