GHOST IN THE SHELL Film Review
Based on the internationally-acclaimed Japanese Anime property, GHOST IN THE SHELL follows Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9 devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists. Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology. Can this summer blockbuster hit the jackpot at the box office? The omens look promising.
In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that she has been lied to: her life was not saved, it was stolen. She will stop at nothing to recover her past, find out who did this to her and stop them before they do it to others.
Directed wise Rupert Sanders gives us a fantastic film that has impeccable art direction, set design, and cinematography which is set to leave viewers’ jaws agape The film does share with the original manga, anime or animated feature(s) does appear to be exploring the same themes of individuality, consciousness, and the intersection between the two. The director infuses the action with a pretty perfectly calibrated mix of the high and low brow, infusing each visceral gun battle with ponderous looks and thoughtful quotes. He should be congratulated on giving us a retro world with a lot of mixed races, where the eyes are enhanced to see the world differently. An excellent homage to the Manga source.
Performance wise Scarlett Johansson as the Major is on cracking form. She is an action heroine that gives John Wick a good run for his money. The actress nails the characters nuances and is exceptional in the high brow action scenes as she is highlighting the humane edge to the film’s complex questions of ethics and creation. The actress is ideally cast as an existential heroine, as she’s really really good at it conveying vulnerabilities and depth sans any dialogue. There’s no other actress today that can reveal as much using so little. She nails her character who is on a
.journey of self discovery and is excellent in inhabiting a role that has hidden anger and hidden humanity issues to deal with.
The supporting cast consists of the excellent Juliette Binoche’s who as Dr. Ouelet sees Major as a ‘major technical achievement’ and ”a miracle”, but to Binoche’s shady male science partner, Major’s just “a weapon.” Neither, though, acknowledges their creation as anything more than a tool either for science or force. Later, even Major herself questions if she’s anything more than circuits and wires, staring at the remnants of a dead AI, comparing and contrasting it with herself. Takeshi Kitano is the Commander/patriarch of section 9 who is fabulous in his role and gives it gravitas. Pilou Asbeak plays Batou is very human and reminds Major of life she can have. Ex military cyber enhanced. and has heart warmth and us a hard core killer.
The film suffers from white washing as the lead character is played by an American .and not an Asian .However Scarlett Johansson dos full justice as the Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind cyborg hybrid who leads a taskforce in taking down a nefarious computer hacker. Ghost in the Shell is a roller coaster ride and does well in giving the original Japanese manga, anime a Hollywood make over.