Monday, October 26, 2009
My 3-star review of Ghost in the Shell 2.0 from Amazon.com
I'm going to break this review down into two parts.
The movie itself:
This is Ghost In The Shell in HD. It's beautiful, but for a smoother translation into the look of Innocence the greenish colors of the original film have been touched up and made to be more of an amber color like that seen in second film. This isn't really a change that I mind, and it's pulled off fairly well. I assume that several scenes were cleaned up digitally because the line art looks amazingly clean.
Sadly, someone felt it would be appropriate to replace some of the most iconic and stunning animation from the original with CG. A few scenes are done well like those where the CG is only helicopters or buildings, but whenever it replaces characters with crappy looking CG models it becomes stunningly bad. If you watch the making of the original movie you can see that their limited use of computer assisted animation was carefully planned and fit in with the other artwork and improved the film. The CG in 2.0 sticks out like a sore thumb in most cases. The only CG part that I liked was the pan over the cityscape at the end of the film.
If you have a bluray player and haven't seen GitS yet 2.0 isn't a bad way to see it, but fans of the original will probably be disappointed with the lack of any significant changes and the quality of what was changed.
The bluray by Manga:
Somehow Manga Entertainment never ceases to screw something pretty major up on their releases. The box lists a commentary with Oshii, an interview with Oshii and a making of GitS 2.0. None of these features are present on the bluray. You get throw away character profiles, glossary, and the old english trailer. The original making of GitS is here in VHS quality along with the unlisted bonus feature of the original cut of the movie. When I heard that I was pretty excited because in all honesty it's the only version I truly care about, but it looks to be taken from non-HD masters and only includes 2.0 audio tracks. If memory serves me correctly I believe that my GitS DVD looks better upscaled than this version does.
It would have been nice to do a re-dub of the film with the SAC cast, but I guess most of them were in the original anyway and it's a nice dub in it's own right.
This whole release just makes me want the original film untouched in HD. I can't give this less than three stars if only because seeing this movie this way is better than not seeing it at all because it's a one of my favorite films ever, but be aware of the problems with this release before deciding to buy it.