I reviewed the original classic last year but it seems this time around Manga has remastered Ghost in the Shell for today’s audience. This is Ghost In The Shell in HD. It’s beautiful, but for a smoother translation into the look of Innocence the greenish colors of the original film have been touched up and made to be more of an amber color like that seen in second film. If you’d like to read a review of the film itself, head over to my original review here.
I will spend a lot of time telling you why you should buy this on Blu-Ray. The first thing all you purists need to know, the original Ghost in the Shell is included on the disc in HD. It doesn’t look that great but it looks better than the DVD for sure. The animation has been nicely cleaned-up, the new CG pops, and the re-mixed soundtrack can bring the house down. This movie was one of the few to actually be released in U.S. theatres in the 90s. The blend of computer graphics with Oshii’s dynamic animation direction is superb. What I did not like about the release of the Ghost in the shell 2.0 is this is a bare release with no special features at all and should have been released onto dvd much better by the publisher. If you have never seen this movie at all I recommend watch the original version of the film without the CGI then watch this version to fully appreciate the movie.
Above all, it is visually and conceptually more compatible with other features in the Ghost in the Shell series. I saw no signs of visual noise, pixilation, or aliasing. The only issue worth noting is that some scenes may have bright auras, but this is notably less intrusive on Blu-Ray than it is on DVD. Like I said before, new computer generated 3D animation is substituted for some of the old cell animation, but the transitions are jarring. The change is hard to justify. The old animation was good, and the style was more or less consistent. However, there is alot more simulated depth of field, not only from newly inserted visuals, but just from some clever color and contrast tweaks.
To someone who have seen the original GiTS and is thinking of buying this movie, just remember that the term 2.0 merely refers to some graphical changes done to some scenes. They also got rid of the green 1s and 0s in the opening sequence’s text credits, which after The Matrix co-opted it, is a good thing. Audiophiles, take note, as I mentioned earlier about the soundtrack which is most impressive, additionally is the new 6.1 mix. They have completely re-done the sound mix, re did sound effects, and remixed levels and speaker placement. It sounds amazing. Although the purists seem to prefer the original version, I feel the new, updated version is also worth watching and having. This is a no brainer, classic film redone without distracting from the original source material gets a high grade equal to the original. Blu-ray enthusiasts should track this one down immediately.