Ghost In The Shell – review

The glossy live action remake of the hugely successful and influential anime from 1995. Set in a future Tokyo where cybernetic upgrades to your body are commonplace. The Major is part of an elite police unit responsible for tackling cyber crime. What makes her special is that she doesn’t just have a cybernetic implant, her whole body is robotic with just her human mind remaining.

Initially I was very much anticipating this remake of Ghost In The Shell … then I saw the trailer and all my anticipation turned to dread. My fears were confirmed and compounded when I actually watched the film.

All the hugely philosocical questions raised in the original anime, what makes a human a human? What does it mean to be alive? Can you go further than being a human? All these clever questions are pretty much dumped and replaced with who made me? who can I trust and who lied to me? Reasonalbly basic questions found in a police and/or amnesia thriller. How very dissappounting.

The movie looks very pretty though. The use of colours, framing and using the original anime as reference are all spot on. The problem is – Ghost In The Shell is soulless. The key scenes we want, the invisible fight in the water with the criminal, the talk on the boat in the harbour, the big fight at the end with spider tank. They are all there, they just don’t work. The amazing visuals of the original are backed up with  thought provocing ideas, not just a Robocop ripoff.

It has a two hour run time, but the increase levels of anger you feel plus the lack of plot and supporting characters makes it feel longer.  We know that Scarlett Johansson can do action (Lucy) and detached not quite human (Under The Skin) and she does her best to keep the movie ticking over. Ghost In The Shell might have even gotten away with the white washing, if they hadn’t of stupidly made it so that her original human body was Japanese  all along. Other than ScarJo, Beat Takeshi doesn’t get a lot to do, the policeman with the upgraded eyes isn’t bad (played by Pilou Asbæk, from Game Of Thrones).

Ghost In The Shell is what we all feared, an Americanised mess of a classic, that on the surface looks pretty but has nothing going on inside.  Ghost In The Shell has no ghost.