Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow and its animated motion picture by Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell finally makes its way to the silver screen in a live action film adaptation directed by Rupert Sanders. WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
Starring Scarlet Johansson, the film gives the audience the backstory of Mira Killian, A cyborg brought to life in a future where mankind has embraced cyberization and humans have taken to modifying and upgrading their bodies with sophisticated implants and neural interfaces in order to exist in a world which has been set afloat in a sea of information.
The movie opens with Hanka Labs wheeling in a victim of an accident who has been selected for the first full cybernetic integration. For fans of the 1995 animated motion picture this scene is an accurate recreation of the Majors birth. One year later Mira Killian now known as the Major and operative of the counter terrorist unit, Section 9, takes the lead in investigations of the radical movements of the hacker know as Kuze.
There were many changes in the movie adaptation that strayed from the original source material with some memorable scenes from the anime recreated shot-per shot. The pace of the movie felt very stop and go where some parts of the plot were explained to full detail while other seemed skimmed over.
The action in the film was little too non-existent save for the few recreations from the anime as said before. the Movie was given a PG-13 which in turn limited a lot of content from the original stories. The visuals of the film however did not disappoint. With the effects power house WETA handling much of the practical effects and designs the world of Ghost in the Shell came to life with vibrant colors and a view of the dark future of the Cyberpunk society. The sounds and sights were well produced as the story unfolded.
There were a few flaws in the writing of the characters where as the head of section 9, Aramaki, was the only character in the entire movie speaking Japanese with English subtitles, where as the other Asian characters spoke English. All the Scientist in the Lab based in Asia seemed to be all Caucasian. Section 9 is a team of specialists hand picked by the Major. Well at least that’s how it has been in the past versions. the movie doesn’t have much of any action from the team and just puts them on the sidelines with little to no participation save for some lines by Togusa the level headed detective of the group.
There has been controversy of the casting Johansson as the Major. But to the defense of the subject of whitewashing, the character of the major had no real nationality as a cyborg. though the original character was of Japanese origin the new body could have been any race or even sexual orientation being completely artificial.
Ghost in the Shell was a retelling of the original as an Origin story of the major. Many fans had umbrage with the fact that it didn’t follow the original story but to the movie goer new to the story the movie shined as a sci-fi spectacle within the cyberpunk genre.