While I love the premise and setting of the original Ghost in the Shell film, it wasn’t until the 2002 anime series was released that I truly became a fan of it. Now after many TV shows, OVA’s and movies, the franchise releases a film that goes back to its roots in Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie. With a great cast of characters engaging in some deep cyberpunk action, fans of the original film and its many spinoffs will want to dive their ghosts into this one.
For those who don’t know, the setting of this franchise takes place in a futuristic Japan where technology has given way to making lives better for people while also extending them thanks to advanced cybernetics. People can now replace limbs and body parts with this technology or just have a complete cyborg body with their soul/personality intact that’s referred to as a “ghost”. While this technology allows most people to live long, amazing lives, it is also a double edged sword as it makes everyone susceptible to hackers who can manipulate their bodies and minds. This is where Major Motoko Kusanagi and her special police group known as Public Security Section 9 come in, as their task is to take down cyberterrorists whenever they attack. When such a group releases a deadly computer virus that leads to the death of the Japanese Prime Minister, Kusanagi and her team must find out who is behind it. But once they learn the enemy is all around them and that no one can be trusted, everyone might not make it out of their deadliest case ever.
I’ve read that this film takes place after the events of the “Arise” series of Ghost in the Shell, and while I haven’t seen it, I was still able to follow this movie for the most part, mainly thanks to some special features that I will get into later. I did enjoy watching this as I’m a sucker for a good police procedural, but add in some hard sci-fi elements, and I’m hooked like no one’s business. I also liked how they threw in some homages to the 1995 movie, but they started to get a little carried away after awhile, especially when there’s a part that’s filmed scene for scene when Kusanagi tore off her arms while trying to open a tank cover. Being a theatrical film, the animation and artwork is top notch which shows up beautifully in high definition, and both the Japanese and English dubs are done well as the sound shines on this Blu-ray also.
Going back to the special features I mentioned, one of them really came in handy for watching this movie. “Arise Explained in 25 Minutes” does exactly what you think and is a lifesaver for anyone wanting to get a basic understanding of what’s going on and hasn’t seen Arise. While it’s not the same as watching the series, I thought it was awesome of them to include this feature and makes me wish more companies would do something like this for any complex series or movies. “25 Years Reviewed in 25 Minutes” goes into the Ghost in the Shell franchise and its many iterations such as its start as a manga in 1989 to the infamous 1995 movie and 2002 Stand Alone Complex series and more. There’s also plenty of other extras such as another featurette, original Japanese and U.S. trailers, promos, and more.
Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie is an awesome ride that mixes police drama with a cyberpunk setting that’s filled with action and intrigue. Featuring a solid cast of characters, great artwork and animation, and some extras that actually contribute to the film, this is one Blu-ray you’ll want to dive your ghost into.