Ghost In The Shell Reviewed By Jon E Clist

The Premise
In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) 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."

The Review
So, you should probably know up front that I am not a big fan of Manga films and hence I have not watched the original version of this story. In my mind that actually works to my advantage as them I am just focusing on whether this film works in itself and not in comparison to something else.

In addition to that it also means that I do not buy into this whole white washing Hollywood rubbish. As far as I am concerned the casting of films is completely up to the film makers and it needs to be judged on whether the film works in itself and not whether a cast member should be a certain sex, race or even age range. Remember when a bunch of people went spastic about Tom Cruise being cast as Jack Reacher? Oh, he's too young, too old, to short, not blonde and so on it went and yet he actually did a great job in that role and the film was a commercial success.

So as far as I am concerned, Scarlett Johansson does a smashing job in the role of major and in my mind it actually works brilliantly that she isn’t Asian. Let me explain before calling me racist. The difference in race help to draw a wonderful line between who major was before her brain was inserted into a robot body and who she has become. So, when she connects back two her past there is a very clear visual separation involved. This works brilliantly. However, on a little side note, for the Japanese dub of the film, the voice actors from the 1995 Anime version of Ghost in the Shell - Atsuko Tanaka (the Major), Akio Ôtsuka (Batou) and Kôichi Yamadera (Togusa) - reprise their roles.

Weta Digital Featurette

As does the amazing visuals within this film. Bearing in mind that this was filmed in Wellington; a place that couldn’t look any less like an over populated Japanese city. What an outstanding job they have done to create a world that you find yourself getting completely lost within. It certainly helped that we got to see it on the Imax screen and I would definitely suggest it is worth going out of your way to see it on the Imax. The colours, the locations and the characters are kind of out of this world and so worthy of the ticket price to see this on the big screen. I know there will be a lot of people out there who will try to cheat the system and end up downloading some crappy version online that some knucklehead has filmed on a handy cam but seriously this is a film you do not want to watch in that format. This needs to be on the biggest screen you can find and in full HD or it will be lost on you.

The Verdict
Powerful example of a successful utilization of the modern cinematic style of cgi underneath solid acting performances in order to have you lost within a new world and enthralling story.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 30th March 2017
Rating: TBC – Contains Science fiction themes, violence and stylised nudity
Duration: 107 minutes 
Genre:  Sci-Fi
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Beat Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Kaori Momoi, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, Tuwanda Manyimo
Director: Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman)

The Extras
The film's villain is Hideo Kuze (a terrorist cyborg), but incorporates elements of the Laughing Man (a hacker who walks around in a parka coat).

This film's production was met with controversy over the choice to cast the lead role of Major Motoko Kusanagi (a Japanese character in the original source material and previous adaptations) as white, with the role going to Scarlett Johansson. Online protests over Hollywood whitewashing flared up in April 2016 when Paramount Pictures released the first promotional image of Johansson in costume. The anger toward her casting was exacerbated by reports that Lola VFX, the company behind the character-aging effects in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), was commissioned to manage tests on visual effects to make white actors look Asian, though the results were reportedly rejected immediately upon their review.

Major Motoko Kusunagi has been renamed to Major Mira Killian in this film, to appeal to a wider non-Japanese manga audience.

Touchstone Pictures was originally involved in the project, but after the contract with Dreamworks expired, Paramount took over the distribution rights.