'Ghost Rider': a poorly-executed film with excellent Blu-ray quality.
Disc Release Date:
'Ghost Rider' on Blu-ray impresses with its high-quality, film-like transfer, rich colors, and exceptional detail, despite minor black levels and noise issues, it's a visual treat.
Ghost Rider's Blu-ray audio thrills with dual high-quality soundtracks, delivering an immersive and dynamic listening experience with impactful bass and clear dialogue.
'Ghost Rider' Blu-ray stands out with extensive commentaries, a detailed documentary on its making, focusing on effects and production, amidst some omissions.
Despite attempts, 'Ghost Rider' fails to ignite with a blend of poor script, acting, and clichés, overshadowed by superior Marvel films and lacking the depth and excitement of its superhero peers.
The Blu-ray transfer of "Ghost Rider" stands as a sterling example of high-definition home cinema, even among the earlier Blu-ray releases. Boasting a crisp, film-like 1080p, 2.39:1-framed transfer, it competes fiercely with more contemporary releases, showcasing a meticulousness in transfer quality that is both praiseworthy and visually stunning. The carnival sequences are a testament to this, with colors that appear astonishingly rich and vibrant, dominated by luminous yellows and a spectrum of dazzling hues. The detail across the board is impressive, from the nuanced textures of Johnny's leather jackets to the clarity and depth captured in both urban and rural sceneries. Despite the majority of the film unfolding in nocturnal or dim settings, the color balance remains impeccable without any undersaturation or oversaturation, supported by a balanced contrast that respects the movie's dynamic lighting and shadow play.
Notably, the transfer shines in rendering the intricate CGI sequences with an almost videographic sheen, amplifying the comic book's aesthetic into a riveting visual experience. Deep blues and fiery oranges dominate the color palette, delivering images that are both vibrant and solid, enhancing the overall depth. It is particularly commendable how the transfer manages to maintain natural flesh tones amidst the visually striking comic book environment. While minor criticisms can be directed towards a slight black crush in shadowy scenes and occasional noise in darker shots, these do not significantly detract from an otherwise top-tier visual presentation.
Sony’s commitment to excellence is evident in this release, ensuring that the visual experience of "Ghost Rider" on Blu-ray is nothing short of spectacular. The precise balance of colors, detail, and depth, together with a conscientious avoidance of digital artifacts and a respectful application of natural film grain, underscores this Blu-ray as a winner in Sony's catalogue. Such a clear and visually appealing transfer unequivocally enhances the viewing experience, making "Ghost Rider" a sought-after title for high-definition aficionados eager for demonstration-worthy material.
Ghost Rider's Blu-ray release offers an audiovisual feast, featuring not just one, but two high-definition sound formats that set the bar high for home cinema enthusiasts. Both the uncompressed PCM 5.1 surround sound (48kHz/16-bit/4.6mbps) and the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound (48kHz/20-bit) tracks provide an engaging and immersive auditory experience, despite their inclusion seeming somewhat redundant. With each track delivering its own form of high-resolution audio, the choice between them is a luxury, bordered only by personal preference for constant or variable bitrate formats. Both options promise a rich, room-filling sound that draws viewers into the heart of the action with clear, dynamic audio that maintains its fidelity across the spectrum.
The intricacies of Ghost Rider's soundtrack reveal a meticulous attention to detail in sound design, encompassing everything from the subtleties of a gentle breeze to the overpowering roar of motorcycles. The rear channels are particularly aggressive, offering a persistent barrage of effects that enhance the film's immersive quality. This, combined with superb dynamics and a deep, menacing bass, ensures that the audio experience is as engaging in quiet, dialogue-driven scenes as it is during high-octane action sequences. The mix effectively utilizes the soundstage, creating an enveloping 360-degree soundscape with directional effects that complement the on-screen visuals perfectly.
Listeners will appreciate the clarity and precision of the film's dialogue against the backdrop of its more bombastic elements. The soundtrack blends music and effects seamlessly, with a strong low end supporting the iconic rumble of Ghost Rider's motorcycle—a highlight for fans of the character. Whether opting for the PCM or TrueHD track, viewers are guaranteed a reference-quality audio experience that showcases both subtle atmospherics and profound sonic booms with equal aplomb. This Blu-ray's audio presentation is a testament to how well-executed sound can amplify the viewing experience, making it essential demo material for anyone looking to showcase their home theater system's capabilities.
The Blu-ray release of "Ghost Rider" brings together an exhaustive and engaging array of extras, highlighting the comprehensive three-part documentary, "Spirit of Vengeance: The Making of 'Ghost Rider,'" which at 82 minutes delves deep into all aspects of the film's creation. It combines interviews with a broad section of the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage, and a thorough exploration of the visual effects that bring the titular character to life. The inclusion of two commentary tracks adds further insight, with Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson and Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Mack discussing everything from filmic techniques and effects integration, to shooting locations and thematic elements, whereas Producer Gary Foster covers the production challenges and actor involvements. Despite omitting a few extras compared to the DVD release, such as the extended featurette on the comic book origins and certain animatics, this high-definition presentation compensates by delivering all video extras in 1080p and focusing on the quality over quantity principle, thereby offering a detailed look into the making of this visually rich comic book movie.
Extras included in this disc:
- Commentary Track with Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson and Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Mack: A detailed discussion on the film's production, effects, and more.
- Commentary Track with Producer Gary Foster: Insight into production challenges and behind-the-scenes stories.
- Spirit of Vengeance (Part 1 of The Making of 'Ghost Rider'): Focuses on the production process in Melbourne, including interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
- Spirit of Adventure (Part 2 of The Making of 'Ghost Rider'): An in-depth look at scene construction and on-set footage.
- Spirit of Execution (Part 3 of The Making of 'Ghost Rider'): Explores digital effects creation, sound effects, and final audio mix.
- Trailers for 'The Messengers', 'Blood and Chocolate', 'Premonition', and 'Hellboy': A collection of 1080p trailers for related Sony titles.
Ghost Rider," a film adaptation of the Marvel Comics character, emerges in a cinematic landscape oversaturated with superhero icons like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man. This movie attempts to carve out a niche for itself, relying heavily on the visual allure of its fiery protagonist and CGI enhancements. However, despite its aspirations and a noteworthy performance tally at the box office, "Ghost Rider" falters under the weight of its own ambitions. The narrative revolves around Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage), a stunt biker who makes a Faustian bargain with the devil (Peter Fonda), only to become the devil’s bounty hunter by night. The plot thickens as Blaze encounters his long-lost love (Eva Mendes), presenting him with a potential path to redemption and happiness if he can overcome demonic forces.
Unfortunately, "Ghost Rider" stumbles across almost every cinematic domain. From a disjointed script that makes character motivations murky and villains uninspiring, to Nic Cage's erratic performance that swings wildly across the emotional spectrum without landing convincing punches. The age disparity between Cage and his love interest Mendes adds an awkward layer to their already strained screen chemistry. Director Mark Johnson, despite his efforts to edit the film into coherence, leaves "Ghost Rider" feeling like an amalgam of disjointed scenes catering to too wide an audience, losing any sense of personal touch or coherent direction in the process.
Technical aspects like CGI and action sequences, while occasionally impressive, cannot buoy the film beyond its foundational cracks—the detailed origins and struggles of Johnny Blaze offer a glimmer of richness but get lost in a narrative mire. The attempt to deepen Blaze’s backstory through additional scenes in the Extended Cut does little to salvage clarity or engagement. Regrettably, "Ghost Rider" ends up as a cautionary tale of potential lost to narrative disarray and a lack of cohesive vision, marking it as a missed opportunity within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ghost Rider," a film adaptation of the comic book, finds itself entangled in the web of underwhelming superhero movies, suffering from a blend of clichéd narratives and lackluster performances. Despite Nicolas Cage's peculiar charm, which could not salvage the disjointed script and its failure to properly utilize a talented cast including Sam Elliot, the movie struggles to resonate with both critics and fans alike. The storyline's erratic pace and confusing twists further muddle the viewer's experience, leaving much to be desired from this cinematic venture. Nonetheless, where "Ghost Rider" falters in storytelling and performance, it somewhat redeems itself with commendable special effects and action sequences that intermittently capture the spirit of the original comic.
Sony's Blu-ray release of "Ghost Rider," in contrast, has received notable praise for its technical prowess and comprehensive supplemental material, presenting a stark discrepancy between the movie's quality and its home release presentation. The disc boasts outstanding video and audio quality, making it a worthwhile showcase for the capabilities of any home theater setup. The inclusion of extensive extras adds value, offering insight and behind-the-scenes content that may appeal to die-hard fans or those intrigued by film production. This juxtaposition highlights an unfortunate reality where the physical product surpasses the film it aims to immortalize, suggesting a potential target audience of audiophiles and collectors rather than fans of the film itself.
In conclusion, while "Ghost Rider" the film may leave audiences wanting, its Blu-ray release stands as a testament to what modern home media can offer in terms of audiovisual quality and supplementary content. It serves as a prime example of how even the most critically panned movies can receive a redemptive second life through careful and thoughtful presentation on home video formats. Therefore, it warrants consideration from enthusiasts looking to test their home theater systems or comprehensive Blu-ray collections, despite the movie's shortcomings.