Ghost in the Shell (2017)

In a world where people are enhanced with technology, Major (Johansson) is rescued from near death, or so she believes. Her cybernetic implants make her the first of her kind as she fights criminals with an upper hand, but things are not always what they seem to be. She begins to have visions of her past and starts to believe that the corporation that “saved” her is actually trying to control her. She makes it her personal mission to unravel her mysterious past and find out what truly happened.

Having recently watched the Japanese animé version of the film, I knew what to expect. The plot is thin, but the visuals are amazing, which helped draw me into the film despite its lackluster script. The moral of the story is beware of technology, but shouldn’t we already know that? film was originally shot in 4K, then down-rezzed to a 2K source for its theatrical run, then upconverted to 4K for this UHD Blu-ray release. All of this processing hasn’t seemed to damage the picture, which looks quite good. Detail is outstanding, and the HDR treatment features some occasional bright highlights, but the true star of the show is the mesmerizing shadow detail that shows improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray. The movie is also available on Blu-ray 3D.

As one would expect from the genre, the Dolby Atmos track has some impressive demo-worthy scenes throughout its 106 minutes. Bullets whiz through the room from every direction, and gunshots ring true with some impact on the low end. The third act is where the soundtrack truly shines while our hero fights for survival against the boss villain with copious amounts of LFE shaking the room. Overhead effects are reserved mostly for the action scenes but do provide some occasional ambient effect, especially in the bustling city.

None of the bonus features are on the UHD disc; they’re housed on the bundled Blu-ray. These include a making-of featurette with an interview with the director explaining the long development process converting the animé classic to a live-action vehicle. Up next is a look at the Section 9 intelligence team and how it fits into the story, followed by the interesting “Man & Machine: The Ghost Philosophy,” which explores the relevance to our current world and how technology is intruding on our everyday lives.

Technical details aside, this is a middling experience that offers some thought-provoking ideas within a mostly hollow shell. Save some money and add it to your rental queue.

Studio: Paramount, 2017
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos / True HD 7.1 core
Length: 106 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano

pw's picture

Who will untie the Japanimation Gordian Knot??
Not this film which fails in tone and is way too dark (I mean the film and picture on the screen) to see details and a lacking gray toned color pallet..
Maybe Hollywood should would have more success with a Anime Comedy like Lupin the 3rd or Urusei Yatsura..

Traveler's picture

This is a great flick!