Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie Review (Anime)

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie is a better film than the awful title would have you think, and Production I.G prove once again that they’re one of the best animation studios.
 
The New Movie follows a plot line started in the Arise TV series, not the Borders home releases in the UK, and sadly you can’t purchase them in the UK either. Fortunately, you can watch the film without having watched Arise as it’s mostly self-contained, but it would’ve been nice to have the chance to own the entirety of Arise but alas, it isn’t meant to be. The New Movie follows the assassination of the Prime Minister of Japan, and it’s up to Major Motoko Kusanagi, Public Security Section 9 and the Prime Minister’s son Osamu Fujimoto to find out why he was murdered and to detain them. There’s a fair bit of action with a sci-fi heavy story that brings into question if humans and androids can co-exist peacefully, which is a theme that I adore, but the film does move at a rather slow pace and struggled to hold my attention for its entirety, and sometimes felt aimless. By the end of the film, I felt like nothing much of note had really happened.
 
The New Movie 1

Production I.G are one of the greatest animation studios around with pretty much all of their stuff looking fantastic and The New Movie is masterful – so it should be, considering how excellent the original film still looks today. One thing that really stands out to me about Production I.G is how brilliant their environments look and how they’re used in fights – Ghost in the Shell, to me, is grounded in reality and the visuals, whilst seeping with sci-fi, compliment that and help to make the world so much more believable. Motoko’s design changed somewhat with Arise but I quite like it, although I prefer her previous iterations, and I like how the android parts are infused with the bodies in a way that’s sometimes subtle, owing more to the way of life in the future and how people get along.
 
The New Movie doesn’t have plenty of action but what it does have is spectacular, with some stunning hand-to-hand combat and explosive firefights. If you’re looking for an action-focused film then you won’t find that here, but I’m a fan of not having mindless violence and all of the battles here had good reasons for them. The New Movie is surprisingly colourful although it does tend to favour dark colours, and character design overall stays true to the series.
 
There’s a choice of English or Japanese voice-overs so guess what I chose? If you said Japanese, then you’ve not read enough of my reviews! As expected, I picked the English voice-over and really enjoyed it. Elizabeth Maxwell does well in breathing life into the strong-willed Mokoto, and chances are you’ll recognise the gruff-voiced Christopher Sabat as Batou. There is plenty of amazing voice-talent to be found here, and I want to mention how hilarious I thought Jad Saxton was as the think tank Logicoma. The end credits song song is a lovely and chill number, and the OST does its job in providing suspenseful tunes for the action scenes and overall dark tone of the story, but it was only the end credits song that really stood out for me.
 
The New Movie 2

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie can be watched without Arise, or any prior knowledge of the series, but it’ll help a lot when it comes to world-building and characters. Whilst far from a bad film, I do feel that not much of note happened in it and that it plodded along a bit too slow for my liking. If you’re a big fan of the series then sure, you should definitely give it a go but if you’re a newcomer to the series then I’d advise that you start with the original first. The extras on-disc are interesting with an Arise re-cap featuring people who worked on the anime, interviews, trailers, behind the scenes and a look back at 25 years of Ghost in the Shell, and I thought these extras made for nice additions. Hopefully one day we’ll see the entire Arise TV series head West.

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