Howdy ladies and gents, I’m back for another film review and today I’ll be talking about the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. Now I had been apprehensive about this film for a while now, and I’m sure a good number of people across the world have been too. This western adaptation of the original manga and anime film from 1995 is one of the most talked about and respected films in the eyes of a lot of critics and film fans, so remaking it was always going to be uphill battle. Now I know there’s been a lot of talk about the white-washing of the main character and I don’t want to get into that, the main reason I wasn’t keen on this film was because of the director, not only because I didn’t think he was the right man for the job, but also because of his foolish adulterous actions in the past. But yeah that shouldn’t come into play when we’re talking about this film. So how is Ghost in the Shell? Well read on and find out!
So the story can be summed up as the following:
“Cyborg counter-cyberterrorist field commander The Major (Scarlett Johansson) and her task force Section 9 thwart and humiliate criminals, hackers and terrorists. Now, they must face a new enemy who will stop at nothing to sabotage Hanka Robotics’ artificial intelligence technology.”
I thought the story had a lot of interesting ideas of about what is to be human, freewill, the future of technology, the pros and cons of being cybernetically enhanced and so on. If you’ve seen any sci-fi film involving robots and technology then a lot of the themes and concepts this film presents will feel familiar, and while this film does do a good job of presenting some of these elements, I don’t think it had the right writers or director necessary to make think and feel on that deeper, dramatic and more emotional level. It is surface level material that’s fine but you’ve seen it done better in other films. For the most part the film was pretty interesting, but it did have a few moments where it really slowed down and some of the information the characters were going on about just didn’t matter to me, it felt like pointless jargon that needed to end quickly. Oh and don’t expect me to do any comparisons to the 1995 film, I haven’t seen in around 9 years and I wasn’t too keen on it, I thought the sequel was much better, so I only noticed some visual similarities but I couldn’t confirm them for sure.
As for the cast I thought they were fine, though only a handful of them stood out. Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian was fine, she handled her material the best she could, at times I felt like she was getting into that Lucy territory where she couldn’t express any emotion because of the nature character, but for the most part she was fine. Takeshi Kitano as Chief Daisuke Aramaki was pretty cool, Kitano has a nice screen presence and I loved his tone of speaking and how imposing he was, but I feel like he was a little wasted in this film. Pilou Asbæk as Batou was nice, I enjoyed his performance and Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouélet had some good scenes and interesting scenes with Johansson. Michael Pitt as Hadley Cruz was pretty intriguing and had some of the most captivating material in the film, also seeing Chin Han around as Togusa was fun and he had some nice scenes too and finally Peter Ferdinando as Cutter was just generic and not as engaging as he should have been.
When it comes to the presentation it was easily the best part of the film. From a visual standpoint the film was great, the world that the special effects team created for this film was clearly inspired by not only the original film but also Blade Runner, it is colourful, large in scale, layered with all sorts of details from the design of the robotic humans, to the various holograms dotted all over the city. It was all very impressive and pretty to look at. The action scenes were fine, some stood out more so than others, but I feel like the creativity went the visual style of the film and wasn’t applied to fight scenes which felt a little bland and lacking in creativity, oh and some of those uses of slow motion were unnecessary too. The film score from Clint Mansell and Lorne Balfe had some interesting moments especially when there started tapping into the otherworldly nature of the original film’s music, but overall it was decent.
In the end Ghost in the Shell was alright, as someone who wasn’t expecting much it ended up being better than I anticipated. Now I’m not saying the film is great, but it wasn’t total rubbish either. I enjoyed some of the action, the visuals were pretty cool and some of the themes were intriguing, but in the end it didn’t have the depth and direction necessary to make it anything more than just an okay film.
So have you seen Ghost in the Shell and if so what did you think of it? And how do you feel it compares to the original? Please drop me your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀