Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell:  Plug my brain into a ScarJo bot, please.

For fans of Ghost in the Shell, it would be best if you just kept walking. You are not going to like this. It’s not that it’s a bad film, it’s just that it keeps enough of the plot from the source material that have the name of the franchise, but not much else. For everyone else that just wants to see Scarlet Johansson wearing skin tight outfits shooting robot’s faces of in a cyberpunk future, here you go.



The story follows Major Killian who, after some accident, her body gets completely replaced with a cybernetic upgrade. This lets her do cool shit like fall through building windows, shooting people in slow-mo, talk to people with her mind, and have super strength. Being the first successful full body cyborg, the corporation dumps her to a Japanese anti-terrorism unit. Major Killian and her team then discover a plot after a cool action sequence by an entity known as Kuze that is targeting members of the corporation. After investigating the incident, Killian’s past comes into question as well as the motives of said corporation. If you can figure out the rest how it pans out, you win a cookie.

For those claiming it wasn't authentic to the source material, examine this picture from the anime series. Those are fucking tactical stockings.  Yep.  Sometimes that's a good thing.

The movie had good and interesting choices when it comes to production, special effects, and (fuck you fight me on this) casting. The future looks fucking cool and unique even if Japan is a CGI fest. Massive hologram advertisements litter skyscrapers. Streets littered with cybernetic chop shops and neon hookers maintain a strangely clean look. Costumes and sets scream, “Welcome to the future, motherfucker”, while managing to have its own identity even if it does rip things straight from the comic. Now people give shit on the casting, but if you are looking for someone qualified to play a murderbot, ScarJo has the resume. Don’t get me wrong. The girl has acting chops, but if anyone can look vacant in a camera while managing to be the most beautiful woman on the planet (Her, Under the Skin) she’s the one for the job. The rest of the cast manages to fit their roles adequately enough with the exception Takeshi Kitano who plays Aramaki, the chief of the anti-terror unit. You will remember him from best from Most Extreme Elimination. Instead of having him speak his lines in broken English, all his dialog is in Japanese. It’s weird until you realize that everyone probably has Google Translate implanted in their fucking skull. Then it stupidly makes sense. All these things, this atmosphere that it creates comes together in a cool way. It forms a cool as fuck chess board that you are ready to get lost in its game.

Going to admit, seeing this in action was pretty cool.

Now that you are shown this cool as fuck chess board, the person in front of you rubs their hands together and grins.

“Cool chess board, huh. You ready to play? Alright. Let play some checkers!”

“What? No. I don’t to play checkers. This board is too cool to play checkers. Come on, bro. Let’s play chess.”

“Chess?” He shakes his head. “No. No. No. No. Chess is too hard. Everyone knows checkers. Come on.”

“My 5-year-old nephew knows checkers. We have everything we need to play chess.”

“Ah come on. It’ll be fun.”

“Fuck you.”

“Here. I’ll make the first move. See how cool it looks. Oh, man. This is going to be so much fun.”

The plot rips most of the details from the original anime with ideas of evolution and political maneuvering and waters it down to a cookie cutter revenge tale. They played it safe to the point where it gets fucking boring. Is the corporation that made a fucking cybernetic weapon MORE THAN IT SEEMS? Is Killian’s clouded past MORE THAN IT SEEMS? Sure. I get it. Asking for something a little deeper is a tough sell. The movie works as a stylistic action film if you don’t mind turning off your brain, but this is science fiction where most people looking for these films want a little more engagement. I wouldn’t even mind if they strayed far and away from the source material. Just give me something more than Her 2: Cybernetic Boogaloo. When you spend the time and attention to detail to get the world building on point, having a brain-dead plot is tragic when you realize it could have been much more.