G&G Movie Review: GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)
So, on Saturday, the morning after the premier of GHOST IN THE SHELL, I got right up, bright and early to see the highly anticipated and highly scrutinized blockbuster at 10:05 a.m. By the way, this is the PERFECT time to go see any recently released blockbusters when it first premiers. That is if you want to bypass all of the: talking, coughing, child crying, heavy breathing, smelly fellow movie goers. And with only 3 of us (and one late heavy breathing sneak-in-er) in the Hollywood Home Style movie theater, I was in heaven! And as an added & unexpected treat, I didn't know that I'd purchased a 3D ticket! Trust me, if you are actually going to go see this movie, 3D or IMAX are the only way to see it. With so many visual dimensions & layers this movie has to offer, you don't want to short change yourself by not paying for the FULL experience.
But that's neither here nor there. You came here to read about the movie.
When I first saw the original GHOST IN THE SHELL full length anime, it was 1997, two years after the 1995 release, I was in art college, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Visually & Musically. I was intrigued by Major Motoko Kusanagi and her emotionless gaze, but then finding out she was fully immersed in human thoughts, fears and emotions. Being that she was still human in mind, even though her body was robotic & unfeeling.
If you have never seen the movies or read the manga (I've never read the manga, but interested) here is a little information on its creator, story and main character, per Wikipedia:
Masamune Shirow is the pen name of Japanese manga artist Masanori Ota. Shirow is best known for the manga Ghost in the Shell, which has since been turned into two theatrical anime movies, two anime television series, an anime television movie, an anime OVA series, a theatrical live action movie, and several video games. Shirow is also known for creating erotic art.
The Story. In this post-cyberpunk iteration of a possible future, computer technology has advanced to the point that many members of the public possess cyberbrains, technology that allows them to interface their biological brain with various networks. The level of cyberization varies from simple minimal interfaces to almost complete replacement of the brain with cybernetic parts, in cases of severe trauma. This can also be combined with various levels of prostheses, with a fully prosthetic body enabling a person to become a cyborg. The main character of Ghost in the Shell, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is such a cyborg, having had a terrible accident befall her as a child that ultimately required her to use a full-body prosthesis to house her cyberbrain. This high level of cyberization, however, opens the brain up to attacks from highly skilled hackers, with the most dangerous being those who will hack a person to bend to their whims.
Major Motoko Kusanagi is the main protagonist in Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell anime and manga series. She is a synthetic "full-body prosthesis" augmented-cybernetic human employed as the field commander of Public Security Section 9, a fictional law-enforcement division of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission. Being strong-willed, physically powerful, and highly intelligent, she is well-known for her skills in deduction, hacking and military tactics.
Now that you have some back story...
Let's talk about the Live Action Film.
It was actually pretty good!
But how should I say this? Well, let's start with everything I thought was right about it.
Scarlett Johansson did an amazing job as Major Motoko Kusangi. She had the same dead eyed glare that the anime character had when I first saw the film. The action scenes were fantastically executed with expert timing. And OMG, the cinematography was mind-blowing. Take a gander in the gallery below.
The Geisha was the scene stealer for me. Shout out to WETA Workshop on creating her & everything else in the magnificent tale.
I believe everything about this movie was awesome. Great Story but... was it the original telling of the GHOST IN THE SHELL story? No it wasn't. In regular fashion, Hollywood had to go and change an already good thing. And that was the only thing I was disappointed in. The film did pay homage to many of the original scenes from the 1995 original. And I was thankful for that. There are tons of little jewels sprinkled in everywhere. So keep your eyes open!
And I understand all of the hoopla going around with casting and race, which is an issue in Hollywood, but with that aside, I would give Ghost in the Shell 4 out of 5 stars.
If you enjoy the artwork of Shirow Masamune & Ghost in the Shell, view this "busting at the seams" gallery below.
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