Ghost In The Shell (1995) Movie Review by Eugene Alejandro

Disclaimer: The version of the movie that I’m reviewing is NOT the 2.0 version. This is a review of the normal version of the film which I own on DVD. With that said, please enjoy the review.

The 1995 Ghost In The Shell movie is a Japanese animated science fiction and cyberpunk film directed by Mamoru Oshii, made and released by Bandai Visual and Production I.G, released into English by Manga Entertainment, and is adapted from the Manga series of the same name by Masamune Shirow (the movie even has an alternative titled called Mobile Armored Riot Police: Ghost In The Shell).

The plot of the film is about an intelligence department named Public Security Section 9 who is on the task of hunting down a massive ghost hacker called The Puppet Master. The world of Ghost In The Shell is that there exists a special technology that allows the consciousness of a human being to enter an enhanced cybernetic body (hence the title of the movie), and for there to be someone who can hack into the cybernetic bodies is a very big problem. The movie mostly centers on the main character for the film; Motoko Kusanagi, who while going along with the mission in trying to capture the Puppet Master, ends up wanting to know more about the hacker (which ends up leading up to a pretty clever and surprising plot twist that I won’t spoil in this review).

In the same vain of other Anime movies such as Akira, and Ninja Scroll, Ghost In The Shell helped introduce Japanese animation into the USA, and was the huge critical and financial success when it first came out back in the year 1995 (the movie also served as inspiration for The Matrix franchise). Does the movie hold up and aged well from it’s grand reputation though? Yes it does. Similar to what I did in my review for the Akira movie, I will talk about each aspect of Ghost In The Shell (1995) in good amount of detail, and then say my overall final thoughts on the movie.

-The Story and Writing: In a very good way, the story in Ghost In The Shell 1995 is very deep and complex, and moves at a great pace thanks to how the script is written. If there one small thing about the story (and how it’s written) that I should mention however, is that because of the complexity of the plot, the story can sometimes be hard to follow, so I would strongly recommend watching this movie multiple times in case you are unable to fully understand the story from just one viewing. As far as the character development is concerned in the story and writing for Ghost In The Shell 1995, while there aren’t any flashbacks that show each of the characters origins in great amount of detail, the characters that are mostly presented in the film do at least have solid motivations for what they are doing, and serve a good purpose in the film. So as far as Ghost In The Shell 1995’s plot and writing goes, it’s excellent. I should also mention before I forget that the movie does have a very good way of foreshadowing things that happen. I won’t go into the specifics about if for this review, but it is something I wanted to bring up about the film’s writing and plot.

-The Animation: One of the truly most memorable things about Ghost In The Shell 1995 is its animation. The movie was (at least to my best of knowledge) the first Japanese animated feature film to use an animation making process called DGA (Digitally Generated Animation). This is the result of combining cel animation, and computer graphics together. As far as how that process of making the animation for Ghost In The Shell 1995 went back then, it was done incredibly well as the backgrounds have such strong amount of detail put into them, the character movements are very strong and help the character feel real, and even the animation regarding character facial movements also does a good job at helping the characters feel alive. The use of computer generated graphics for this movie also help make the animation even better as the visuals are groundbreaking for the year that the movie came out. So without rambling on and on, the animation in Ghost In The Shell 1995 is amazing and holds up very well to this day.

-The Music/Score/Soundtrack: Another memorable part of Ghost In The Shell 1995 is the outstanding soundtrack for it that was created by Kenji Kawai. What’s very fascinating about the music is that a majority of it is actually created using the ancient Japanese language; Yamato. The overall score by Kenji Kawai in the film is beautifully haunting, and helps fit with the movie’s very deep and complex tone. There are moments however when the movie is devoid from the soundtrack, but that at times is actually a good thing because the silent moments in the film actually work with how the overall movie is made. I honestly got nothing else to say about the movie’s score, so let me just say that overall, the soundtrack in Ghost In The Shell 1995 is fantastic.

-The Voice Acting: Both the Japanese language, and English Dub voice acting for Ghost In The Shell 1995 are really good. I do have to say however that because of me watching this movie mostly in the English Dub, I will say that I strongly recommend watching the movie in the English Dub of Ghost In The Shell as all the voice actors in it do the great job with their roles as each voice actor matches the character they are voicing very well. As far as the Japanese voice acting is concerned, it’s done very well, but not as memorable as the English Dub in my opinion. So in a strange way, I will have to say to mostly stick with the English Dub of Ghost In The Shell 1995.

-The Subtitles: The DVD that I own of Ghost In The Shell 1995 includes subtitles that are colored white. The subtitles that I saw when watching the movie in the Japanese language are done very well as all the words are very easy to look at, and they stay on the screen for a good amount of time for the watcher to read them. So if you want to watch Ghost In The Shell 1995 in Japanese with English Subtitles on, be glad to know that the subtitles (at least in the DVD copy that I own) are well made.

With all that I could say about Ghost In The Shell 1995, I’ll finish up this review of it by saying that the movie truly does deserve the strong reputation that it has gotten since it first came out thanks to its deep and complex story, themes, and tones, groundbreaking animation, and breath taking music. To anyone who is a fan of Anime, Sci Fi, CyberPunk, etc, should really give Ghost In The Shell 1995 a watch.

I give Ghost In The Shell 1995 Two Thumbs Up, and 5/5 Stars.

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