Quick Hit: Visually appealing and full of uniqueness, this adaptation of Ghost in the Shell falls flat in some areas while succeeding in others.
I can honestly say I’ve never watched a movie that felt quite like Ghost in the Shell. The closest is when I first saw the Matrix as a young kid – I was probably about nine or ten years old. The digitizing of the human figure within a constantly updating digital world is something that provides fascinating visual capabilities, and it’s something that director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Hunstman) exploits for all its worth.
The movie follows Major (Scarlett Johansson), an agent of the Japanese government and human brain implanted robot. It’s astounding how often she surprises you with what she can do – it seems as if in this world, everything is unlocked to her. While the main plot of a high powered conspiracy runs dry within a few minutes of the opening story, Johansson still mines workable material out of an otherwise forgettable script. She somehow manages to allow Major to be a character that is full of struggle, despite rarely varying her emotion outlook on her face.
The bad guys are really generic, but the world that they are placed in isn’t. With large, digital ads scattered throughout the city, the world is instantly immersive. That, coupled with the different action scenes of Major fighting, make the world truly seem like it’s animation. This is a live action film that mirrors directly what you experience when playing a video game or reading a manga comic. The really effective visuals are unfortunately the best part of this movie.
That’s mainly because the rest of Major’s interactions are limited to generic bad guys, a sidekick who looks cool but is extremely wooden, and leadership and “doctors”/scientists that are essentially people that say smart technobabble. Even the other robots in the world seem to be mainly geishas. That’s my biggest kick on the film, which is unfortunate because a lot of the film was enjoyable. Despite having a formulaic plot twist, with more character building, it wouldn't have been quite as bad.
Ghost in the Shell is forgettable, but fun to look at. Fans of the game and comics will enjoy it. I’m giving it a “C-“.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"