Ghost in the Shell is directed by Ruper Sanders and has Scarlett Johanson, Pilou Asbæk and Takeshi Kitano as the stars of the movie. The movie takes place in the future where human augmentation has become a serious part of most humans everyday life meaning a majority of the human civilization has augmented itself with enchancements. Here we follow a small group of crime fighters led by the first completed cyber-enchanced soldier known as Major (Scarlett Johanson). However, during one of their operations Major discovers clues that indicates her own past might not be as she originally remembered; that her origin as the first human cyborg-soldier might contain a terrible hidden truth; kept secret by her own superiors.
Seen from a perspective of not knowing the story before hand, meaning not having watched the anime from 1995, the movie’s plot was pretty straightforward although also filled with a few interesting differencies from the usual actionplot. It is an action-mystery where the protagonist uncovers a conspiracy surrounding her own past and where she tries to uncover it and finally take some revenge upon the guilty ones. Although that might sound trite, as an action sci-fi movie it is actually quite well made with good pacing and strong tension.
As an action sci-fi movie it is actually quite well made with good pacing and strong tension.
For the most part the acting was quite good. Although the anime-version stared the protagonist as a japanese woman, which might cause some conflict with racial-focused people, you never really pay much notice to it throughout the movie. Scarlett Johanson plays Major with a solid performance, it might not be a role that really challenges her acting skills to new areas, but you know that she can play the kick-ass woman with inner conflicts, so what you get is good but also a bit ordinary from her. Pilou Asbæk also does a fine job as Batou. It is quite impressive how they have buffed him to look big and brawny through workout and a bit of CGI and he really looks great when you watch him on the screen with his enchanced eyes. I also enjoyed that they made Takeshi Kitano’s character talk japanese so that we at least get the feeling of being in Japan, although I also think that his dialogues became a little bit stiff at times.
It might not be a role that really challenges her acting skills to new areas, but you know that she can play the kick-ass woman with inner conflicts.
Visually, the movie is one of the most stunning experiences I have had for a long time. Usually when many moviemakers tries to make a world that is primarily build on CGI it fails because the human eye can see that something about it is fake; it doesn’t look realistic. This is a problem the Star Wars prequels had; they were wellcrafted computergraphics but it didn’t feel real. The brain saw through it. In Ghost in the Shell this is not the case. Even when you do know it is CGI you never feel it. You actually feel that this is a real world in the future. There is a lot of great eye-candy, the action is well made and there are these incredible shots of city areas that makes you want to discover more of this world.
Even when you do know it is CGI you never feel it. You actually feel that this is a real world in the future.
The music is also quite well done with a great mix and variety in the score. This is quite impressive by Clint Mansell since music that is usually identified with cyberpunk universes can be a trite experience with the enormous amount of repetitive synthesizer music. However, Mansell does manage to vary it and make it fit the cyberpunk universe in an elegant musical journey. No doubt that on the movie screen this is one of the best uses of a score for a cyberpunk-film in our modern time.
Mansell does manage to vary it and make it fit the cyberpunk universe in an elegant musical journey.
Bottomline, Ghost in the Shell is a quite solid movie experience. Despite various critics saying the movie doesn’t match the anime it is still a wellcrafted action sci-fi movie with great action sequences, elements of reflection on human cybernetics and enchancements, amazing visual presentation of the universe, and a solid soundtrack. If you have watched the anime you might be disappointed but if you haven’t then it is a really entertaining action movie that draws you in with its great visual effects. I will give this movie a surprising 10, because I think it deserves it.