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Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell (2017) Movie Poster
  •  USA / India / Hong Kong / China  •    •  107m  •    •  Directed by: Rupert Sanders.  •  Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, Tawanda Manyimo, Peter Ferdinando, Anamaria Marinca, Daniel Henshall.  •  Music by: Lorne Balfe, Clint Mansell.
        In the near future, Majoris the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people's minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that she has been lied to: her life was not saved, it was stolen. She will stop at nothing to recover her past, find out who did this to her and stop them before they do it to others

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Review:

Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Image from: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
First I want to say that I am aware of the big challenge that the makers of this film had to face. Ghost in the Shell is one of the most iconic anime's out there. When I saw the original anime in the mid-nineties it really left an impression on me.

As a result it is very easy to anger the (for an anime) huge fan base who see every deviation from the original as some sort of sacrilege, but at the same time Ghost in the Shell is still a niche product even if in its niche (anime) it is one of the biggest films.

To leave this niche and appear more to the casual moviegoer the producers made the decision to cast Scarlett Johansson, an A+ Hollywood actress as Major Motoko Kusanagi. I can understand why they did this but it will of course anger quite a lot of fans. In the film it is later explained "SPOILER COMING!" that the source for the "Ghost" (brain) really was a Japanese girl named Motoko and the evil company just happened to toss her harvested brain into a shell that somehow looked like Scarlett Johansson. Sorry but that seems just a bit cheap. It would have been better if (after choosing a top-class Hollywood actress to play the role of the major) they had just followed this through to the end and left the whole Motoko background out of the film. Batou is of course also played by a western actor (who did a reasonable job). To at least somewhat please the audience that had already seen the original anime the producers decided to include one Japanese actor for one of the bigger supporting roles. They choose Takeshi Kitano for the role of Section 9 boss Aramaki. Again, I can understand how they came to this choice - a Japanese actor was needed and it had to be one that might be known, even by the casual moviegoer so Kitano seemed like a natural fit.

If you can see past this (really needed?) westernizationhollywoodification then what you get is a fully functional sci-fi film. Although it has to be said that the story from the anime was not recreated 100%. The producers choose to use some elements from the original but at the same time changed quite a lot story-wise. On one side they (the producers) undertook quite a lot of effort to recreate some of the iconic scenes from the anime (the beginning where the Majors shell is "made" for example and also the scene where the Major jumps down the skyscraper while her camouflage kicks in) while on the other side parts from the original plot where left outchanged or streamlined. As a result there are some situations who are very unbelievable and would have been unthinkable in the anime but who are at the same time very common in Hollywood films like the whole situation surrounding the planned deactivation of the major after she has discovered her real background. Cutter (your cookie cutter:D Hollywood greedy and unscrupulous corporate villain) who desperately wants to deactivate the Major chooses of course Dr. Oulet, who has already several times voiced her absolute displeasure with Cutters actions and who is clearly emotionally bound to the Major, to deactivate her. He even leaves the room and watches the Dr. from afar so that he conveniently can't really see that the Dr. is instead freeing the Major. There are also some other scenes like this where you are reminded in the most harshest of ways that this is a big budget Hollywood movie where common sense is unknown when it helps the constructed plot to move further.

Apart from this (for Hollywood films rather common) flaws you get a functional and stylish streamlined sci-fi action film that cam be watched without any prior knowledge of the anime.

Will the "old" fans be pleased with this? I don't know. Has the full westernizationhollywoodification of the film really helped to catch a greater audience? I don't think so either as the worldwide gross of 169 million dollar doesn't seem that much when compared to the production budget of 110 million dollar, where the costs of advertising aren't even factored in.


Review by megadyne from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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Off-Site Reviews:

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Jul 14 2017, 23:30