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Blu-Ray Review: Cleopatra’s Shin Ultraman 

Shin Ultraman

The team that brought you Shin Godzilla is back with a reboot of another Japanese Icon, Ultraman.  Shin Ultraman comes to Blu-ray from Cleopatra with superior picture and sound

The Film 

If you’re going to modernize one of the sterling examples of Tokusatsu over the last fifty years, you would want only the best.  Enter director Shinji Higuchi and screenwriter Hideaki Anno who together co-directed Shin Godzilla have respective duties in Shin Ultraman.  The results are a very loving tribute to the Ultraman Franchise and something a little bit different.  

The duo has created a film that feels retro in the best possible way retaining the type of FX work that looks like Tokusatsu straight out of the late 1960s including the awkward posing of Ultraman as he deals his form of badassery.  There is something lovingly awkward and goofy that feels perfectly aligned throughout the entirety of the film.  Shin Ultraman isn’t a satire or parody mocking the history of its character.  Rather, the film is a loving tribute to those Films and TV series that captured the imagination of so many – including these filmmakers.  

Screenwriter Anno is at home in this world of bureaucracy, kaijus, and world-ending stakes.  As in his work in the amazing anime series Neon Genesis EvangelionShin Ultraman alternates between epic action scenes and intimate scenes of contemplation.  The story adroitly sets up the kaijus that have been awoken by humanity and in part earth’s doom is humanity’s fault.  

Though Shin Ultraman is never a contemplative slog.  Director Higuchi’s lean economical approach always has the film on the move and never a wasted moment.  Even the scenes of bureaucracy have a tension to them.  The film expertly alternates between inventive action scenes and scenes of plot-driven narrative.  Part of the fun of Shin Ultraman is the variance in the way the action scenes are executed. It never resorts to just “punching and laser beam” but there’s a wit and intelligence to the way things are constructed.  Anno’s script makes sure that each of these set pieces move the plot forward rather than just being there for the sake of visual bombast.  

Shin Ultraman succeeds in giving us a brand-new version of Ultraman that is epic, fun, funny, a bit psychedelic multiverse trippiness, and all together … hopeful.  It may be the most radical notion in 2023.  Shin Ultraman is at every turn hopeful in humanity and its ability to solve its own issues.  

Though it does help that we have a really kick-ass giant Alien Robot helping us out.  

The Transfer

The transfer provided by Cleopatra is a stunner.  The digitally shot film looks flawless on Blu-Ray.  The sharp image is consistent in its color reproduction and contrast levels.  It also remains free of any digital issues like ghosting or artifacting.  The result is a beautiful transfer that could only be leveled up by a release of a 4K UHD.  Bravo to Cleopatra for ensuring that this transfer like the film is a blockbuster delight.  

The Extras

They include the following;

  • Trailer
  • Slide Show

Trailer (1:23)

Slide Show (2:51) – this image gallery consists of 35 images pulled from the film.  The slide show can be paused but not navigated.  The Slide Show plays the final song from the film.  

Rounding out the special features are a collection of trailers for Area 51 (1:30); Scavenger (1:29); The Ghosts of Monday (1:33); A Taste of Blood (1:55); The Hex (1:26), Baphomet (1:07); Skin Walker (1:28)

The Final Thought 

Shin Ultraman is the kind of “remake” we need more of.  Cleopatra brings this Epic Japanese Blockbuster to Blu-ray with great sound and picture.  Highest Possible Recommendations!!!! 

Cleopatra’s Blu-Ray edition of Shin Ultraman is out July 11th

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