Ghost in the Shell,
Directed by Rupert Sanders,
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche
The popular Anime movie gets the live action treatment in this effects heavy action adventure starring Scarlett Johansson. After a supposed terrorist attack leaves a young girl with only brain function, the brain is placed into a ‘shell’, a hi-tech, human-looking cyborg bodyframe. A year later the new being, the Major, is Section 9’s top weapon. Her main role is to protect the enhancement technological company that has close ties with the government. When a Terrorist starts to take down a group of scientists from the company it leads her to find out the truth of her own creation.
I know that there will be a lot of you out there that will be shouting at me during this review, because I have never seen the original animation, read any of the manga, or hold Anime in any form of high regard. One of my fellow reviewers, my dear friend Luke, will be ashamed of me and I’ll make it up to him someday. I won’t really but it makes me feel better to say I’ll make it up to him. I know that he left the screening of this film shaking his head in dismay – he’s a huge fan of the original Anime, so take from that what you want to.
The thing during the production of this live action adventure was the casting of Scar-Jo; it seems that the internet needed to point out that she wasn’t Asian, which shocked me. But to answer that question the film maker decided to throw a clever thing into the story. So don’t worry it’s all there to be sorted out and all it costs is the ticket price.
There are little to no surprises in the film, it’s by the number,s but by the numbers in a good way. This is Johnny Mnemonic for the new century. For those of you, like me, who don’t know anything about the original animation you’ll probably be like me and enjoy the ride. Switch off the expectations and just enjoy a slightly more complex action adventure that entertains. The problem for me though is that, remember I have no clue about the original, I felt a part of it robbed itself from Robocop. Probably more the terrible remake than the awesome original Robocop. But it was so disappointing, after the first hour of the film which is really exciting, it later felt like it relied too much on the usual ‘Lets blame the corporations!’
Scar-Jo is great as Major, adopting the robotic movements as seamlessly as you’d expect for a performer of her quality. I still don’t know why we haven’t gotten a Black Widow solo movie, if anyone can carry it off it’s Scar-Jo. But my heart leapt with joy as Takeshi Kitano plays the head of Section 9, and he wasn’t just there to read a line, and then leave, he actually gets to show the sliver of the bad ass we all know he can be. If you haven’t seen him in Battle Royale then do yourself a favour.
So I’ll understand fans of the original Anime constantly bashing this live-action vehicle, but I would like to point out that for non fans it’s a perfectly good trip to the cinema, it’s bright, colourful, full of great science fiction action. Better performances from the supporting cast than you’d expect. Maybe it was that my expectations were low going in and that it was going to be hard for me to disappointed, but I left the cinema thinking that if I still had my Cineworld pass I’d happily go see this a few times. It’ll be a mix bag of enjoyment for fans and non fans, but enjoyable none the less.