The Movie: 7.5/10
Before I start, you must know, I LOVE Science Fiction. I come to any futuristic Utopian or Dystopian story with wide eyes and a hopeful heart. I was not disappointed with Ghost in the Shell. I was entranced by the world of this future. It’s high-tech in a way that makes sense to me. There are 3D images floating around buildings and in the streets. I was mesmerized by it, not just the idea of that future, but it looked really cool!
The story is fine, but it’s a bit overly operatic at times. A future where humans can enhance themselves, and we have artificial intelligence “robots” walking around, always seems to come with a certain level of darkness. The questions of morality and the ethical choices that have to be made in order for us to get to the point of having enhanced humans and AI define these vision of the future. Ghost in the Shell explores it in a slightly different way, but still, it’s rehashing a bit of the “but you have to use humans as lab rats” angle. I’m OK with it because it’s done well, and I didn’t feel like it was preachy. Yes it made the human enhancements seem indulgent and like it is a really really bad idea, but the way it’s written made it sense for it all to be folded into society and culture in that slice of time so it worked.
Villains come are pretty straight forward in these stories, they want control either because they are just unstable, because they have a political view of how to rule the world, they want wealth, or they are exacting some kind of revenge. We get a hybrid of these with a couple of different bad guys along the way. Like I said, the melodrama is thick at certain times. It comes with one villain who has a tragic reason for being a bad guy, while another one is more in the power-hungry end of things. I like them all actually, even if it’s got that hint of over theatrics at times. I know, I know it’s a movie, so it’s supposed to be theatrical, but at times the performances, and the emotional toil of the characters feels more like it should be on a live stage with all the trappings of an opera instead of in a movie.
Our leading character is compelling and I felt invested in finding out about her journey. Johanson does what she does. She melts into the character, her body language, her affectations of how she speaks and reacts to people, it all makes her seem more un-human, but with the right amount of humanity struggling to get out from somewhere under her somewhat robot surface. I’m a fan of Ms. Scarlet so I might be biased, but she fits this role and she convince me she’s got a human brain inside a cybernetic body…oh yea, Science Fiction babeeee!
I recommend Ghost in the Shell for a fun and dramatic Friday night movie session. Follow it with a chaser of Blade Runner, Strange Days, or even The Matrix to stay in the “our future is weird, bleak, and very cool” vibe.
- Hard Wired Humanity: Making Ghost In The Shell (30 Minutes) – A nice overview of the whole production which delves into visual effects, production design and a few interviews with the main players.
- Section 9: Cyber Defenders (12 Minutes) – A look at how section 9 came to be and the character design of each of them.
- Man & Machine: The Ghost Philosophy (11 Minutes) – A detailed look at the philosophy behind Ghost In The Shell. This is becoming a standard featurette on Sc-fi movies.
- 4KUHD, Blu-Ray & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
I hate to say this, but this cover is kind of boring for me. I loved the movie, and it has so many images to use, so many ideas to dig into, and yet they choose the compilation type design. I don’t like it, and I never do when different cover/poster designers make this choice. I wouldn’t have this as a poster, but I would have or images from the story for sure.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Ghost In The Shell is an incredible looking film that has to be seen to be believed. Digitally shot the 4K and Blu-ray disc bring so much detail and color to the table it’s often overwhelming to look at. The film is dark in a lot of spits but you can always make out what is going on. Imagine the aesthetic of Blade Runner but amped up for the CGI generation. I did notice a little banding in the opening sequence but it’s so brief I doubt you will notice it.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is as impressive as the visuals. Surround sound is at work the entire run-time with excellent LFE channel effects during the opening action scene and beyond. Dialog is clear, precise and central and never lost under the gunfire. Ghost In The Shell is a standout film and it’s home presentation is second to none.
Overall Score 7.5/10