The Ill Communication

Wrapping up the Arise series, Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie will awe you with its visuals, but its lackluster performance of a story will have you yearning for something on par with what the movie for Stand Alone Complex brought to the franchise.

But this doesn't mean the movie was bad.  What you get is 100 minutes of some great action, which is half of what you want out from a Ghost in the Shell flick.  Although, you do wish there were some more dramatic points, but that's the difference between SAC and Arise.

What may confuse those seeing the movie may be due to the fact that it's a continuation of a story from the Arise series rather than a standalone movie.  The title should have been something like Ghost in the Shell: Arise - The New Movie to indicate letting the movie goer know that you'll need some context before seeing this movie.  And relation to this, even though you may have watched the four movies which comprises the Arise series, there's also a missing piece that links the series Arise to The New Movie.

After the theatrical Arise series was finished, they converted it into a 10 episode series titled Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Alternative Architecture that was made for TV.  The first 8 episodes are the four movies that make up Arise where each movie, called "boarders," are split in half to create 30 minute episodes.  But episodes 9 and 10 are new for the TV series that connect the Arise story to The New Movie.  This two-parter episode called "Pyrophoric Cult" deals with a hacker named Pyromaniac that may be involved with the "Fire-Starter" virus that's been an ongoing issue seen in Arise.

While being the movie with the less amount of philosophical discussions, there are bits of it dealing with the same tale of identity when it comes to the false memory virus that infects cyberbrains and the idea of prosthetic body swapping.  While some may see this as a refreshing change to the usual dense and heavy discussions that previous GitS incarnations bring with them, unfortunately it doesn't go as far to the other side of being just an action film as you'd want it to be.  Meaning, it's still cryptic for parts of its story, and for being such an action focused film, you'd wish they went a little bit more on the "mindless" side and kind of laid things all out for you.  This may have made it a better film and bringing a closer to the Arise series.

The music is composed by Cornelius, who also composed the music for Arise.  While his music is great, there are a number of tracks that were unfortunately recycled for The New Movie, so expect to hear a lot of repeats.  As for the visuals, they are even better looking here than in Arise; and that's saying something because Arise looked incredible.  Colors are pretty vibrant, but maybe not as much as was seen in Boarder 2, but it still looks really good, and it goes without saying all the CG is well done and matches what was seen in Arise.

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie deserves praise for its less philosophical approach, but it didn't go as far away from it as you'd want it to, and because of this, it's as though its caught in the middle not knowing its own identity of being more intellectual focus or stupid action fun.  At this point in time of being the most recent story for the GitS franchise, loved how it makes a perfect bookend by referencing an early scene from the original manga towards the end of the movie.  If you followed the franchise from the start, seeing this is a pretty neat nod for fans.

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie

Production: Production I.G
Film Release: June 2015
Run Time: 100 minutes

US Blu-ray Release: April 2016
<< Arise

Posted on: March 30, 2017