GHOST IN THE SHELL 2.0
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
and Tamio Oki
What's it about
Set in the future, the anime classic deals with the cyber world, assassins, warriors, and a bad guy called the Puppet Master whoís out to destroy cyber minds.
Is it good movie?
Iíve never got into anime, and Iím not quite sure why. Just about every one Iíve seen has managed to impress by not just the animation, but the scope of the movies and the depth of the characters. These films, especially cyberpunk, appear to dive much deeper than the standard Hollywood release, especially in terms of science fiction. In fact, it appears that beyond a handful of big releases (Iím looking at you, Avatar), anime maybe the best place to get a sci-fi fix. Now Iím just a layman without extensive knowledge on the genre, but I become more interested the more I see. And Ghost in the Shell seems like a good place to start.
Now before any fanboy out there shakes their head in disgust at my lack of knowledge, I do know that Ghost in the Shell represents a big one in the genre, right up there with Akira. And I can understand why. This movie, for those like me who have never seen the thing, looks and feels incredible. The animation and detail is extensive; nothing feels like a cheap exercise in gun fights or funky future things just for the sake of being funky. Instead, Ghost in the Shell delivers what all sci-fi movies strive for Ė good characters, thought-provoking themes, and eye-catching visuals. It didnít take me long to get hooked into the story of Motoko Kusanagi, a female super agent cyborg who starts to struggle with the concept of no longer being completely human. The antagonist comes via the Puppet Master, a super hacker who is wiping cyborgs brains clean. Strange things happen.
Iím assuming superfans of Ghost in the Shell will notice the differences between the original 1995 movie and this DVD Iím reviewing, which is the remastered, newly released Ghost in the Shell 2.0. I can only go by what the box says; it boasts updated digital effects, newly recorded voice tracks with the original cast, and a new score. Upon doing minimal research, the original appears to have focused solely on standard animation with minimal computer enhancements. On the flip side, 2.0 incorporates CGI into the mix, replacing some drawings with an updated computer facelift which to me just makes the movie look a little slicker. Some 90 effects (from what I read but I could be wrong) were worked into this newest version, tweaking everything from color schemes to the overall look. Thinking back, I did notice at times some of the animation looked a little too three-dimensional. Sometimes the new effects felt a little Star Warsish. Just didnít feel right.
With all this glowing talk, one element that remains suspect comes from the dialogue. At times itís painfully non-subtle as characters talk about the pain of being a cyborg. Itís not that the characters canít talk about it. No, no. But itís the on-the-nose nature of the dialogue. Itís not completely distracting, but sometimes it felt like exposition instead of the thoughts of the character. Iím just saying.
Video / Audio
Video: A crisp and clear Widescreen presentation.
Audio: Presented with the power of 6.1 DTS (Super Duper) Sound Digital Surround.
At times the movie feels a little bloated, but overall, Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is a great anime movie. If youíve never seen it, rent it. If youíre already a fan, Iím sure youíve already ordered your copy.