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Ghost in the Shell Blu-ray Review

July 25, 2017

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By: Lynn Barker

In Ghost in the Shell, can Mira Killian/The Major (Scarlett Johansson), a mid-21st-century anti-terrorist crime fighter with elite government unit Section 9, trust her superiors and doctors? They’ve told her that she is a human brain in a cyborg body and that she almost drowned when her refugee boat was sunk by terrorists but is this really true? Will her haunting past catch up with her?

The Section 9 teamThe Section 9 teamCourtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

Hanka Robotics

Major is the first of her kind: a human who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals. Someone is trying to sabotage industrial giant Hanka Robotics' A.I. technology by knocking off the company’s scientists and executives. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people's minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. Cutter (Peter Ferdinando), head of Hanka Robotics, thinks of her as a dangerous weapon that must be controlled or destroyed. 

Major in the cityMajor in the cityCourtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

Dinner Disaster

A high level Hanka sympathizer is having dinner only to be jumped by serving robots that want to hack his brain. Major and squad, including Batou (Pilou Asbæk), Major’s only real human friend, bust in and kill the robots. A man named Kuze (Michael Pitt) sent the robots. The Major keeps having flash memories, little pieces of fiery destruction that make no sense. Her boss Chief Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano) reminds her that she is not a robot. She has a soul and should accept her uniqueness.

The Major with her only real friend BatouThe Major with her only real friend BatouCourtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

Major's Section 9 boss AramakiMajor's Section 9 boss AramakiCourtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

Secret of Creation

Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche), a Hanko scientist/doctor, erases the memory fragments causing Major’s visions. She reminds Major that memories don’t define us. What we do does. But, as Major comes closer to finding Kuze, the glitches come back. Batou, who was injured in a blast, gets new “eyes”. He has x-ray and night vision now. When another Hanka scientist is killed, Major discovers a secret project called 2571. She is finally captured by Kuze who is like her, part human, part machine but a mutilated version. He was a failed experiment on the way to making The Major! This was project 2571. There were others. Kuze must stop the company who did this to him.

Major asks Dr. Ouelet about her originMajor asks Dr. Ouelet about her originCourtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

My Truth?

The Major learns that there were 98 humans experimented upon on the trail to “invent” her! She was fed all of her memories. The story of her family being refugees attacked by terrorists isn’t true. Was she grabbed from her life and not “saved” but kidnapped? Who was she? Is Kuze a good guy? Did she know him in her real past? Can she continue in Section 9 or does she even want to? Can she ever be her true self, the “Ghost” in her high tech shell?

Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt)Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt)Courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

Special Extra Features

  • Hard-Wired Humanity: Making Ghost in the Shell is the featurette covering the origins of the story in Japanese Manga and the 1995 Anime movie. Scarlett talks about the themes in the story of the original and new film. Actors talk about their characters and we see early concept art and talk effects and production design. Make-up and prosthetics are covered as well as the construction of Scarlett’s Thermoptic suit. Fight scenes and stunts are shown on set with Scarlett doing many of them, and we go to location in New Zealand and Hong Kong.  A pretty thorough extra.

Director Rupert Sanders works with ScarlettDirector Rupert Sanders works with ScarlettCourtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Sector 9: Cyber-Defenders delves into the cyber crime unit in the film. How does it function? We see more on the story, characters and their relationships with the actors weighing in. 
  • Man & Machine: The Ghost Philosophy is a really interesting extra asking the big questions at the center of the story. How does a human brain in a cyborg body work? Are humans losing their sense of self by becoming so cyber connected to each other? How techy do we go and still keep our humanity? The Kuze/Major relationship is discussed and we weigh dreams vs. memories. Are we just too consumed by technology? Deep but very cool. 

The Major in actionThe Major in actionCourtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

Wrapping Up

I was told by fans of the original 1995 film and the Manga that inspired it that this movie does follow many elements of the base story and characters. I enjoyed the film for its great design and the deep questions about humanity that it raises. There is plenty of butt-kicking action but with heart as the Major tries to find her true self.

One of the robotic Geishas serving dinnerOne of the robotic Geishas serving dinnerCourtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

This Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set covers the making of the movie quite completely with plenty of weighing in by Scarlett and the other actors. There is more on set action than I’ve seen in a while as well. We get no director’s commentary and that might have been cool to have and there is no blooper or gag reel. The visuals and sound are great so we go four stars.

Ghost in the Shell Blu-ray Rating: 4

Ghost in the Shell Blu-ray Ghost in the Shell Blu-ray Courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment

You can now take Ghost in the Shell home on Blu-ray & DVD!

 

Have Your Say

Do you have the 1995 “Ghost” movie in your video collection? Were you a fan of the Manga (comics)? Leave a comment!

 

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