Ghost In The Shell Movie Review Roundup
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 04, 2017,
Apr 04, 2017, 7:00
GHOST In The Shell takes a much-loved 1995 Japanese Manga movie and sticking it slap bang in A List Hollywood land. She's talking to her aged boss Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano) and her on-the-ground backup Batou (Pilou Asbaek) about what she sees-not with her eyes, but inside her mind.
Scarlett Johansson is Major, a fighting machine with a human soul, all that was left after a terrorist attack. Though Ghost in the Shell purports to be a movie about identity, it advocates for the complete erasure of it. But whether "Ghost in the Shell's" story is faithful or not, it feels empty, and the final product feels like a missed opportunity. The film gorgeously recreates the anime's opening shelling sequence, visualizing Major's (Scarlett Johansson) synthetic body as it comes together piece by piece.
"Despite the attractive eye-popping world it creates, the sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell is a defective mess with lifeless characters, missed chances for thematic exploration, and a minefield of political incorrectness". In this sense, director Rupert Sanders has attempted to bypass the whitewashing controversy by combining the original Japanese character with the kind of American actress that Hollywood feels is necessary to help market such a film. A newer version of Kenji Kawai's theme music, reimagined by Clint Mansell and Lorne Balfe, plays as translucent nerves dance around one another and Major's body rises through a pool of Westworld-like milk.
The actress has been in the news lately for reasons not so cheerful: Her two-year marriage to her French ad executive husband, Romain Dauriac, is over and the two are battling in court for custody of their 2-year-old daughter, Rose. The idea of Asian "ghosts" being implanted into white "shells" opens the floor for a whole array of interesting questions and possibilities. That's not bad, but if the franchise is to become a franchise, it might need to do a little bit better.
A half-hearted attempt at a multicultural world is gestured at, with the Section 9 crew, but it's not enough to offset this flaw, especially against a background of predominantly Asian actors in an Asian city. But as a total movie, Sanders' effort is all dressed up with no place to go.
Major's cybernetic body is a pioneering leap forward for Hanka Robotics, a company that has been helping the population blur the line between humanity and custom bionic parts for years.
Ghost in the Shell is out in wide release now.
Between her speech at the Women's March and her mocking impression of Ivanka Trump on SNL earlier this month, it would seem Scarlett Johansson is becoming more comfortable expressing an opinion on DC politics in public. Such a defense might have worked, if Ghost in the Shell didn't insist on revealing Major's backstory as that of a Japanese woman. By striving to incorporate both Eastern and Western cultures into the film's main character, one could even argue that Sanders and his team are trying to break down racial barriers through their casting. Major is tormented with Tasers while handcuffed to a stripper's pole, Batou loses his eyes in an explosion, poor Hanka scientist Dr. Dahlin (Anamaria Marinca) gets her face ripped off.
The production design of Ghost in the Shell is weird too.