Blu-Ray Review: ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Mondo Steelbook Looks Cool But Lacks Special Features
While it may be adored by new audiences, hardcore fans may find the re-dubbed and special feature-less ‘Ghost In The Shell” Mondo Steelbook blu-ray to be a disappointment.
In this 1995 cyberpunk anime classic, a cyborg policewoman and her partner find themselves in pursuit of a cryptic and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master. But, as the duo digs for leads they stumble upon more alarming questions rather than finding answers. Continue reading after the jump for our full review and unboxing of the new Mondo Steelbook Blu-Ray for “Ghost In The Shell.”
2029 – A female cybernetic government agent, Major Motoko Kusanagi, and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of the “Puppet Master,” a mysterious and threatening computer virus capable of infiltrating human hosts. Together with her fellow agents from Section 9, they embark on a high-tech race against time to capture the omnipresent enemy.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Voice Acting, Plot, Etc.) – 4.5
Among fans of the original 1995 film, “Ghost In The Shell” is truly an artful feature that showcases the vast potential of the anime medium. From the stunning artwork, to the complex techno-punk cityscapes, to the emotional and philosophically probing plot, the film takes audiences on a hotly outlandish and unpredictable adventure littered with dazzling visuals and fight choreography. As one of the most futuristic and offbeat movies imaginable, anime or otherwise, “Ghost in the Shell” sits at the pinnacle of its own unique universe. Also, given the film’s tone and futuristic appeal, when revisiting the iconic anime has withstood the ravages of time far better than other future-set films such as Total Recall. Fans will likely fault the new voice cast and re-tooled sound effects and CGI elements in the Mondo Steelbook version, but in it’s original form “Ghost In The Shell” is a near perfect fusion of action and poignant dialogue. Even two decades after its original release, the film’s voice maintains a social relevance in our highly tech-dependant world.
Entertainment Value – 4
As a fan of the 1995 original, it’s very hard to unsee/unhear my memories of the film. With that said, most of these gripes would not really impact a new audience’s perception of the Mondo Steelbook content. On the other hand, fans of the film may be dismayed by the new English dubbing, the updated sound effects, and the insertion of some new CGI elements. Generally I would suggest watching the film with the original language track and subtitles, as the English dubbed track lacks some of the intensity that the native track provides. However, as someone who has had a bit of experience with the Japanese language, the subtitles are often skewed to the point of losing some of the meeting and emotional core of the story in translation. I will have to go back and rewatch the original to see to see if the subs were always that off, but it definitely detracts from the conveyance of story.
Fan fueled gripes aside, “Ghost In The Shell” is an exhilarating film, a truly trendsetting commentary that aptly predicted our society’s dependence on computers and the broader digital world. It comments on our growing tendency to relegate our personal identities to social media. It will keep viewers on seat’s edge, with scores of violence, themes of alienation and self identity all the while layered with a very Japanese dash of techno-kink. I mean the main character is practically in the “cyber-nude” the whole film. The movie does well to not only entertain the eyes with its extraordinary visual candy, but also satiate the mind with its probing themes and social commentary. Even 22 years later, “Ghost In The Shell” brilliantly maintains its relevancy.
Re-Watchability – 4
“Ghost In The Shell” easily finds its way into my top five favorite anime movies of all time, joining other favorites like “Ninja Scroll” and “Princess Mononoke.” The film features enough complexity to maintain intrigue and with a runtime of 82 minutes is just short enough to be palatable time and time again. It is also astonishing relevant even 22 years after its initial release. While this re-dubbed and special feature-lacking Mondo Steelbook may not be exactly what fans were looking for, the film itself is timeless and definitley deserves a spot in every science fiction, techy-film or anime fan’s media library.
Blu-Ray – 3
At first glance, this Mondo Steelbook Blu-Ray/Digital Copy edition is visually stunning. The colorfully textured steel book is sheathed in a translucent plastic slip cover. But, while the shelf presence is high, looks aren’t everything. This edition makes a few moves that I’m sure some hardcore fans would consider to be egregiously flawed. What is likely most disappointing is the bizarre lack of bonus features. It’s strange that this 1995 classic, that is currently being rebooted as a live action film starring Scarlett Johansson, would have no bonus features included. No “a look back” or “meet the new voices” or “making of.” When handling a property that has already reached certain level of cult fandom, you shouldn’t tamper with the actual movie. While the changes are minor, the revamped sound effects and English dubbed version loses the pacing and raw feel of the original. For those who haven’t seen the film, this would likely be a non-issue, but for fans it really changes the experience. Also, the updated CGI sometimes detracts from the story, kind of like when Lucas revamped the original “Star Wars” films. Why mess with it if it’s not broken? While it’s great to look at on the shelf, the revamped collectors edition of “Ghost In The Shell” feels rushed and is lacking extra features. This is definitely NOT the definitive collector’s edition hardcore fans we’re craving.
Check out our Unboxing and Review VIDEO of the “Ghost In The Shell” Mondo Steelbook Blu-Ray/Digital HD below:
"Ghost In The Shell" features enough complexity to maintain intrigue and with a runtime of 82 minutes is just short enough to be palatable time and time again. It is also astonishing relevant even 22 years after its initial release. While this re-dubbed and special feature-lacking Mondo Steelbook edition may not be exactly what fans were looking for, the film itself is timeless and definitley deserves a spot in every science fiction, techy-film or anime fan's media library.