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Blu-ray 3D Review: Ghost in the Shell

July 25, 2017

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

After having her human brain successfully implanted in a robotic body, making her the first of her kind in a future world where humans have melded with machines, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is sent to work as part of Section 9, fighting terrorism alongside the cybernetically enhanced Batou (Pilou Asbæk).

But when tasked with tracking down the mysterious hacker Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt), who has found a way to gain access and hack into people’s minds, Major goes rogue and starts to discover that there is more to her origins.  This leads her on a journey of self-discovery, exploring how deep the corruption of the company that created her really runs.

Based on the beloved 1995 anime film of the same name, this live action remake of Ghost in the Shell has had a long road finally getting to the big screen, and has also garnered criticisms of whitewashing due to the casting of Scarlett Johansson in the leading role.  No doubt cast because of the strength of her mesmerizing roles as a lonely alien in Under the Skin and as a curious AI in Her, Scarlett Johansson is actually very good here.  Casting controversy aside, she makes the most of the role in both the action scenes and quieter character moments, and is one of the best things about the film.

The other area where this film succeeds is in terms of the visuals.  The world of the film is brought to life with impressive visual style, with the cityscape made up of neon colours, holograms and virtual popups that recall Blade Runner in their design.  But the story doesn’t go as deep into its complex themes about the ethics of research and the blurring of lines between humanity and technology as it could have, often delivering more style than substance.

Although it doesn’t reach the classic status of its tighter and more impactful animated counterpart, this live action take on Ghost in the Shell still provides enough eye-popping visuals, which are enhanced by the flawless 3D presentation, to be worth a look for sci-fi and action fans who want some eye candy.

The Blu-ray also includes the trio of solid production featurettes Hard-Wired Humanity: Making Ghost in the Shell, Section 9: Cyber Defenders and Man & Machine: The Ghost Philosophy.

Ghost in the Shell is a Paramount Home Entertainment release.  It’s 107 minutes and rated 14A.

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