So while I was considering doing a review of the original Ghost in the Shell leading up to this. But I decided not to for one simple reason. I wanted to go into this with my only expectation being “This looks like a cool sci-fi action movie and I hope it’s good and entertaining.” rather than watch the original and either go “Wow! That was great. I hope the new one lives up to it.” or “Well that was overhyped. Now I’m a little worried for the new one.” Something similar happened when I watched the original Ghostbusters before the new one came out last year. Basically, I wanted to go in with fresh eyes and, hopefully, just enjoy the movie for what it is. With that said, let’s get on with the review for this movie. So how does this movie hold up?
First off, the film looks amazing, both in terms of visual effects and cinematography. The sky shots of the city and the amazing hologram effects create this awesome and unique looking setting. Not to mention the amazing makeup and prosthetics on characters like Batou with his cybernetic eyes. I won’t be shocked if this gets Oscar nominations for visual effects and for makeup. What’s interesting is that there are times where the effects do look kinda fake, but it actually makes sense. For one, like I said, there’s a lot of hologram effects so they’re not supposed to look real. But also, and maybe I’m just reading too much into this, the film deals a lot with the Major, Johansson’s character, questioning what is real because fragments of her memories of her old life seem to be slowly surfacing. So when you see effects that don’t look complete or something, you could make the argument that that’s how she sees everything around her. Because, especially as the film progresses and she discovers what happened to her, she’s constantly questioning what’s real, both around her in real life and in her own mind.
The acting is also really good. I don’t care what anyone says, and I’ll talk about the whitewashing thing after I give my score for the film, Scarlett Johansson is great in this movie. This will sound strange, but you know how when your sick, it kinda hurts to even try to move? That’s kinda what her performance is. The Major seems to be restricted by her robotic body. The reason the movie is called Ghost in the Shell is because that’s literally what she is; a lost soul trapped in a body that is not her own. That might make it sound like that means her performance is stilted and bland, but it actually works. There are moments where she attempts to be expressive like anyone else, but can’t. But there’s also my personal favorite character in the film, Batou, played by Pilou Asbæk. He was cool and snarky, but also proved to be loyal ally to Major. And I don’t know why, but I freakin loved Takeshi Kitano as Aramaki. He doesn’t do much in the film for a while, but there are two scenes in the movie that made me go https://youtu.be/7OFCu2-jxHw
Ghost in the Shell gets 4/5 Shells. While there are some pacing issues in the second act and the villain was a little weak, I had a fun time and I hope for a sequel. It had fun action, a good story that kept me guessing, a good cast and great visuals. Ignore all the controversy and just enjoy it for what it is. Anyways, next time, it’s time for the next film series retrospective with the Fast & Furious movies.
SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!! DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE A SPOILER FOR THE MOVIE!!!!!!!!
Okay, I was really hoping to avoid this, but after seeing the movie, I have to say this. (Puts on bullet proof clothing) Casting a non-Asian actress in the lead role of this movie makes COMPLETE SENSE! Okay, so near the end of the film, the Major discovers what actually happened to her. When she first woke up, shes convinced her name was Miri and she was on a boat of refugees that was attacked by terrorists. She’s also told that she’s the first of her kind. There’s already a large amount of the populous that have cyber enhancements, but she’s told she’s the first person to have their brain safely removed and placed into a fully cybernetic body. But she discovers that she was one of about a hundred runaways who was taken by the company who gives people cyber enhancements. They were all used as experiments and it wasn’t until her that they finally succeeded. She was an Asian girl named Motoko and she even finds her mother, but she was implanted with false memories and as I said, she’s convinced that her name was Miri. And while it’s not said, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s also convinced that she was a white girl as well. And that’s why casting Scarlett Johansson should be fine. There are moments where she has memory flashes of where she was when she was taken and she often takes a sort of medicine that she’s told is meant to help her mind accept the body it’s in, but in reality, it’s suppressing her memories. The reason it makes sense to cast a non-Asian is because with all the flashes she had from looking at nothing, imagine what would’ve happened if they’d given her body a replica of her original face and she looked in a mirror or even just a puddle of water. The reason the cyber enhancement people gave her the face of someone of a different race is to further throw her off even more from realizing who she really was. Oh and by the way, from what I’ve heard, in the anime, the character has had multiple bodies of different variation in ethnicity and even gender. As the end of the movie drew closer, I was actually wondering if her body what end up so beaten up and damaged, that she’d get a new body with even a new face. My point with this last part of the review is DONT GET MAD ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THIS WHEN THERES A WAY IT CAN MAKE SENSE!!!!!!!