When the news of Ghost in the Shell becoming a live action film first hit I wasn’t too sure about it. I definitely was not excited. As more and more marketing happened and trailers were released I found myself bouncing back and force between excitement and disappointment. Well I am happy to say that Ghost in the Shell was a complete success. It was definitely what the fan in me wanted but it also gave me much more than I was even hoping for.
First off I want to say that this movie was visually spectacular and I wouldn’t expect any less from WETA, the company who brought us the visual effects in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The way they brought the city and futuristic upgrades to life was spectacular. They managed to create a world on screen that made you want to pause and look at everything individually. There was so much going on and so much to see. Seeing all of the details in the opening birth of the Major sequence was beautifully done. They made me very happy by recreating that famous opening and staying true to the anime while still giving us some new changes.
Costuming in this film and characters visual portrayal was on point. I could tell who was who just from looking at costumes and hairstyles. They stayed pretty close to character looks from the anime and manga with very small changes. Personally I was very impressed with how all of the actors and actresses portrayed their characters. I was one of those people who wasn’t exactly sure how well Scarlet Johansson would do as the Major, but she definitely nailed the part for me and brought a new feel to the Major. She was able to put new emotion into one of my favorite characters. Pilou Asbæk was fantastic as Batou and looked the part. The interaction between the two was very similar to their relationship in the anime.
The musical score definitely enhanced this film. The music made sure the feelings that were being portrayed on the screen were felt in the audience. The soundtrack was definitely well thought out and was very Tron Legacy like in feeling and tone. It was also nice to hear some of the original music from Ghost in the Shell during the end credits.
The story itself was beautifully done and refreshing. Being a fan of the anime I wanted something that felt like Ghost in the Shell, yet I also wanted something that was new to me. And boy did they deliver. I had no idea what was going to happen next. They managed to make this movie a perfect blend of everything I needed to feel that this is Ghost in the Shell while also adding a whole new storyline and background to everything I knew and loved about it. This is definitely a wonderful origin story for the Major. It gives you a different look and shows a more vulnerable Major. This also gives you some insight into how Batou got his upgraded eyes.
I do feel as though the story at the beginning felt a bit rushed, but the pace fixed as we went along an ended up with a fantastic, unexpected story. If you are a long time fan and looking for something new I feel you will enjoy it. If you were looking for a exact copy of the original film then this may not be for you, but please remember that every Ghost in the Shell adaptation was something new so I recommend giving it a chance. I do feel that this movie did a great job as far as welcoming in a new wave of Ghost in the Shell fans. They will be able to enjoy the stories of the Major without feeling like they are missing important points. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Ghost in the Shell. It was a beautiful story jam packed with stunning visuals, and plenty of fun action. I highly recommend going to see this film in theaters!
Ghost in the Shell:
About 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. 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. Based on the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga, “The Ghost in the Shell.”
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writers: Jamie Moss, Masamune Shirow, William Wheeler
Stars: Scarlet Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Pilou Asbæk, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Chin Han
Runtime: 1 Hour, 47 Minutes