Blu-Ray: Ghost in the Shell 2.0 Redux
It seems like every time I post about anything that falls in to the anime category the very first thing I do is grab a pot, and wooden spoon, from the kitchen and march about banging them together, proclaiming, “I’m not an anime guy!”. So, you’d be well within your rights to pose the question: Why do you keep watching the stuff then?
Let me start by explaining that I make the statement not because of what I post, but because of the stuff I don’t. Madman (and occasionally others) are kind enough to send me boxes of new release titles to watch each month, and I watch every one of them. I choose however to only post about the stuff that grabs my interest. Stuff that I feel would appeal to the kind of people who regularly visit this site… You know, people to whom poorly constructed, rambling, long winded, and pointless posts, appeal.
I’m continually reminded of the fact that I generally find Anime titles completely unappealing. I find most of them formulaic, derivative, bland, and all too often incomprehensible. However, amongst the glut of mediocre fare — much of which becomes inexplicably popular — there are a few absolute corkers! They are the rare, classic, anime titles that not only stand head and shoulders above the chosen, robot controlling, distopian populous saving, cartoony sidekick/pet/whatever-the-hell-those-things-are having, sword wielding, crime-fighting in a g-string, insane boob-physics laden anime offerings, but give mainstream cinema/television a run for its money too.
GHOST IN THE SHELL [GITS] is one such title. It is a cinema classic. It also stands in stark contrast to the titles which have come more recently, but attempt to emulate it. Sure, it has many of the elements that I’ve just derided, but that isn’t ALL it has. Much of what I find myself watching these days appears to be ill-conceived attempts to boil down the ingredients of GITS (and the likes of AKIRA) and duplicate its awesomeness. They fail.
For anyone unfamiliar with Ghost in the Shell, it was originally released — in movie form — in 1995. It is an oddly gripping, and largely cerebral story about… Well, it’s about a g-string wearing, crime-fighting cyborg… Shut up.
The original manga work has spawned several movies, television series, and video games. While it is the first title which has the most impact, its sequels have been just as good. No doubt its continued appeal was one of the reasons for the creation of the “2.0” version of GITS.
Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is not a sequel. It is a spit and polish of the original release — kind of what George Lucas did to the original Star Wars movies, before he disappeared entirely up his own ass and destroyed the franchise — resulting in a movie which loses nothing, but gains a better visual relationship to the more recent movies and series that it has spawned. The Blu-ray even includes an untouched original version of the film for comparison (or out-right nostalgia) purposes. A great deal of care has been taken during the creation of this updated version, to maintain the integrity of the original movie. Much of the work done has been simply to clean up existing shots, making them as sharp and clear as anything produced today. However there are substantial chunks of the film, particularly sequences which featured some very dated looking computer generated effects, which have been completely remade.
The film also includes one of the best english dubs I’ve ever heard. The script isn’t simply translated and made fit on a line to line basis, but entire sequences of the film have been translated, then rewritten to better flow and complement the story.
If you’ve never seen Ghost in the Shell and, like me, don’t really consider yourself an Anime fan, then this is definitely a movie that you should check out. It is most certainly one of the titles at the tip of the Anime iceberg. If you’re a fan too, then I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be snapping up a copy of this version of the classic movie already. [source]