Cert: 12A Runtime: 107 mins Director: Rupert Sanders Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbeck, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt and Juliette Binoche
They did not save your life. They stole it
Ghost in the Shell is probably one of the most acclaimed Manga/Anime ever to have been released! So why did Hollywood decide to cinematize this adored tale? The fact Rupert Sanders was on board put me off for sometime but the inclusion of Scarlett Johansson as Major made it more intriguing. The media had given Ghost in the Shell no hope from the first trailer. But you should never judge a book by it’s cover! So what is Ghost in the Shell about? 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.
Rupert Sanders live action take of Ghost in the Shell is worthy of the original anime. But it doesn’t out shine the 90’s classic! The VFX is really on point here, it truly brings the franchise to life. The choice of camera shots of the city can be a bit too much for the eyes. It’s a barrage of colour and too much is going on in the background during some points.The cinematography its truly remarkable, it somehow reproduce the atmosphere of the original anime, the decaying, depressing, dark megalopolis is correctly reproduced here the costumes, robots, and the general look and feel of the characters are quite satisfying and solid. The music is not bad at all, includes some of the original score and it work towards creating a dense and dark environment. Sanders really does rectify the mess he created with Snow White and the Huntsman. In all honesty I never thought he would work again. He doesn’t really bring an flare or anything unique to the film. But it’s evident he is a fan and has payed homage to the material.
The dialogue and the flow of Ghost in the Shell is on point too. The structure has some flaws but it paces itself well. The action is executed very well, but it does come in small bursts throughout. It works well for the film, but it may not be what some audience members will expect. Scarlett Johansson is now Sci-Fi royalty. Her roles in films like Under The Skin & Lucy have prepared her for playing Major. She overshadows the controversy of her casting. She plays an A.I so well it’s just part of her DNA now. She has such a hollow aura to her but can give slight hints of humanity at some moments. She really captures the essence of Major so well. Pilos Asbeck as Batou was not bad, his chemistry with Johansson really does pull him from the average side. But Takeshi Kitano was a pure bad ass and I enjoyed every moment with him. Ghost in the Shell is worth a watch will it trigger a franchise? I am not sure at all. But it’s a good watch especially for this time of year.