My interest in the classic Japanese Anime was because I had just seen THE MATRIX and wanted to see some of that films influences. One day I may revisit the original GHOST IN THE SHELL, but not until I've seen the American remake a few more times. Yes, a few more times! The GHOST IN THE SHELL remake is a feast for the eyes, and ears (the soundtrack is awesome!). When I do see the movie again it'll probably be in IMAX. The screen I watched it on was big but the image was dark and faded. I've come to the conclusion that this particular screen needs to be replaced.
There is a lot going on in GHOST IN THE SHELL plot wise. The script goes deep but not too deep with the philosophic and moral questions the story presents. Like when does a cyber-enhanced human stop being human and become a machine? I'm not the person to tackle such questions, I'm just going to focus on the movie.
In the future cyber-enhancement is a thing, and Major is the first of her kind. After a terrible accident a human is saved and becomes a cyber-enhanced solider to fight against the worlds most dangerous criminals. The movie is rated PG-13 so we're not talking JOHN WICK levels of gunplay, but the action in GHOST IN THE SHELL is pretty good. A there are some nice shot-for-shot moments on display.
If you haven't seen the movie yet then don't read any further. If you're a fan of the original and/or like science fiction movies, then I recommend GHOST IN THE SHELL. Go see the movie then come back and read the rest of my review.
My biggest issue with GHOST IN THE SHELL is that the story is pretty predictable. We've seen it done many times, a hero who realizes they have been playing for the wrong team. The company who created Major has not been 100% truthful to their cyborg. The terrorist Major is after is really a victim. That's enough set up for you to get the idea. I knew how this movie was going to end pretty fast, and that always bums me out. The cool special effects and awesome music more than makes up for the weak spots in GHOST IN THE SHELL.
As far as the whitewashing of the lead character, it's unfortunate, but there's nothing I can do about it. All I have to go on is Scarlett Johansson's performance of Major, and she does a fantastic job. Her performance makes me want to watch the original again and compare the two. I'm guessing she probably did her homework, because it sure seems like she did? I've been impressed with the roles Scarlett has taken on as of late. Who would have thought that the young woman in LOST IN TRANSLATION would be a kick ass action movie star! And let's not forget her amazing turn as an alien in UNDER THE SKIN. Seriously, if you haven't seen UNDER THE SKIN do yourself a favor and change that!
In conclusion, I recommend GHOST IN THE SHELL if your just looking for something cool to watch this weekend. If you're a cyberpunk fan you may love the movie! It's been awhile since Hollywood has given us a cyberpunk right? I don't think it's gonna start a American franchise or anything? Who knows, if the film is a hit then Disney might start making live action Studio Ghibli movies! Oh yea...