Ghost in the Shell

2017-03-31 10:06

What it's about:

Major is a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotics’ advancements in cyber technology.

What we thought:

*This review contains no spoilers

The original Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell has grittiness to it. Something anti-mainstream pumps in the heart of the famed seinen manga series that has given it cult-like status. 

Masamune Shirow’s work has been taken to the big screen before as animated films, but now for the first time we get to see a live-action adaptation after DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to produce it. 

With the casting of American actress Scarlett Johansson as the lead in the film came a wave of backlash and whitewash criticism. 

Studio executives downplayed it and brushed off the critique while director Rupert Sanders vehemently defended Johansson’s casting. “She's the best actress of her generation,” Sanders said during a special event to premiere the film's trailer in 2016. 

But Johansson’s acting chops are not what’s being debated here. It’s the fact that a white woman was cast to play a Japanese character. And there’s just no way to hide the whitewashing in this big screen Americanisation of Ghost in the Shell. It’s right there in front of your eyes. In IMAX and 3D. So blatant that it’s actually cringeworthy. 

The big guns with all the cash took Ghost and gave it the ‘Merica treatment without flinching even once. They supersized it. Drenched it in dollars and slapped it onto the big screen and it will probably pay off for them.

But to be honest no matter how great the visuals and special effects – you can’t escape the white ghost that haunts the whole flick. 

There are some striking moments that zap life into this grey and icy cold film - flashes of neon and warmth that pumps energy when the movie needs it most.

You can totally go in and get lost in the spectacular world that unfolds in front of you like some kind of digital wet dream but it’s undeniable that this film is just a shell of its former self. 

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