Movie Review- Ghost In The Shell (2017)

Ghost In The Shell is an American remake of the anime film of the same name written by Masamune Shirow. It is directed by Rupert Sanders and stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, Juliette Binoche, Kaori Yamamoto, and others.

Major Mira Killian is a product of enhanced cybernetic science created by Hanka Robotics. Humanity has been increasingly relying on technology to enhance themselves and Major is the first of her kind in being completely robotic. She works for Section 9, an anti-terrorist organization within the government. She gets frequent treatments from Dr. Ouelet at Hanka to ensure her mind does not reject the cybernetics.

She works with fellow agents Batou and Togusa under the guidance of Chief Daisuke Aramaki. The team manages to stop a terrorist attack on Hanka executives, however, after hacking or ‘diving’ into a rogue Geisha robot, she discovers a villain named Kuze is targeting Hanka.

After the dive, Major starts to experience glitches that make her curious about her past, which she cannot remember. All she has is information giving to her by Ouelet, but she soon starts to doubt as she and her team chase Kuze.

Critics panned the film and it was not enthusiastically welcomed at the box office. As an anime fan, I actually avoided this film when it was in theaters thinking it was another Dragon Ball Evolution. However, after getting it on DVD, I think I understand why Ghost In The Shell was not well received.

The director literally recreates an anime. It is essentially a dark, cyberpunk anime film brought to life with live action characters. It’s not a typical anime or manga American remake, inserted with themes suitable for a Western audience. I think this threw off viewers unfamiliar with Japanese-style storytelling. Most of the critics probably watched the original anime film and appreciated it, but were expecting Western style plot devices. In my opinion, the film is enjoyable because I have watched a plethora of anime shows and films, so it was not lost on me, but I can see someone who is unfamiliar with the genre would not understand it.

As for the acting, Scarlett Johansson does play a muted version of Major and that was slightly different. In the context of this film, I found her performance engaging. I applaud Sanders for the stunning visuals and powerful cinematography.

Compared to the original two anime films and the show, it does stay decently close to characters and tone, however, it does divert significantly from one end. The manga and anime has themes of identity in the plot, with Major exploring the subject through other characters. In this movie, Major is the focal point of the identity crisis, allowing for her to search for meaning in an increasingly cybernetic world.

FAVORITE QUOTE: You are not defined by your past, but for your actions…

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Foul language, Violence, Sexual Themes

PS: I feel I should address the white washing nonsense. SJWs in the USA raised ridiculous accusation with certain cast members. This was something that many say caused the film to bomb. However, even Mamoru Oshii, director of the original anime film said, “I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics.” I agree. It’s a remake of a cartoon. Deal with it.

Like anime? Check out my review of Spirited Away. Be sure to like and share! Don’t forget to subscribe for more movie reviews like this one!

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