Before I dive into this review, I wanted to provide some background for it. I have watched both Ghost in the Shell movies, stand alone complex, Arise and Solid State Society. I watched Ghost In the Shell two times. I know many will say I wasted my money, but I wanted to give an honest review. So the first time was in a regular theater and the second was IMAX 3D. Here’s my thoughts.
Ghost In the Shell is a new story written by William Wheeler. Wheeler’s other screenplays include Queen of Kwate, The Hoax and The Lego Ninjato Movie. If you haven’t heard of any of these titles don’t worry you aren’t missing anything amazing. Wheeler essentially went through the stories of the first Ghost in the Shell movie, and the Individual Eleven story arc. He gutted some ideas from both, the movie for iconic scenes, elements and the villain Kuze from Individual eleven. He then slapped threw it all together without the essence of what makes Ghost in the Shell an amazing series.
To make matters even worse the Steven Spielberg (yes THAT Steven Spielberg) produced movie was directed by Rupert Sanders. You might not be familiar with that name but you are very familiar with a film he directed called Snow White and The Huntsman.
Ghost In The Shell plot-wise is an utter and complete trainwreck of Americanization. The main theme is corporations are evil and only want to make weapons of war. To make matters worse the only actors who seemed to have studied the characters they were playing were Takeshi Kitano who played Chief Aramaki, and Chin Han as Togusa. It seems as if the rest of the cast were told NOT to research the characters they would be playing.
Scarlett Johansson plays The Major. While she is awesome as playing Black Widow, as The Major she is utterly disappointing. It feels like she is trying to be Kristen Stewart playing The Major in a really hacked up fan fiction. The Major is a woman who one year before the events of the movie had her brain cyberized and placed into a robotic shell. Throughout the movie she is just all mopey and self pitying. What makes The Major a deep character in the series is just gone. Also one year and she has the rank of Major? Ummm nope sorry not possible.
Major is assigned to Section 9 the cybercrime division and is partnered with Bato played by Pilou Asbæk. If you think Major was disappointing Bato is even worse. Each of his scenes were just painful, it was like he was just reading the lines. The majority of the movie he just stands behind the Major and utters short lines. His series backstory of course is gone as are his signature eyes, which get introduced in this movie.
Rating this movie PG-13 was another nail in the coffin for Ghost In The Shell. It severely limited what could be done in this movie. It was almost as if the production companies still believe that since anime is a cartoon it’s for kids. With a better script and director the movie should have been a hard PG or an R rating.
Overall Ghost In The Shell has been horrifically ‘dumbed down’ for American audiences instead of following Marvel’s method of catering to their fans. Until major production companies in America learn to treat popular Anime series movies with the same level of care and respect as a Marvel movie; we fans will have to continue to suffer these horrific adaptations.
As I stated before I saw this movie twice. If you’re looking to save money wait for Ghost In The Shell to come out on Red Box. But if you absolutely must see this in theaters go see it in IMAX. Watching the visuals taken from the Ghost In The Shell anime are amazing in IMAX and honestly it’s the only bearable way to watch it.