While the Ghost in the Shell live-action adaptation is stealing all of the headlines, fans of the original animated film have been generating buzz about the Mondo Steelbook Blu-Ray edition of the 1995 movie based on the manga series of the same name.
Some anticipated that this might just be the definitive edition of the greatest animated films ever made. Does it live up to the hype, or is this edition of the movie just a pretty face?
It’s not that often that the headline feature of a Blu-Ray release is its cover, but it’s not that often that the good people at Mondo lend their talents to a cover. For those who don’t know, Mondo is a collection of artists and other creative types who specialize in producing some of the finest art inspired by films in the world. They are known far and wide by film fans as the definitive source for film-related art prints.
True to form, they have produced a stunning Ghost in the Shell cover image that looks even better on this edition’s steel book casing. Not only is this cover a perfect representation of the movie itself, but it stands alone as a striking image with depth that forces you to study it.
In short, your other Blu-Rays will be jealous once this goes on the shelf.
In terms of significance and quality, Ghost in the Shell hasn’t aged a day. Actually, it’s really only gotten better as time goes on. It’s the story about a team of operatives who are tasked with bringing down a hacker known only as The Puppet Master. This hacker’s abilities threaten to bring down the film’s futuristic society, and nobody is quite sure how to stop him.
While Ghost in the Shell certainly works as a thriller, its true claim to fame is the world the film creates. This is one of the most thematically challenging and complex visions of the future we’ve ever seen in a movie. Despite this, it’s a remarkably brisk movie that rarely slows down to examine its own brilliance.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the movie’s stunning animation still stands as a marvel of the craft. This is a truly beautiful film with an awe-inspiring soundtrack.
Video and Audio
Given that Ghost in the Shell is known for the quality of its visual and soundtracks, it’s a bit surprising to see how half-hearted this Blu-Ray transfer really is.
To be fair, this is the best looking and best sounding version of Ghost in the Shell that has ever been released. However, it earns that title by default. The Blu-Ray transfer looks fine but is hindered by a full-screen black bar border that really limits the potential of the transfer on larger screens.
The sound fares better thanks to a DTS-HD transfer, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before.
When it comes to this edition’s special features, there’s a lot to talk about and not a lot to talk about. That’s because there are no special features in this edition of Ghost in the Shell. Well, unless you consider a digital copy of the movie to be a special feature.
There’s simply no excuse for that. Given that the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell is right around the corner, you would think that all efforts would have been made to ensure that this would be the definitive edition of the 1995 movie. The lack of special features prevents that from being the case.
Only those who don’t already own Ghost in the Shell on Blu-Ray or superfans who really want that beautiful Mondo cover on their shelves should bother with this slightly disappointing – but still beautiful – edition of a classic film.