Director: Rupert Sanders
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano, Michael Carmen Pitt
Release Date: July 25, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Set in a world where people are enhanced with technology, GHOST IN THE SHELL follows Major (Scarlett Johansson), who believes she was rescued from near death. The first of her kind, Major is a human mind inside an artificial body designed to fight the war against cyber-crime. While investigating a dangerous criminal, Major makes a shocking discovery – the corporation that created her lied about her past life in order to control her. Unsure what to believe, Major will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery of her true identity and exact revenge against the corporation she was built to serve.
Based upon the legendary comic/manga and groundbreaking anime film, the latest (and this time live action take) on ‘Ghost in the Shell’ follows Major (Johansson) a deadly and monumental step in the robotics process that now serves as the head and most deadly weapon on the powerful Section 9 Task Force. Once Major and the rest of her team begin actively pursuing a deadly hacker intent on crumpling the system, she soon discovers that everything she believed to be truth may in reality be quite far from it. Intent to do her job, yet unable to let these disturbing implications go, Major begins her own investigation that soon unravels more than she could have anticipated, the violence only escalating along with it in her quest for answers.
Directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) from a screenplay by Jamie Moss (Street Kings), William Wheeler (The Reluctant Fundamentalist) and Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) which was based upon the original comic/manga by Shirow Masamune respectively, Sanders does a solid job at the helm of this new live-action adaption of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ smoothly guiding it along its gorgeous course. The film also owes a chunk of the credit to the capable cast that includes Scarlett Johansson (Avengers) in the lead role, in addition to with Pilou Asbæk (Lucy), Michael Carmen Pitt (Seven Psychopaths) ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano (Battle Royale) and Juliette Binoche (The English Patient), along with more, and nearly all delivering decent enough performances in each of their respective roles.
This new (and far more American) adaption of the acclaimed ‘Ghost in the Shell’ offers a visually stunning and fairly intense ride with a healthy collection of beautifully crafted action sequences that shouldn’t fail to put a grin on your face (and only look that much more mesmerizing in 3D). As it’s been many years since I last saw the anime film or flipped through the pages of the original us comic release of the manga I’m unfortunately unable to provide much context in the way of similarities or drastic changes between them, yet it’s safe to say that some of the content (most notably the nudity) has been toned down in what one would assume is an effort to allow the film’s appeal to reach a larger audience. It may not be a truly phenomenal film, but ‘Ghost in the Shell’ offers a thoroughly enjoyable and gorgeous ride that most folks at all interested should have a good bit of fun with at the very least, especially if you try to approach with your expectations slightly in check. This new live-action take on the classic story is smoothly guided along its course by director Rupert Sanders whose capable guidance is boosted by fairly solid performances from the cast which includes Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk and more. I would certainly urge anyone who enjoyed the original anime/manga along with anyone that’s at all intrigued with the movie to give it a whirl; it should have no trouble keeping you consistently entertained and proving itself worth your time.
The fellow 3D lovers out there who didn’t have a chance to catch the film during its theatrical run will also be quite thrilled to discover that it’s certainly a fitting selection for the format and its stunning and detailed imagery, along with the gorgeous futuristic setting all make ‘Ghost in the Shell’ a perfect candidate for a solid 3D experience. The presentation offers ample depth around each and every turn, in addition to plenty of visually impressive pop-out effects that nary fail to dazzle. Any fan of the 3D format (with the capability to enjoy it at home) that has any interest whatsoever in this new adaption of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ will definitely want to try and make a point of checking out the 3D Blu-ray release when you have the opportunity to do so, the 3D experience should not disappoint.
Overall, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ delivers a visually breathtaking, thought provoking and just flat out enjoyable ride that’s complemented by plenty of gorgeous action sequences and a futuristic setting that consistently amazes. It’s by no means perfect and has its troubling moments and sequences that don’t work quite as well as they should, yet it should nonetheless have little trouble retaining your attention throughout the majority of its course and is likely to repeatedly slap a smile on your face courtesy of its visually dazzling imagery. It’s probably not a film for everyone, yet for those with any interest whatsoever in the movie, along with fans of the original and of Johansson, I would recommend giving it a watch when you’re able. The fellow 3D fans with the ability to enjoy the format at home may also want to consider giving this one a chance; the setting and gorgeous effects combined with a highly capable post conversion offer quite the wonderful 3D experience.
The Blu-ray 3D release of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ features a full 1080p High Definition MVC encoded 3D presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The 3D presentation looks marvelous and delivers a clean, sharp and beautifully detailed presentation from start to finish. It delivers spectacular depth in addition to plenty of dazzling imagery, weapons and more appearing to leap straight out of the screen with regularity, yet never to the point of unnecessary or ridiculous; and suffering no notable faults throughout, looking consistently remarkable and gorgeous around every turn.
The 2D Blu-ray release which is also included in the 3D Blu-ray combo pack features an AVC encoded full high definition video presentation of the film utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The standard 2D presentation looks wonderful in its own right and brings home a colorful, detailed and visually dazzling high definition video presentation that suffers no noticeable faults throughout (at least during the scenes I was able to view personally) and should certainly have no trouble satisfying those who prefer a 2D experience or simply don’t have 3D capability at home.
The Blu-ray release (both the 3D & 2D disc) features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and offers a crisp, clean, smooth and often quite aggressive audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send action effects, along with slowly increasing music and much more throughout the various speakers when appropriate, and never causing any dialogue that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a spectacular Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that compliments the film splendidly and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray 3D (and 2D) release of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ includes a few worthwhile extras (the entirety of which can be found on the standard Blu-ray disc) in the way of some behind the scenes Featurettes that take you deeper into bringing the film to life and include behind the scenes footage, plus interviews/comments with the cast and crew and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Hard-Wired Humanity: Making Ghost in the Shell’ (running approximately 30 minutes in length), ‘Section 9: Cyber Defenders’ (running approximately 11 minutes) and ‘Man & Machine: The Ghost Philosophy’ (approximately 11 minutes).