When I heard there would be a live action Ghost In The Shell movie I decided to not watch the original 1995 movie. I know people hold that movie in such high regard and I did not want to be the person who spends their review comparing and contrasting the movies. That being said I watched the trailer for the 1995 version and there were definitely images that were pulled straight from the anime movie. Ghost in the Shell focuses on Major, a young woman who survived a terrible accident, who became cyber-enhanced in order to stay alive. She is now an elite soldier tracking down dangerous criminals and brings them to justice. As a new type of cyber criminal emerges, Major begins to see that maybe her past isn’t what she thought it was, learning that her life might not have been saved but stolen instead. Her search for answers puts her in the path of one of the most powerful corporations on the planet. Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt, Takeshi Kitano, Rila Fukushima, Juliette Binoche, Chin Han, and Lasarus Ratuere.
I think there was potential with Ghost in the Shell but the story became a generic conspiracy movie with an evil corporation trying to take over something. It has been done several times before and this time is no different and offers nothing new. Not once did I feel any real threat for Major, not only because of the straightforward nature of the story, but they have the ability to rebuild her ‘shell’. I was able to predict pretty much everything from the first 15 minutes, which is something I am usually terrible at doing. The film also fails to deliver on any deeper concepts, such as our growing dependence on technology, implants and bioengineering, and what it means to be human. Instead we get a bland paint by numbers conspiracy movie with a protagonist who loses his or her memory, works as a super soldier or killer and can’t trust anyone. Been there done that.
To its credit Ghost in the Shell is stunning to look at, with fantastic visuals and some awesome action set pieces. The opening of the movie was incredible, as Major coming to life looked amazing, and based on what I saw in the 1995 trailer looks almost identical. I also loved the opening sequence when she falls off the building in an effort to stop the assassins. That sequence was followed up by a really impressive action sequence when she starts to shoot the assassins. It is unfortunate that this movie is all surface and no substance, because that is the let down. When you see a movie like John Wick it is expected to be just surface action, but it actually has a great story making it becomes extremely popular, movies like Fast and Furious are surface movies that deliver what you expect. Ghost in the Shell is a movie that should have been all substance, exploring the concepts similar to Blade Runner rather than just a ‘pretty’ movie, and it is a very pretty movie.
I think this might be the end for Rupert Sanders’ blockbuster career as a director. Between Ghost in the Shell and Snow White and the Huntsman, his movies under perform at the box office whilst also being poorly received by critics and fans. Personally I found both of his movies boring and lacking focus/ direction. The story and characters just go through the motions rather than creating any real stakes or reason to invest in the story, which is unfortunate given how popular the original story is for both properties.
I did not hate this movie but it left me with no impression or desire to watch it again. I am now intrigued to go back and examine the 1995 animated movie, because I believe there is a great story there but it was just a part of a poorly made film. It felt a little like Jason Bourne meets West World only not as awesome.
I really wouldn’t recommend this movie. It wasn’t a bad film it was just boring. The visuals are cool but it wasn’t enough to save it.
Ghost in the Shell scores a 5/10
What did you think of Ghost in the Shell? Was I too harsh or not harsh enough? Let me know in the comments section below.
Don’t forget to subscribe to stay up to date with everything happening with Millennial Movies. Put your email in the box below to subscribe