Jul 162017
 

I’d say Ghost in the Shell was one of the bigger disappointments of 2017 but considering what I had been seeing before its release, including the director, expectations were vastly lowered and it was pretty much matched. No, it’s not horrible but in trying to satisfy fans and the general audience, the studio failed at both.

 

 

Ghost in the Shell
(2017)

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action
Paramount | PG13 – 106 min. – $37.99 | July 25, 2017

Date Published: 07/16/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Writer(s): Shirow Masamune (comic); James Moss and William Wheeler and Ehren Kruger (screenplay)
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, “Heat” Takeshi Kitano, Michael Carmen Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Chin Han, Juliette Binoche
DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K/BD): English (Dolby Atmos), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 1.78
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles (4K/BD): English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

 


THE MOVIE — 2.25/5


I want to say I was disappointed following my home viewing of Ghost in the Shell especially after some of the clips released, still photos and trailers, but based on the few things I did read, expectations were tempered. And those lowered expectations were more or less met.

The story is set in the future where human and tech is meshed, a future in which one can substitute a liver and drink with little consequence. More widely, though, limbs, eyes and other parts can be replaced. Here, a young woman, Major (SCARLETT JOHANSSON), was saved from a drowning boat. Well, her brain and “ghost” (i.e. spirit) were saved, placed into a completely artificial body. With this highly advanced tech, she works for a governmental agency called Section 9, a division that handles the increasing threats of cyber crimes and terrorism.

I’d introduce you to the members, but the movie didn’t care to outside of Major’s right-hand man, Batou (PILOU ASBAEK) and Section 9 chief, Aramaki (“HEAT” TAKESHI KITANO); Togusa (CHIN HAN), does get a line in about being completely human, but that’s really the extent of any character development for these supporting roles. With an already short running time (less than 100-minutes without credits), additional scenes could’ve been shot to give members of Section 9 some sort of due. Unfortunately, they get short changed.

The plot begins when a cyber terrorist named Kuze (MICHAEL CARMEN PITT) who is responsible for the murders of executives with the Hanka Robotics Corporation, beginning with an assassination in a scene ripped right from the anime series; there are quite a few references to both the movie and series. Now it’s up to Major and Section 9 to hunt him down and along the way, Major discovers more about her past.

I know plenty hated this movie for a variety of reasons from cultural appropriation of hiring Caucasian Scarlett Johansson as an Asian Major Motoko Kusanagi, and by film’s end the producers I guess tried to negate that (not very well) to the dummying down of the GitS mythos for the general public. Neither of those things really bugged me, what got to me watching this adaptation, even though I felt the villain was in the spirit (so to speak) to the source material, is that outside of Major and a little on Batou, the character development was very thin. It’s not as if the film was running long and a fair amount of time could’ve been given to flesh out these characters as well as a plot, but apparently Paramount was keen on making this a summer tent pole than a smart sci-fi that could make you think.

The other issue I had was with Scarlett Johansson. A very talented actress, she’s shown herself to be able to carry a movie as shown in Lucy and Under the Skin, but I would seem she took playing a robot to heart as her acting was a bit too stilted and even when she’s allowed to show some sort of emotion, like in the finale, even there’s it was rather flat. Not sure if she was particularly wrong for the role as presumably the likes of Margot Robbie (who, if memory serves, was almost signed before dropping out to do Suicide Squad instead; which financially speaking, the better option) couldn’t have done much better.

Ghost in the Shell was helmed by Rupert Sanders, a name upon announcement that didn’t exactly instill confidence considering his last big budget venture, Snow White and the Huntsman wasn’t exactly stellar flick despite an interesting premise and (mostly) talented cast. Sounds a bit familiar… Here, like Huntsman, has great visuals and yet the end result is devoid of real emotion. Also not helping, there were times which felt like it was edited by the studio, no doubt due to testing the film to death.

In the end, there was a ton of potential for Ghost in the Shell but when trying to thread the line of pleasing both fans and the general audience at large, they fundamentally failed at both with audiences showing little interest and fans being PO’d by the changes made. No, it’s not awful though I can’t imagine ever wanting to revisit it again, despite the visuals.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5


This release comes with a semi-glossy, title-embossed, slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Hard-Wired Humanity: Making Ghost in the Shell (30:05; HD) – This behind-the-scenes featurette includes on-set interviews with members of the cast (Johansson, Asbaek, Pitt, etc) and crew (Rupert Sanders, Avi Arad, etc) as they discuss the source material and characters. Much more in-depth than I expected.

Section 9: Cyber Defenders (11:29; HD) introduces us to the team, focusing more on Major and Batou, which should’ve been focused more in the film…

Man & Machine: The Ghost Philosophy (10:36; HD) breaks down the meshing of tech with humanity and the soul within. This is basic primer for the film.

PreviewTransformers: The Last Knight

 


4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 4.75/5


Paramount releases Ghost in the Shell onto 4K (though it was shot in 5K but mastered in 2K intermediate) presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio (open matted from theatrical 1.85 AR) and is given a 2160p ultra high-definition transfer. This is the kind of movie you would think would look fantastic in the format, and indeed it does. Detail is sharp and nicely defined, dark levels are stark without appearing crushed and with the Hong Kong-inspired futuristic city, there are pops of color throughout. If there was a downside, some of the effects work does look a bit fake (like cars on the freeway), but nothing I consider overly distracting.

The Blu-ray is shown with a 1080p resolution and the same 1.78 aspect ratio. Honestly, this still looks excellent in this format with much of the same bright colors and deep dark levels.

4K/BD AUDIO – 5.0/5


Thankfully, both the 4K and Blu-ray come equipped with a Dolby Atmos track (TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) and it certainly sounds amazing. Given the movie has both quieter, more dramatic moments and some action-centric sequences, you do get a wide array to gauge this track and in both aspects, it is engaging with good depth making usage of all 7 channels while still outputting minor ambient noises as well as a surprisingly forgettable score outside of the GitS theme at the end.

 


OVERALL – 2.75/5


Overall, I’d say Ghost in the Shell was one of the bigger disappointments of 2017 but considering what I had been seeing before its release, including the director, expectations were vastly lowered and it was pretty much matched. No, it’s not horrible but in trying to satisfy fans and the general audience, the studio failed at both. On the plus side, this 4K/BD release does offer excellent video and audio transfers though the features could’ve been better.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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