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Movie review: GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)
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GHOST IN THE SHELL

Movie review by David Blackwell

 

106 minutes, Rated PG-13

STUDIO: Paramount Pictures/ Dreamworks Pictures/ Reliance Entertainment/ Arad Productions

Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  3-31-2017

The GHOST IN THE SHELL live action movie is a very loose adaptation of the magna and the anime movie.  It is very visual and has a very diverse cast, but the plot is crappy compared to the magna and anime it is adapted from. The story shifts away from the superior storytelling in the GHOST IN THE SHELL magna, anime movies, and anime series.  It is a very dumbed down American live action adaptation where most of Section 9 has nothing to do and the characters aren’t written like they were in the magna and anime.  The major end twist is horrible and all of the topical issues in the anime are written out of the plot to focus on a more personal story of a stolen life and revenge.  If you want a movie where the action sequences are OK and the visuals are cool, go see the movie.  If you want a thought provoking or at least good sci-fi action thriller (or something honoring the source material, I recommend you check out the original GHOST IN THE SHELL anime movie or one of the two GHOST IN THE SHELL anime series (STAND ALONE COMPLEX and ARISE).

 

In the near future, many humans are augmented with cybernetics which enhances vision, strength, and intelligence.   Hanka Robotics is developing a secret project where they can put a human brain in a mechanical body.  Their first success is Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson) who goes to work for Section 9.  Mira is the sole survivor of terrorist attack on refuges.  Mira has worked for the counter-terrorism unit Section 9 for a year and somehow got the rank of Major already.  She is working alongside other Section operatives Batou and Togusa under Chief Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano) who only talks in Japanese while everyone talks English to him.  They are after a cyborg hacker known as Kuze (don’t know why they couldn’t have named him Puppetmaster) due to some robot geishas being hacked and the execs of Hanka Robotics are being targeted by Kuze.   What follows in the movie are some chasing and semi-detective work as Major is experiencing some glitches.   The chases and investigating are very subpar compared to the amount of action and investigation that happens in the anime movie and TV series.  The plot is loosely based on the magna and anime, and the scriptwriters slim down the plot too much and you end up with a dumb by-the-numbers live action adaptation.  And there is a reason why Major isn’t called Motoko Kusanagi which is a revealed in a twist in the movie  If you want to enjoy GHOST IN THE SHELL, go check out the anime movie and animated TV series instead since those two are much better executed and thought provoking.

 

This review is 4-4-2017 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com