on 8 December 2012
I bought this blu-ray of Ghost in the Shell 2.0 because after hearing from a lot of people this is pretty much considered a movie every anime lover should give a look, it spiked my interest immediately. However, in more than one way this blu-ray turned out to be an huge disappointment. First off, the movie has been redone (hence the added "redux"), meaning some scenes are based on CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) and other parts are at most slightly adjusted. This basically boils down to a very apparent discrepancy between the original handdrawn animation and the computer based 3D animation. It makes for an incredible jarring experience, and frankly the computer animated scenes are not that great. The famous opening scene is one of the scenes that they sadly decided to completely redo with CGI. This "redux" version becomes even worse, namely it does not fare any better with the parts that are still based on their original counterparts. That is, the handdrawn animation has been slightly altered in such a way that most colors look completely washed out. It gives the image quality a certain indistinctive blurry feel.
First I thought, well allright this is not a particularly great version of this movie, I will go and watch the original version (from 1995) that has been added as an extra to this blu-ray. To my dismay, and disbelief to be honest, this version seems to resemble something that has been extracted from a VHS that one of the producers of this blu-ray still had lying around in his attic. It is riddled with all kinds of specks, the image is simply blurry and the sound quality is plain awful. The only positive thing I could mention about the blu-ray release of the 2.0 redux version is the audio. Presented on a 6.1 DTS Master Audio track it truly sounds great.
Sofar I have been quite negative about this release. One might think that the actual anime has to be awful too. That is absolutely not the case, it is a fantastic watch, and is considered by many people as a classic. The story resembles the Hollywood classic Blade Runner in some ways. It centers on the female cyborg, "Major" Motoko Kusanagi. As the leader of a special police force, Section 9, she has to deal with an elusive hacker going by the name "The Puppet Master". What follows is the discovery of some sort of conspiracy and that the reasons for capturing the hacker are not what they seem to be. I will not reveal any other information, otherwise it would ruin your viewing pleasure. It is definitely an anime that requires a good amount of concentration, as it deals in several ways with the relationship between humans and technology that can get a bit philosophical at times. To everyone that is interested in this anime, buy the DVD version instead or watch, through different means (the internet is your best friend here...), the Japanese blu-ray version that comes with English subtitles. All in all the 2.0 redux version does not give this anime the credit it deserves.
on 22 August 2010
One of my all time favourite films on blu-ray - nerdy heaven right?...well, only sort of...this 2.0 redux edition makes a number of George Lucas style alterations which simply don't fit in.
Clean, crisp and superb transfer with nice clean subtitles (if like me you prefer to watch the film in it's original language) but this great transfer is somewhat ruined but the addition of brand new CGI segments in most of the scenes. While this does help to intergrate the film into the look of the sequel and the series "Stand Alone Complex" is does stand out like a sore thumb and for those "MENT TO BE" purist, this will be a major source of message board flameing.
Both Japanese language track and the Manga English dub are beautifully presented in glourious digital surround sound with a great mix. Not much else can be said.
There are the usual mix of extras that one has come to expect from Manga releases and they will stand on their own for those who are interested.
I personally don't like the CGI alterations, however I'm not going to let it ruin my enjoyment of the rest of this amazing film in full HD. I live in hope of a second release which will feature the original verison of the film, but this one will do for now.
on 15 June 2013
I like to think a movie should be a product of its time. Having seen Ghost In The Shell back in the 90's that how I like to remember it. I love this movie, its probably the best sci-fi ever! I hate when any movie gets remastered, but this is a classic, why tamper with it? When I watch this movie I like that it takes me back to a different time, when i watch this version it confuses me with the crappy newly added CGI scene, its not needed!
on 22 April 2010
If you're a GITS fan wanting the HD treatment of the original masterpiece then you have 2 choices, this or the far more expensive Japanese version.
The disk has 2 versions of the film on it, GITS 2.0 and the original. 2.0 features some newly created cgi scenes that competely replace the original animated ones, but these are only small in number, replacing a few key scenes and never lasting more than a few seconds.
The rest of the film looks and sounds stunning, lots of the 'net view' visuals have been changed from green to a golden yellow colour and there are other subtle enhancements that work well and add to the film. The cgi scenes feel a little disjointed however, never seeming to fit in seemlessly and it leaves me wondering why they bothered, nice but not at all necessary.
The reason why I have only given this a 4 star rating is because the original, and obviously superior version of the film lacks HD surround sound and remastered visuals, and compared to 2.0 it almost looks as bad as VHS quality. Why they couldn't have merged the HD video of the Japanese version with the new audio from 2.0 to create a difinitive original version in english is beyond me.
If you're a GITS fan this is well worth it, but get the Japanese bluray version too or at the very least one of the earlier DVD versions.
on 26 October 2010
I'm a great fan of GITS, and have seen most of its incarnations. The digitally-remastered version of the original is available as an "extra" on this DVD, and I think I prefer it to the "Redux" version, although the new CGI is interesting. It doesn't fit all that well with the original cell animation, though. For fans I'd say it was still worth a look, especially at a reduced price. But if you've never seen the original I'd go with that.
I agree with several others that, whilst the improved sound and visual resolution (and colouring) is welcome, the CGI just distracts from the flow of the movie. Don't be too put off though: it is worth watching, as the visual quality of the original was fairly low compared with current standards and it's nice to see it all looking brighter and clearer.
Note that Amazon have (as of Oct 2010 anyway) put the Synopsis for GITS2: Innocence rather than for GITS2: Redux, i.e. they give the impression that this is the recent sequel, whereas Redux is a re-working of the original movie. Not surprising given the obviously confusing names: both are called GITS 2 despite being a different product altogether. There are also several rather confusing editions of the two films: for example a Blu-ray double box set of both Innocence and Redux, which adds nothing to the individual DVDs except a bigger sleeve; the two movies, individually packed; the original is still available; and the separate Blu-Ray versions of each film. All appear to have the same review and synopsis regardless of which is which!
on 13 May 2009
If you've never seen 'Ghost in the Shell' then please do one of two things. Either buy the DVD version of the original film or, if you can, import the Japanese Blu-Ray of the same. Do NOT under any circumstances buy this item instead unless you've first watched the original and want to compare the two. Here's why:
I have every GITS incarnation in print, audio, games and film. I'm a collector because I love the concept and execution. I have a very extensive selection of collectibles too (figure models, Tachikomas etc) so I know the full context. The reason I can review the 2.0 version of the first GITS film is because I spent £100 on a Japanese set containing 2.0 AND (thankfully) the original version on Blu-Ray. I have watched 2.0 and apart from the English dub (that might not appear anyway) the film is identical to the UK/USA releases.
It doesn't work!
I really wanted to like this release. I'd hoped it would be similar to the recent Star-Trek Blu-Ray set that incorporates new SFX scenes that actually work and seem to belong in the original footage. That isn't the case here. The opening sequence of Kusanagi (or a Kusanagi type prosthetic body, it's never clear) being built is flawed from the off. It's been redone in CGI but there are major (no pun intended) continuity errors, mainly involving missing hair. The scene when Motoko is atop the building and then dives into combat works as a standalone (no pun intended) clip and looks great BUT it doesn't smoothly fit into the existing cell animation at all. It's a radical as two different movies bolted together such is the difference and it completely detracts from the experience. I ran the original to compare it straight away and THAT works beautifully. In fact, because it fits the film, it looks better than the new CGI work! Also, there's an unhealthy amount of overscan on the image at times. Again I compared the original and some scenes have been cropped for no obvious reason and to the detriment of the composition. The audio IS much improved but my version has only Japanese dialogue. The Dolby True-HD soundtrack is glorious and significantly better than the stereo of the original version. That's the only gain here, everything else is either pointless or just plain wrong and I can't recommend this release to anyone other than collectors. You will get a better experience by watching the original version than this one with new graphics because the enhancements detract from and often ruin the mood of the story.
I wanted to like this but I don't.
on 27 October 2009
Ghost in the Shell is one of the most amazing anime movies ever made, its right up there with Akira and the news of a 3D version was intriguing, I imagined it similar to the Appleseed remake with shell-shaded polygons or something along those lines, but Ghost in the Shell 2.0 Redux (GITSR) is a mixed bag.
On Blu-Ray the visuals are of course nicer on a HD TV at least and this is where the good points end. The new 3D parts of the film do not feature throughout the movie, in fact only in three or four scenes, the beginning while shooting the diplomat through the window, the diving part and helicopter scenes near the end. Elsewhere its 2D animation at its best. The mixture makes the film seem less balanced, and in my opinion the 3D parts are poorly done compared to 3D animation films in recent video games and Pixar films. It reminds me of the days of PlayStation 1 where you have CGI cut-scenes which are different to in-game graphics.
More annoyingly is the voice overs, I just watched it in Japanese and they have used different voice actors to the original - I have no idea why, but I felt the original was better. Motoko Kusanagi sounds similar, but Batou sounds like a silly old guy rather than tough macho guy he looks.
In my opinion, they should have simply cleaned up the original to HD quality and left it alone, or remake it in full smooth cell-shaded 3D, rather than go part way and mix both together. The voice overs should have been left alone.
On a plus point, the colours are much more vibrant too, and overall it looks great, just not the 3D parts.
I do love this movie, but I can't understand why they messed around with it, I think fans would have bought it anyway and if they really wanted to do the fans justice - they should have totally remade it in cell-shaded 3D like Appleseed. A missed opportunity in my opinion - lets hope they leave Akira alone for the UK release or remake it entirely with the full story featured in the manga and not just half of it as in the original.
on 29 April 2010
This is a revised version of Mamoru Oshii's 1995 anime masterpiece. For the people who are unaware of the story, the film follows the work of Section 9 (an anti-terrorist and special intelligence department) as they try and find out who the elusive hacker known as the Puppet Master is. I won't go any further than that, as I wouldn't want to spoil the story.
Set in the year 2029, Ghost in the Shell is cyberpunk philosophy at its best. It certainly won't be to everyone's taste, as it requires a great deal of concentration whilst watching. The depth and complexity of the plot, and the intricate relationship between the characters can put some people off who just want to sit back and watch the action. It's science-fiction, political and philosophically heavy. If all you want to do is to just sit back and enjoy the ride, then you'll probably finish watching the film and be rather confused and baffled by it all. But honestly, take the time to pay attention, and you'll be rewarded.
The hand-drawn animation still holds up today as some of the most beautiful and slick you're likely to find in an anime or any animated feature regardless of country of origin. Characters move with realism and purpose. The backdrops and the setting are filled with enough detail that they never detract from the characters or the hardware. In this Redux version, the whole film has basically been given the HD treatment. For the most part, this is welcome. The greenish hue of the original film has been replaced with softer tones and the lines of animation have been sharpened up nicely giving everything a clean look which works well.
Now, to the main change over the original film: the replacement of new CGI over the mid 90's work. This can be hit and miss, and is one thing I'm not overly keen on. On the downside, they've replaced some of the most iconic imagery in the history of anime. Some parts really stick out like a sore thumb. Some areas work quite well - like helicopters coming in to land, or the digital mapping the team use for tracking vehicles. Oh, and this revised version is the only way to experience GitS in 5.1 surround sound in its native language. The original release has only ever been in 2.0.
If I'm honest, overall it's a nicely done Redux. Ideally, I would have preferred them to have kept the original CGI, while keeping everything else the team have done to the film.
on 25 September 2009
Only two key scenes from the original have replaced the original Motoko character animation with fully 3-D CG animation and it is a curious experiment that doesn't exactly improve on the original. However, where Version 2.0 does improve on the original feature, which is also included on the Blu-ray as a bonus feature (only standard def but you will see an improvement when played on a blu ray player) and as a bonus disc in the DVD edition is with the re-colouration replacing the cold blue and green palette of the original with the warmer sepia tones of Innocence. Also, nearly 20 minutes worth of footage has been replaced and re-animated with CG landscapes and mechanical designs (jets, helicopters etc) and I loved this. Once again, a leaf has been taken out of Innocence's book and the CGI-cel-shaded hybrid animation works really well. One final superior component to the film is the all new re-recorded soundtrack from Kenji Kawai and supped up audio from Skywalker Sound. I know that the 3D Motoko animations are contentious, but it is only two scenes that get this treatment (Opening assasination scene and the scuba diving scene, which in its own way is really quite beautiful and meditative). This dabbling with CGI character animation is not enough to ruin what is undoubtedly a successful hi-def remaster of a anime and sci-fi classic.
In a world where cybernetic and computer technology have expanded far beyond our reach the line between human and machine is becoming increasingly blurred. In the GITS universe, it is uncommon for humans to undergo cybernetic enhancements. Many of which include having a working computer installed into their brains as well prosthetic body parts. Like computers today, Ghost in the shell sees internet virus' spread from person to person and people being literally computer hacked. Posing some of the greatest questions from an anime ever, Ghost in the shell is one of those movies that stays with you after you've watched it. It isn't just the intriguing concepts and philosphical questions, but also the beautiful and often hauntingly beautiful imagery that has been brilliantly created that sticks with the viewer. The complex subject matter means that not everyone will 'get' this movie, however, it is one of those that you will want to watch again and again.
Often hailed as one of the most influential animes ever. The movie that inspired the Wachowski Brothers to go off and make the matrix and an experiece that changed alot of peoples views about anime. Never before had an anime so intellectually challenging and thought provoking been released to a western audience. As it approaches it's 15th anniversary the effect that this movie had on the anime industry can still be felt today. This is truly a landmark title. Not just for anime but for all cinema. This is Ghost In The Shell on DVD...but wait, isn't it already out?
Depending on how much of a fan of Ghost In The Shell you are will determine how much you appreciate this DVD. The feature of this disc is the newly enhanced movie with brand new CGI effects. Remember the opening scenes where Motoko Kusunagi stares down over the city metropolis? This scene is now totally rendered in 3D CGI, as is the scene where she is floating in the sea. While this may not be an essential release of Ghost in the shell, it is still as fascinating as ever. Casual fans like myself will love seeing this classic movie with a few new tweaks, but not enough to buy it again on DVD. However, the original cut of the movie is included in order to compare the two versions. So if you don't already own this classic film on DVD, this would be a good choice. Ideally, this is a movie that should be bought and experienced on Blu Ray. Why they released it on DVD as well as Blu Ray completely baffles me because you might as well just stick with your original cut on DVD and hold out until you fancy upgrading to blu ray. Regardless of which version you go for, Ghost in the shell is a fantastic sci fi classic that needs to be on everyones shelf, anime fan or not.