Ghost in the Shell Review (Spoilers!) 5.5 out of 10
Scarlett Johansson stars in the live adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, now in theaters.
Ghost in the Shell is based off of a 1989 manga series turned animated film in 1995. It has since spawned several sequels and has been revamped several times over in various forms of entertainment.
The animated film even inspired the creation of the Matrix by the Wachowski brothers.
Ghost in the Shell follows Motoko Kusanagi, AKA Major, a young woman who's brain was surgically removed and placed into a robotic shell.
The term "Ghost" is used throughout the film. It's An important aspect of the series.
A ghost refers to an organic beings essence that is hidden within the artificial and inorganic parts.
Ghost in the Shell is set in 2029, a post-cyberpunk future, where past and futuristic technologies collide, blurring the lines of man and machine.
The city is ravaged by corporate greed, corruption and crime. Thanks in part to Hanka corporations.
In this era, people routinely upgrade their form through black market and corporate means. There are very few individuals who have not succumbed to cybernetic enhancements. As far as Makoto is concerned, she's the only fully functional cyborg in existence.
One of the best elements of the film is the relationship between Major and her partner, Batou.
They function well as a team and have one another's back. Batou's brute nature compliments the Major and keeps her grounded to the human race.
Every other character is distant. They only function in the background to move the story along.
The film depicts stunning images and scenes straight out of the manga and animated film.
Aside from accurate depictions of imagery, the film diverts from the source material in terms of story and intricacy.
Grand ideas of humanity and robotics are presented, but have been significantly dumbed down and are rarely ever explored beyond the surface.
Many elements of the film are reminiscent of Blade Runner, Westworld and Lucy. Most notable in it’s use of special effects, the creation of the Major's robotic shell and the landscape of the city, that riddles the skyline in bright multicolored holographic advertisements.
The film never really explained the role of Division 9. The same fault hinders the animated film.
Sorry in advance for the following bit of information. I learned of it through one of many reviews. I thought it wouldn't be a bother, but it haunted me throughout the film.
Major has a funny gait. It sticks out and is hard to ignore. Its almost as if Scarlett Johansson decided to drag one leg forward as she stiffly stumps forth.
Frankly, Ghost in the Shell is an uninspired and dull experience.
Two moviegoers literally fell asleep in the middle of the film and snored up a storm.
Ghost in the Shell is nothing more than a sugary filled bowl of empty calories. This is terrible news for future action films set to star Hollywood’s leading ladies.
Ghost in the Shell is already expected to be the first bomb of 2017. Not because of Johansson but because the manga is fairly unfamiliar and Paramount failed at marketing and creating hype.
Paramount has blamed its failure thus far on the whitewashing of the Major. I'm sure it played a role but is not the definitive reason for failure.
The film makes little sense in relation to Motoko. For example, Makoto was a fifteen-year-old runaway gathered up by Hanka Corporation's robotics division. The film takes place a year after the brain transplant where she appears in a grown woman's shell and is expected to perform as a mature operative of Division 9, a government funded anti- terrorist unit.
Major and her fellow runaways were subject to illegal and immoral experiments in cybernetics, that resulted in dozens of deaths due to failed results. Which brings us the villainous hacker Kuze, played by Michael Pitt, an amalgamation of the Puppet Master.
Kuze hacks into Major. Soon after, she begins to suffer from traumatic flashbacks that lead her to Kuze, as she investigates a string of murders related to the cybernetic experiments.
Kuze informs the Major that there were many attempts before her, who died. Kuze was one of them. Her perspective is changed and she sets her sights on Hanka Corporations.
As the mystery intensifies, the major learns of her mother. She further discovers that she was merely a child and the experiments done to her were based on a series of falsehoods. In fact, Kuze was a victim, she knew prior to her own dramatic change.
Hanka corporations wanted to control Major. They wanted her to be an obedient soldier free of personal thought. They did so through a daily injection; she thought the injection was meant to prevent her brain's rejection of the shell.
A loose-canon with enough information to shutdown Hanka Corporations forces the owner, Cutter, to take things into his own hands. Of course, the Major succeeds after much turmoil and regains a relationship with her mother.
Ghost in the Shell was clearly designed for audiences to enjoy in Imax or 3D. The visuals and action sequences are the films saving grace. Scarlett Johansson is familiar with action because of her vast experience in working with Marvel, this experience adds to the realism and thrill.
The story is similar in many ways to the 1995 film, but shakes it up enough to surprise viewers and adapt it to a modern day audience.
The endings are different but at least the latest film ties up most of its loose ends unlike the animated film, which left me confused and unsure of what just happened.
The film was forgettable. There was very little substance to sustain the ramifications of presenting a world that begs the question of humanity, sentience and choice.
If your looking for a philosophical take on man and life, look elsewhere. Ghost in the Shell lacks much and presents very little. It's A descent film that is best left to Redbox.
Ghost in the Shell scores a 5.5 out of 10. Mostly out of pity.