‘Ghost in the Shell’ Review: Shiny Visuals with Bland Plot and Subtle Agenda

Sitting through the live-action adaptation of the Japanese anime franchise Ghost in the Shell was perhaps the most painful test of endurance since, well, The Great Gatsby back in 2013. It’s like watching Lady Gaga starring in Blade Runner as filtered through the lens of The Matrix, all of it set to some ultra-shiny visual effects by WETA Digital and a subtle left-wing agenda.

That this comes from the minds behind Snow White and the Huntsman and the clueless Marvel reboot The Amazing Spider-Man makes it even more disappointing. Liberal actress Scarlett Johansson plays Major, a cyborg who looks like the runner-up for a cosplay contest at a comic book convention. She was (SPOILER ALERT) originally Matoko Kusunagi, a Japanese teenager engaged in activism. And she was resurrected by a technology company called Hanka Robotics (obviously the film’s version of Japanese technology companies like Sony and Panasonic) after she and her family – with the exception of the mother – were killed. Cutter is Hanka’s villainous CEO who is responsible for the accident, and is an obvious cheap shot at President Donald Trump, especially because of the commander in chief’s business background, and the fact that he is very outspoken on his anti-terrorism efforts.

Major soon becomes a part of a fighting team of cyborgs called Section 9, lead by Daisuke Aramaki (Japanese comedian Beat Takeshi). There, she joins forces with Danish star Pilou Asbæk’s Batou among others. This leads us to highly-digitized fights with robots, cyborgs, and you know… futuristic war tanks.

None of this this is any surprise, as Ghost in the Shell is based on an even more confusing animated film from 1995, itself an adaptation of a comic book from the 1980’s. No doubt that director Rupert Sanders is an incredibly talented visual artist, and has smartly teamed up with a group founded by visionary The Lord of the Rings trilogy director Peter Jackson to help out with those visuals. However, Ghost in the Shell proves that a movie can be loud, action-packed, and visually stunning – yet still bore you to tears.

This movie was a complete mess, I had no idea what was going on, I didn’t know what the main purpose of the villain was, I didn’t even care.

Final Rating: ★ out of 5

 

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