For all the celebrated vision of the 1995 Japanese anime standard “Ghost in the Shell”, it resembled the inspirations of a teenage boy hopped up on the works of Phillip K. Dick and Hugh Hefner. You already knew that, though. There has been some controversy over the casting of non-Asian actors.
Based on the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga, Ghost in the Shell is a sci-fi action film directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman).
Scarlett Johansson stars as Major, whose brain is implanted into a cybernetic body after a crash.
In an interview for her latest movie, The Ghost in the Shell, Scarlett Johansson revealed that she’s taking self-defense classes after a journalist asked if she could beat him up during an interview.
Scarlett Johansson is officially Hollywood’s face and body of the future. While it offers some new ideas, the movie also suffers from the same pacing problems of the original. Since 1995 we’ve had The Matrix trilogy, Minority Report and even “Westworld” on television. So watching Johansson run up walls and shoot up bad guys in slow-mo is a bit of a bore; we’ve been there, done that.
The last few minutes of the film are the least inspired, most clichéd, least creative moments of the entire journey.
There is also a significant – and eye-rolling – revision of The Major’s origin story, presumably to justify why she now looks Caucasian in the remake.
Or maybe Major, like Oedipus, is really searching for herself? A lot of that has to do with Johansson’s line delivery, which comes off stilted and forced. Nevertheless, Johansson does pull off a good lead performance to give the film its emotional core. As much as Section 9 is often just set dressing, that team is a representation of the way Ghost in the Shell is supposed to be set in a more globalized futuristic world.
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However, this question is left unanswered – which means the original anime provides a plot that has a more satisfying ending. And so, accusations of whitewashing aside, she seems the flawless actor to embody Major, the cyborg-human hybrid at the centre of the existential sci-fi action flick Ghost in the Shell. The brain of a human, but the body of a robot.
But no. All we get are those clunky conversations that never lead anywhere, followed by a final act that drops the bigger questions entirely, so it can focus on action (which is perfectly enjoyable), strained attempts at emotion (less enjoyable) and establishing a new status quo for any sequels (eh).
The “ghost” here is soul, consciousness, humanity, heart; “shell”, that spirit’s physical shelter. She interrogates a woman about being human.
It turns out that most of the memorable scenes were directly lifted from the anime, such as that awesome fight scene on the shallow pool of water, as well as that fight with the ugly giant spider-like robot, but these were not exactly in the same story contexts. But beyond being offensive, the film’s “identity-less” credo makes no logical sense for the character.
Visually the film is wonderful. Yet, by day, there’s the decaying, rain-sodden feel of a high-rise shantytown, all hinting at a place with a million stories, both fascinating and frightening, to tell.