Scarlett Johansson says she may run for office someday

You already knew that, though. It's impossible to discuss the movie's troubled treatment of identity politics without spoiling some big reveals, but before we get into those, there are plenty of other things that make the live-action remake a disappointment. In it, we see the Major's cyborg body being created - it's very Westworld-esque.

When the comic first appeared, some of these issues were cutting edge but they have been so thoroughly hashed out in so many movies (and in real life) that most of it is as outdated as a VHS video of "WarGames".

Both films see the water fight scene, where Major takes on an opponent while invisible. "Beat" Takeshi Kitano was truly an imposing and impressive Section 9 Chief Daisuke Aramaki, Major's immediate superior. That leaves less room for the philosophical musings of the original, and places greater emphasis on plot twists that aren't particularly shocking, many courtesy of cybernetic villain Kuze (Michael Pitt). Still, there is fun to be had with "Ghost in the Shell", if you can put everything else to the back of your mind. Johansson, experienced at playing non-human entities in movies including Her and Under the Skin, gives Major the right mix of angst and efficiency, and the supporting cast is mostly unobtrusive. Here those ideas are presented with painfully on-the-nose, poorly written dialogue. She soon learns from Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche), the scientist who programmed her, that Hanka has been withholding the truth about their experiments - including the origins of Major's brain, the human soul (or "ghost") inside her robot "shell".

The first and most shocking thing you'll notice about the live-action "Ghost in the Shell" movie is that it's actually quite good and occasionally outstanding and that we never really can be sure of anything, can we? A lot of that has to do with Johansson's line delivery, which comes off stilted and forced. As she does, Ghost in the Shell keeps avoiding any human gut-punches about identity, objective and what lies beyond death.

Sadly, imagination is a lacking ingredient in this Hollywood remake of a fan-favourite Japanese exploration of the intersection between people and robots.

Overall, the original anime may be preferable for those who want an engaging tale with friendlier characters and a less clinical setting. Instead, it draws on elements from the wealth of source material, from the manga to the TV series like Stand Alone Complex to, of course, the original film. This is indeed the case in the movie Ghost in the Shell in the cinema since yesterday. Even worse, this film blatantly denies its character's whiteness and urges its audiences to do the same. It undermines and devalues her journey. The initial sequence showing the creation of The Major was so beautifully rendered and visually arresting and this would set the pace and standard for the spectacles to come for the rest of the film.

And it must be said that Johansson, in spite of the controversy, is believable as the Major. Though it's mesmerizing to look at, Ghost in the Shell erases its ghost only to be left with a vapid, empty shell.

  • Salvatore Jensen