Jean-Paul’s rating: 3/5 stars
Bottom Line: An effective recreation of the original anime, which I hated. Some cool action and a good enough story line.
With extremely rare exceptions, anime sucks. My vague recollections of “Ghost in the Shell” from back in the day put it firmly in the suck category. Why would I go see a real-life remake of an anime I hated? Curiosity of how they’d bring it to the big screen, mostly, but also partly because the hybridization of humanity with bio-enhancements is an interesting concept and I wanted to see how they’d explore it.
For the “Ghost in the Shell” uninitiated, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is a first of her kind totally synthetic body merged with a human brain. For reasons that don’t make much sense, she goes to work with a special police force to combat terrorism. The movie starts with her creation and jumps to her being on the force where she has to investigate the systematic murders of scientists that work for the company that created her, all the while dealing with the existential crisis of being not-quite-human.
I believe that fans of the anime will be happy with the rendering of the characters to the big screen. The entire feel of the movie is very reminiscent of anime. The movie does the bigger than life Batou (Pilou Asbæk) and his enhanced eyes especially well and does a good job of reproducing Aramaki’s (Takeshi Kitano) hair. The action sequences are also sufficiently anime-ish with their ridiculous plans and flawless execution.
The major downfall of the movie is the complete lack of depth to the plot. Major is a very compelling character with a lot of background to explore, but she, and Scarlett Johansson’s superb acting ability, goes mostly unexplored except for simplistic plot points. I know it’s asking a lot to be able to dive deep into an existential crisis in an hour and forty-five minutes, but Major ends up with as little flesh on her character as she does on her body. And that’s a shame.
“Ghost in the Shell” is a fun movie. There’s a lot that is left unexplored, but it can be forgotten if you just buckle up for the ride. A word of warning, however. There is a spider tank at the end. And as my brother said, “I’ve never seen a good movie that features a spider tank.” True words have never been spoken. Also, I hate this movie because it kind of made me want to watch the anime again.