Ghost in the Shell

Mamoro Oshii's beautiful and unsettling anime film, Ghost in the Shell, has been released on Ultra HD Blu-ray to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Based on Masamune Shirow's cyberpunk manga, the film explores themes of existence, and humanity in a technologically advanced world where people are cybernetically enhanced or have their bodies entirely replaced by cybernetics. One such cyborg is the film's protagonist, Major Motoko Kusanagi, who questions her own reality as she battles with the mysterious Puppet Master who hacks not only computers, but also humans.


Ghost in the Shell's muted color palette gives the future world a grimy and dystopian look, but the Dolby Vision-enhanced picture is excellent throughout. While there aren't a lot of eye-popping colors or HDR highlights, exquisite hand-drawn animation mixed with CGI, including the highly detailed backgrounds, give the film a haunting visual appeal. The picture is sometimes intentionally soft or even pixelated when simulating computer displays, but the effect is convincing and serves the stylized visuals. There is not a wholesale difference between the included Ultra HD and standard Blu-ray versions of the film, but the Ultra HD disc looks noticeably brighter and has greater overall contrast.


The disc's Dolby Atmos soundtrack is occasionally breathtaking in its immersive depiction of the futuristic world, especially when it features Kenji Kawai's contemporary score with traditional Japanese influences. However, the soundtrack exhibits a general lack of low-end weight, even with explosions during the combat scenes. Both Japanese and English Atmos soundtracks are available, along with the original Japanese soundtrack in stereo PCM and both descriptive English audio and commentary tracks.


The lack of extras provided for this ground-breaking film is disappointing. There are two new documentaries about the production and art direction, including interviews with the English production crew. The standard Blu-ray disc adds two vintage documentaries containing interviews with the Japanese creators including Oshii, Kawai, and Shirow. There are also two original theatrical trailers and a digital copy code.


STUDIO: Lionsgate, 1995
HDR FORMAT: HDR10 and Dolby Vision
AUDIO FORMAT: Dolby Atmos with TrueHD 7.1 core
LENGTH: 83 mins.
DIRECTOR: Mamoru Oshii
STARRING: Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Kôichi Yamadera, Tamio Ôki, Iemasa Kayumi, Yutaka Nakano