Ghost in the Shell - A lopsided neon daydream.

July 8, 2017

I believe that it was Sir Isaac Newton that once famously said, "What goes up, must come down." While he was talking about gravity, I'll use it to refer to this film in relation to my previous two reviews—which you won't need to read, luckily. After hitting two home runs in a row with Baby Driver and Spider-Man: Homecoming, I decided to test my luck with Ghost in the Shell, which just released on home media.


(deep breath)


Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson as Major, a person whose mind was transplanted into a cybernetic body. Throughout the film, you'll come to understand as to why this was done, as well as the conflicts that arise from it. Ghost in the Shell has a lot of solid source material to work from, yet somehow manages to become a mockery of its own title.

At a glance, it's dazzling in the visual department.

One of the early scenes opens with a wide pan of a glorious neon metropolis. Imagine Blade Runner, but with less rain and more light—or like Deus Ex (video game series) with less of a warm color palette. Even the little things like subtitles, or text to convey locale changes, don't break the film's futuristic, yet minimal aesthetic.


As the film carries on, you'll start to notice a pattern, and it goes a little like: sweeping cityscape, transition to significantly less interesting close-quarters scene, character has a revelation or finds a clue, then repeat. While I wasn't keeping count, it feels like this happens about a dozen or so times before the conclusion, and it really starts to take its toll. I tried not to keep an eye on the clock, but at about the 1 and a half hour mark, I could've swore that I'd passed 3 hours already.


Not a good sign.


In addition to its very linear structure, the in-between doesn't offer much either. The dialogue is extremely hit-or-miss (usually miss) with characters saying exactly what they feel at any given time, then followed by their reasoning for said feelings. Subtlety doesn't really exist from a script perspective, and it's a big missed opportunity. With a character as interesting as the Major, you'd hope for an equally as interesting internal conflict. But instead, you get very basic, point-blank interactions.


tldr; should you see it? Probably not.

I haven't seen the original Ghost in the Shell animated feature in quite some time, and didn't watch it beforehand so that I could better put out a review that doesn't draw too many comparisons. Regardless, Ghost in the Shell is a visual spectacle, but otherwise fails to capture any sort of nuance. You could do a lot of worse than watching this, but that isn't exactly the type of praise that you'd want to hear.





1-2: Horrendous, wouldn’t recommend watching even if free of charge.
3-4: Potentially has some good ideas, but overall still lackluster.
5-6: Average, a decently good time; go see it if it's free.
7-8: A solid recommendation, and well-rounded film; warrants a purchase after home release.
9: No glaring flaws; deserves to be watched multiple times.
10: Masterful, must-see; filmmaking at its finest.


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