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Blu-ray Review Ghost in the Shell: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Citizen87645

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Cameron Yee
Ghost in the Shell: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review

To clarify, Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell manga is celebrating the 25 years, not director Mamoru Oshii’s film adaptation, which came out in 1995. And Anchor Bay didn’t really need that kind of excuse to remaster the theatrical cut for Blu-ray, considering the DVD came out way back in 1998.

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Studio: Anchor Bay

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: Other

Subtitles: English

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 1 Hr. 22 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 09/23/2014

MSRP: $24.99




The Production Rating: 4.5/5

In the year 2029 a hacker known as the Puppet Master is infiltrating the cybernetic systems found in the majority of the human populace, using them as pawns in attacks on the government. Major Motoko Kusanagi and her team from the Section 9 security agency are tasked to track and capture the cyber criminal, but quickly find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy trying to hide his true nature. The Puppet Master also begins to show a particular interest in Major Kusanagi, whose extensive cybernetic enhancements make her not just a formidable opponent but also an unexpected ally.Still prescient and stylish, the anime classic known for inspiring the Wachowski’s Matrix films hasn’t become dated in almost two decades. Sure, some of the early computer generated animation techniques show their age, but the concepts being explored – from the technological to the metaphysical – remain just as intriguing as when the film blew viewers’ minds back in the mid-90s. Given its ambitious subject matter, the piece still suffers from some unavoidably talky exposition scenes, but the beautiful and meticulous artwork counterbalances the potential dullness, providing a feast for the eyes when the ears threaten to tune out. Multiple viewings may be needed to remedy the latter, but Ghost in the Shell proves consistently rewarding in the process.About the Anniversary EditionIn 2009, Oshii released Ghost in the Shell 2.0, a revisiting of the film that replaced the older digital animation scenes with entirely new CGI, as well as reworked some of the soundtrack. The results were polarizing, to say the least. Though the special features included the original cut of the film, it was presented in 1080i from an older master and couldn't diminish the glaring absence of a Blu-ray dedicated to the theatrical version alone. While this anniversary edition finally fulfills a long held desire by anime fans and collectors, remastering the film in 1080p HD, it doesn’t live up to being a commemorative release by any stretch of the imagination. Those looking for an extras packed edition will be understandably disappointed.


Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA

The 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer is accurately framed at 1.78:1 but is for some reason window-boxed, creating a modest frame of black around the entire image. Despite that oddity, the image has a lot to like, including solid blacks and contrast, satisfying color (especially the reds), and decent detail. There’s some aliasing and a low-res quality to the digital animation pieces, but that’s understandable given the film’s history. The apparent grain structure should also come as no surprise to those familiar with the production’s vintage.



Audio Rating: 4/5

Though the English track provides a discrete 5.1 surround presentation, I preferred to watch the movie in Japanese stereo LPCM with English subtitles (the English dub has always sounded devoid of expression and emotion and quickly ruins my viewing experience). Since I don’t speak Japanese, I can’t really comment on the intelligibility of the dialogue, but voices sound consistently clear and crisp. The stereo track also has a decently wide soundstage and bottom end, apparent in scenes with aircraft flybys and intense gunfire.


Special Features Rating: 0.5/5

Unfortunately, none of the extras from the DVD nor the Ghost in the Shell 2.0 Blu-ray have been included.
  • Printed Booklet: Includes an interview with the director and essays on the Ghost in the Shell franchise and its impact on filmmaking.


Overall Rating: 3/5

Anchor Bay Entertainment turns in a nicely rendered HD presentation for a true classic of the anime genre. Unfortunately, this so-called anniversary edition (technically commemorating the source material rather than the film itself) doesn’t throw much of a party. A notable lack of extras, even previously released material, colors the title with a layer of disappointment, even though it finally brings the original version to Blu-ray. Devoted fans will still pick it up – grudgingly – but better not to have used the “anniversary” label to make it seem more than it is.


Reviewed By: Cameron Yee


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ChromeJob

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I've read that the English subtitles on this release have numerous errors, and are not the same as the 2-disc DVD release. Has any done an A-B comparison to confirm this?
 

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