Ghost in the Shell Synopsis: In the near future, Major is 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.
Release Date: 2017-3-31 | Runtime: 1 hr 47 minutes | Coolthulhus Earned: 3
Ghost in the Shell Review
So, I decided to go see Ghost in the Shell. No burning desire to see it, but it was the only thing playing at the cinema near the local Barnes & Noble, and I was in ‘determined not to think’ mode because it was my deceased daughter’s birthday that day.
My thoughts on the movie as a whole come down to the following. While it might be an awesome manga/anime series (wouldn’t know), this Americanized version of Ghost in the Shell gives us absolutely nothing we haven’t seen before in some form or the other. It is blandly shot, filled with variations of typical scenes we’ve seen hundreds of times before. (Oh look, that person went invisible/camouflaged. Gee golly, Molly, we’ve never seen that happen before!) The plot was mildly interesting (but again, nothing we haven’t seen before). The dialogue was okay. The acting was okay from some of the actors, and dust-dry from others. As an action movie, it meets standard but doesn’t exceed it.
It wasn’t horrible, but it would have been a lot better without Scarlett Johannson in it. And not just because she’s white. Look, I get the whitewashing controversy. I think the fact that that they cast her when they could have cast an Asian actress is ridiculous. It gets extra ridiculous when you add in the fact that ScarJo really doesn’t seem to be able to act. I’ve seen several films that she’s been in, and as time goes on I become more and more aware of this. Maybe she used to be able to, but hey, when you’re gorgeous, you don’t really need to try, I guess? You can excuse some of it in this movie because she’s a brain in a robot body, but… as advanced as her body is, we can’t even get a bit of emotion in her voice? And, if you look at previous movies from her, it’s the same thing. Near monotone voice, dead eyes, and general lack of expression.
Let’s take her ‘intimate’ look for example. Whether it be, I don’t know, stepping close to her mother or being within inches of a bad guy’s face, she constantly looks like she’s going to reach out and plant one on them. Like that “sexy vulnerability” is the only type of vulnerability she knows how to portray. Don’t get me wrong, I think Scarlet Johansson is drop-dead gorgeous, and I’m not above admitting to some lustful thoughts; however, that doesn’t mean that that particular look is appropriate for all occasions. And, guys, if you think that’s how a woman looks across the board when she’s in a ‘vulnerable’ position, you need to put your hormones away and use your eyes.
She’s in an incredibly advanced body, right? One that’s light enough for her to float in water. But her ‘purposeful/efficient’ walk is that of a woman on a power-trip stomping across the floor. It’s not the smooth stride you could realistically expect from an advanced body. It’s actually unbelievably ‘clunky’ for a machine apparently that advanced. Yes, it could be her mind that makes her walk that way, but I find that hard to believe. You would think her body would translate the incoming signals from her brain into a more efficient movement. This brain is in a body that can literally leap and race up the side of a building, and it can’t walk smoothly. Really?
And then there’s the bodysuit. I need someone to explain this to me because it makes no sense. Was this weird flesh-coloured bodysuit thing in the graphic novels, too? I thought at first that it was just her body, but then you see her later clearly ‘out’ of it and having normal looking skin all over. My take is: It’s flesh colored because, gee whiz, if we just unfocus our eyes slightly – hot damn! Major’s running around fighting naked! Look at her bounce! Does the suit serve any other purpose than ‘as close to naked as we can get on a movie screen without being rated R’? I saw the electric current going through it occasionally, so I’m thinking it probably does but it’s just so ridiculous.
Directly addressing the whitewashing thing, though, I found it to be kind of interesting actually for what they might have inadvertently said. Again, I have no familiarity with the novels so I’m not sure they whitewashed more than just the main character or not. I had one experience with manga, and that was enough. But I felt like the white-washing added an unexpected layer to the movie that maybe wasn’t quite planned on. The non-spoiler version is their race flipping flipped back over and kicked them in the butt. If you want to see details, please highlight the area between the asterisks. * All the white people in this movie (bar the guy with the white hair – was he white??) are evil at worst, thoughtless and arrogant at best. And the one main character who is white and good isn’t really white and good when you consider the fact that she’s got an Asian soul. They might have tried to do the white is the best thing by putting her in a white body, but her Asian spirit won out. *
Overall, Ghost in the Shell is not a bad movie to watch at the theater (at least I had no problems staying awake watching it – unlike Life), but I’d wait until it hit the second run theaters. Don’t expect much of anything except a halfway decent popcorn flick, and you’ll be just fine.