Ghost in the Shell – Film Review

Let me start by saying, I’ve not read the manga, I’ve not seen the anime, and the whole whitewashing, casting controversy isn’t really my area of criticism. So I won’t mention them. That being said, I might touch on the last one very briefly. And I mean VERY briefly, okay? Jeez, get off my back about it.

The pitch for this movie must have been ‘The Matrix‘ meets ‘Blade Runner‘ in the daytime. Because that’s basically what it is. Just a less good version of both of those. The story goes that Scarlett Johansson’s Major is just a brain that’s been put in a robot body and now she fights crime. However, on the trail of a criminal she begins to question her identity and seeks answers. The story sounds like it’ll be intriguing, but it doesn’t play out that way. It has some twists and turn, all of which are quite predictable.

The characters aren’t very well rounded either. The people are wooden, almost as robotic as all the weird implants they have fitted to them. Everything to do with the story and the characters thinks it is deeper than it is. It keeps telling you there is meaning and emotion behind it all but you don’t feel any of that. Show it don’t tell it! Most of the people in this film either look bored and uninterested or are barely recognisable behind weird implants and strange computer fuzz effects. The best acting in this is Scarlett Johansson’s weird ‘robot pretending to walk like a very determined and angry human’ walk. And it’s the best because it’s so laughable in serious situations.

I will say that the world they’ve built is good. A future where animated adverts appear on the sides of skyscrapers and people are being enhanced by cybernetics is great and so are most of the special effects which bring it to life. The holograms do have a weird fuzz around them to show that they are computer generated which is a nice touch but I could have done without it. It was weird and made my eyes go a bit funny. Might just be my weathered old eyes though. The special effects do hold up though. They are bright a look cool. Except for the cloaking effects that is. They look horrible and unpleasant. That’s not just my eyes though. That’s definitely a fact.

Now I know there was all this controversy about the casting of Japanese character as a white American. I get why that’s bad. I also get why it happened. But I don’t know whether it was just part of the story (original or remake), but the film seems to try and justify this and it just doesn’t seem right I don’t think. Again, I get it. I get what they were doing. But, it just doesn’t hit. Like this movie. It’s very average, a bit boring and then almost kind of cool at other times. Maybe the original is better. I don’t know. I probably won’t be in a hurry to find out though.

JACK’S SCORE: 2/5

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