It’s pretty safe to say Ghost Town didn’t make many fans among the dentistry crowd. The main character, a dentist (as you likely guessed), is a reclusive, unsocial jerk who’d just as soon live alone on Earth as carry on a conversation with another person. Then again, maybe his ability to see dead people — and then help them into the Great Hereafter — intrigued a few folks with DDS after their names. After dying for seven minutes during a routine medical procedure, Bertram is revived and suddenly has the ability to see dead people who are unable to complete their journey to heaven due to unfinished business on Earth. To the dead people who discover Bertram can see them, he is their only potential savior.
Ricky Gervais, whose face and British accent are best known from The Office, plays said dentist and portrays the main character as a man who despises the aforementioned dead people as indiscriminately as he does the live ones. He’s quick to rudely shoo ghosts demanding his assistance away — until he meets the recently deceased (and equally pompous) Frank, played by Greg Kinnear. Frank convinces him to help break up the impending marriage of his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni), thus beginning the predicable romantic comedy journey. To be fair, Gervais is a comic genius even in this film, but there’s only so much he could do in light of the plot itself.
Ghost Town’s Blu-ray presentation maintains the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio while somehow having a somewhat watered-down color palette in spite of the crystal-clear 1080p MPEG-4 video. Fortunately, the palette was an intentional choice rather than an oversight during the digital transfer, and the details always remain crisp and a significant improvement over yoru traditional DVD video. The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio, as we find with many Blu-ray films, isn’t exactly maximized in a film of this genre, but the dialogue is clean and strong, and the subwoofer does kick in from time to time for ambient noises such as the telltale sounds of a city.
All of Ghost Town’s bonus features are presented in high definition, a nice surprise for a romantic comedy. In Making Ghost Town (22:40), there isn’t much the producers could work with considering the film’s genre, so what you get is some behind-the-scenes footage and background info about the story. Those elements take up about seven minutes of this featurette, while the remaining 15 are dedicated to regurgitating the film via clips and interviews.
In Ghostly Effects (2:01), we see how each ghost effect was created, be it a ghost walking through an object or a person. The featurette also breaks down the cool opening shot in which an empty city instantly transforms into a bustling one. Yet while I figured what that feature would be based on its title alone, I had no idea what to expect from Some People Can Do It (6:21). What I found was a series of outtakes dominated by Ricky Gervais. If you think this guy’s funny when he’s supposed to be, wait until you see what he does off the cuff and via improv.
Ghost Town quietly came and went from theaters, and it’s safe to say most Blu-ray player owners have likely never seen the film either. So, if you’re inexplicably tired of HD action and science fiction, give Ghost Town a try and win some spouse points in the process.
Click here to buy Ghost Town on Blu-ray from Amazon.
- Score: 8.1