Before anything else, I have to start this meh with a horrifying declaration; I’m not an Anime fan. I know, fat guy, glasses and a geek, yet doesn’t like Anime. I may as well just go off into the wilderness right now. Maybe passers-by will find themselves able to throw scraps of food at me from time to time….
So when it came to watching Ghost in the Shell, unlike Beauty and the Beast, I had no frame of reference. I never watched the original and therefore it was a lot easier to judge this solely as a film by itself without the baggage that came from the previous mini meh.
It seems that we’re in the future that looks a sh*t ton like Blade Runner at times for this story to unfold and our heroine who’s called Major (played by probably the only reason a lot of people will watch the film; Scarlett Johansson) is a new type of super hero type person who starts off being saved but then turns into a huge badass working for a special police type force. Why and how, well that basically gets revealed during the course of the film so we’ll leave that be for the time being. She also wears a sort of….err…. skin tight suit with which she can go invisible and it’s sort of flesh coloured which means that it can look like at times that she’s naked. OK, starting to see why this was popular now as Anime….
When it appears that terrorism takes place involving Kabuki Doll robots that are somehow able to hack into people’s minds and steal all their naughty thoughts about cyber porn or whatever it is they like, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. Why? Basically the “Ghost in the Shell” reference is to the fact that her human brain is housed inside a cybernetic body. So she’s got all the pluses of being an android while still having a soul and all that. She can go into people’s minds, have a wander about and do other stuff. Like order food on Just Eat. Probably.
I really need to pay more attention to films, don’t I?
The thing is, seems this new kid on the block whose hacking people shares something in Major’s past and over time, Major discovers that she has been lied to by the wonderful non-evil corporation types who brought her back from the dead that we see in the opening bits of the film. Where this leads of course, is spoiler territory but suffice it to say, She’s going to be jolly annoyed.
Major’s got a lovely team to talk to, among those are Pilou Asbaek as Batou, Major’s second-in-command who gets funky eyes at some point due to a naughty explosion which takes place. He likes feeding dogs in a street and also giving advice every so often when the story needs him to. Her boss at the police-type force she works at, is Aramaki, played by Takeshi Kitano. He seems wonderfully subdued at times, speaking at length in Japanese but he soon can kick large amounts of bottom with his 6 shooter from the good old days and actually it’s pretty fun to see him do things as time goes on.
The setting and the work that’s gone into creating the world is wonderful stuff. It truly looks and feels so different yet familiar and as I said, you can’t help but recall the world of Blade Runner at times, with the holographic adverts and city streets etc. But I can’t help but feel this was a shell of what it could have been, if you’ll pardon the phrase.
Scarlett Johansson for a huge amount of time, is acting a lot more mechanical despite the fact her brain is supposed to still be human. She’s alright, but just not that engaging overall. Some of the side characters I would rather have seen how they became the way they are as they offered a little glimmer of hope in terms of story which would be interesting to go into more. Others though were just window dressing and honestly if you remember who they are, more credit to you, because damned if I can remember!
A lot of this film has been forgettable. Maybe that really was the issue here. It’s a standard plot in many ways, that Big Corporate people are bad above all else. There were some great moments like the first time the Doctor in the lab took off her eyes to plug into a machine. It was kind of cool. Some of the fight scenes were excellent, and the styling of the film in terms of cinematography is great.
Would I recommend you seeing this at the cinema however? Not really.
It wasn’t anything to write home about, far from it. It was OK at best. Not awful but honestly, there were times I wanted Scarlett Johansson to stop talking as her speech was so dull, I swear I could hear paint dry nearby and it was more sweet to listen to. I struggled to keep going with this to the end, and of course it was nicely left open for more adventures. Hooray!
There won’t likely be any more though as this has failed quite badly at the Box Office by all accounts. Fans of the Anime may get a huge amount from this adaptation but it seems to be more likely that like Beauty and the Beast, you’d be better trying the animated version out instead to see if this would be your cup of tea.