Ghost in the Shell
Taking place in what I presume was Hong Kong of the not too distant future and starring Scarlett Johansson, Beat Takeshi and Academy Award Winner Juliette Binoche, “Ghost in the Shell” is based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property which follows a young woman simply called “Major”. She is a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite police task force Called Section 9. Their devoted collective mission is to stop the most dangerous criminals and extremists. Early in the film Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in the research and development of cyber human technology.
REVIEW – “GITS” has a few good things working for it. First it is simply one of the more impressive reimagining of a future big city I have ever scene. The inclusion of very detailed nuanced new aged esthetic backgrounds while may have added absolutely nothing to the overall plot still made the film feel very fresh, other worldly, fun to watch and very technical impressive every second of its 1:40 minutes running time. Also the action special effects and costume designs are uniquely compelling as well that are clearly borrowed from the ground breaking Matrix films, Blade Runner and the highly acclaimed HBO’s Westworld”, which still allowed GITS to cut a few of its own new optical teeth here and there.
As far as the casting goes Binoche looked totally lost in the film as the sympathetic engineer; she added nothing to the film at all. Johansson on the other hand as well as some of the other supporting cast overall do work reasonable well together in providing some degree of human and moral components to the film, which was desperately needed given too often it seemed to stray away from its core mission of telling a human story. The human story of why we even care about “Major”. Specifically Director Ruppert Sanders presentation of GITS seem to have way too much of a preoccupation of bathing each frame with mesmerizing odd looking mix of “things”. A cyber infusion wonderland of “things” including hybrid robots, Godzilla and diminutive sized geishas, skyscraper sized hologram billboard ads, strange looking vehicles, and assault weapons that look more like large reading books with muzzles. While they were all very slick to imagine, they ultimately stole precious time away from “Major’s core story.
But the biggest unfortunate problem with GITS was its plot which felt (substantively speaking) a mile wide and an eighth of an inch deep. Be clear there is a basic enough of a plot to keep your attention going until its eventual conclusion, it’s just that the scope of it always seemed too veiledly thin for my taste in regards to the reckless carnage that always ensued.
GITS is right on the cusp of being worth a trip to the mall to see on the big screen. Mostly for the amazing reimaging of the films backdrop as well as for the principle protagonist in the way of “Major”. She adds just enough to the films story that kept me reasonably glued to its soft plot. But more so, I can see the potential of where her character can grow and evolve into a something far more worth wild should a sequel occur which the ending clearly left open that possibility.
The expression “Ghost in the Shell” is a referencing of the human mortal spirt. And while it may not stir your cinematic movie going spirit, it should be reasonably enjoyable to watch and experience nonetheless.