Film Reviews

Ghost In The Shell (2017)

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Starring: Scarlet Johannson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche

Director: Rupert Sanders

I’m going to have to be a bit unpopular and say that I actually enjoyed this film.

I remember watching the anime years ago, but I don’t remember that much about it, but that I liked it. It was cool and it also made me feel quite sad, and that’s what stayed with me about it. I thought that a live action version could honestly go either way, be wonderful or a complete mess, but it’s actually quite a lovely film.

It’s the story of Major (Johannson) who was almost killed during a terrorist attack, and whose brain and “ghost” were able to be saved and transferred into a machine android body. She is, basically, a weaponised human in a world where people look down on robots as being mere machines. She has confused feelings about herself, then, because she’s more than a robot, as she has thoughts and feelings, her own personality, but she is sometimes considered less than human by the people around her.

She has a friend in Batou (Asbaek) who she works on assignments with, stopping lethal criminals, and Dr Ouelet (Binoche) who is a doctor who helped create her and rescue her mind from her shattered body. She’s also part of a well oiled team. But something is wrong. In the city, a powerful man is threatening civilisation and Major starts to see glitches in her memory. There is something that she’s not being told, and soon she doesn’t know where to turn and what to believe.

It’s a cool premise for a futuristic film, and Johansson works well as an ice maiden, a woman who has feelings but is also highly disciplined. I get that she’s not Asian, and that the character is apparently meant to be, but actually, I think that she looks a lot like the anime character she’s portraying, interestingly. I think the characters in this film are all pretty interesting, from the costumes to the design and personality, and I liked how diverse they all are. I also liked how natural they felt with each other, there’s no woodenness in this film, and you can feel the warmth between the people that care about each other.

But what I really loved about this film was the design. It’s a beautifully made film. There are some incredible shots here, of course. But the live action creation of a world that was originally a drawn image is beautifully realised. For me, it was a pleasure just to watch the images, to let the ideas wash over me, and to think about what it would be like to live in that city, in that future. I loved the beautiful and terrifying geisha robots, which you see a lot of in the trailer. I loved the costume design and the action sequences. It’s just a beautiful film.

The criticism that’s leveled at this film is that it lacks substance, that it’s all style. Is this true? I’m inclined to mostly disagree. It’s a spectacle film. It’s meant to be shiny and exciting. I get that it comes from a well known and established story that people love, but in that sense it’s a lot like comic book movies right now. But when you look at a lot of comic book movies, they’re all spectacle and lack heart. And sometimes a decent plot too. Something like Doctor Strange, for example, has a lot going on visually, has a lot of ideas, but on the whole is pretty bland really. This film is much more beautiful, and I think a bit more well developed when it comes to character and plot.

In essence, it’s a blockbuster, but there’s something about it that feels different to me, and I liked it. I liked how it looked and felt, and I liked the characters. I liked the design and feel of the shots and the creativity of the action sequences. This is not something that I can say about a lot of action movies out there at the moment, so … I like this movie. It gets a thumbs up from me, even though it’s not perfect.

See It If: you like beautiful films, with interesting design and world building, especially ones about dystopian futures. It’s a flawed film, but it’s also quite a creation.

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33 thoughts on “Ghost In The Shell (2017)”

  1. I saw this and didn’t mind it, but I haven’t reviewed it yet. I think I’ll have to see it again before fully compiling my thoughts, but I LOVED seeing Beat Takeshi in it. I also thought ScarJo was good. She fit the role well and the context of the storyline made her background a non-issue, so to speak.

    Good review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this film. I should’ve written a review about it myself after watching it. A lot of my friend tell me it’s not worth watching because of Hollywood’s “whitewashing”. One of my facebook friend’s went as far as too say the protagonist’s motivations were changed because she was white. It clearly showed she had no clue what she was talking about. I felt most of the material kept true to the original source. The story chances were the result of Hollywood adapting an anime into film to recover its cost. Film will always try to appeal to as many people as possible because it has to recover it costs. Millions of dollars are at stake. Unfortunately though, people of all the bad publicity, Ghost in the Shell lost a lot of money. And it’s shameful because it mean big studio will be hesitant to adapt anime into film.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The visual elements in this film are incredible and worth checking out for that alone. I actually enjoyed this film too. As far as all style no substance, there is definitely a great story here it is just this film moves waayyyy to fast and condenses a lot in a short run time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The visual elements in this film are beautiful and worth checking out just for that. I enjoyed this film a lot as well. As far as all style no substance my only grievance was that this film moves waaayyyy to fast and condenses a lot into a short run time. Great work as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree! Personally, I felt the diverse cast was wonderful, and gave this movie a high rating as well. Ghost in the Shell didn’t deserve half of the criticism it got, and the visuals were beautifully done. I enjoyed it so much more than Dr Strange. Great review! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well you are not going to be unpopular with me (not that you were in the first place lol), because I also lived this film. I gave it a 9 on my own blog, and I totally agree with you on pretty much everything that you have written. This movie was doomed from the start unfortunately because of the whole white washing affair. There was so much negative press for it, that people avoided it or had a opinion on it, before even seeing the movie. But you are so right, the design for this movie was breath taking, and I think Scarlett did a fine job as the Major. Sure there were flaws in the film, but overall it was a great movie. Loved this post ! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re awesome hon! ❀️❀️ yeah, it’s sad when that kind of campaign happens. It surprised me because I think Scarlett looks a lot like the anime version of the Major. I think it’s good casting, but hey… the internet loves a scandal and are happy to invent one whenever they can.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, so are you 😊 Yeah, it is really sad when you think about it. The fun thing is that the original director of Ghost in the Shell even said that she was awesome in her role. In the end though, this really hurt the movie. We won’t be getting a sequel that is for sure, and that makes me even more sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice review…
    This movie had a perfect blend of good acting and cinematography. The imaginary world created was gorgeous. I liked this movie more than the anime movie. Let’s hope for the same from its sequel.

    Liked by 2 people

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