The imaginatively titled Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie is indeed exactly what it says on the tin – The new Ghost in the Shell movie. Directed by Kazuya Nomura, this latest theatrical instalment of the Major’s adventures picks up after events of Ghost in the Shell: Arise, and going in blind I didn’t realise this, so it’s a bit of a scramble to keep up at times, but thankfully the movie manages to craft an interesting tale of intrigue and cyber-subterfuge that holds up on it’s own merit.
When a Ghost virus known as Fire-Starter begins rampaging through cyberbrains across Japan, and the Prime Minister of Japan is assassinated, Motoko Kusanagi and her elite squad of ultimate badasses, no longer part of Section 9, are called in to investigate. Even if you haven’t kept up with GITS TV anime, you’ll still see plenty of familiar faces throughout this film, and it is when the mot familiar face of all pops up on the other side of the fight that the stakes are raised immensely.
We also learn more of the Major’s past throughout the film, seeing her past in an orphanage for cybernetic children, her relationship with Kurtz, who would go on to be a significant person in Motoko’s life. Perhaps most importantly, we find out about the research her parents had been doing into stopping androids from reaching a point where they could no longer upgrade and ‘dead-ending’, and it is in these aspects that echoes of the original’s philosophical questions surface.
For me The New Movie didn’t quite recapture the magic of the original film, but it is non the less an interesting and visually amazing movie, with Production I.G. animating the movie with exactly the level of polish you’d expect. I figure you’d well and truly get more out of this if you know Arise, and the disc does contain a primer that will get you up to speed, along with other GITS history, but it’s still not quite the same as having taken it all in yourself. That said, even for the casual viewer there’s a lot on offer here and it’s well worth a watch.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.