When it comes to anime and Hollywood, many feel that the two should remain as far away from one another as possible. Generally I agree with this, and despite still having some skepticism about Ghost in the Shell, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit excited to see what we’d get from a blockbuster take on the classic. Well now that it’s finally out in cinemas, I can gladly say that it wasn’t as bad as I feared it may have been. Granted, it took liberties with the source material, failing to capture certain things I loved about both the manga and anime, but it was still well worth the price of admission.
Rupert Sanders is the director responsible for this remake, and given the generally poor reception his first feature film, Snow White and the Huntsman, received, he had a lot to prove here. Despite the overall tone and structure of this film being different from the source material, the world that Sanders builds along with screenwriters Jamie Moss, William Wheeler and Ehren Kruger, and the visual effects team is simply astonishing. Not only does it feel organic and futuristic, but it also has a gritty, dynamic feel reminiscent of Blade Runner. That said, there was a few flaws amongst this amazing presentation, as between a plot that felt a little out of sorts at times, and ill timed twists, it was a bit awkward to follow certain parts of this story.
As for the acting ability of our cast, it too would be a little mixed, with Scarlett Johansson taking most of the weight in the lead role of Major. Capturing the mixed emotions that you’d expect from a person who’s had their brain placed in a mechanical body, Johansson steals the show at every possible moment. Between the clinical delivery of lines, and soldier like attitude of her character, along with the inquisitive instincts to explore her origins, Johansson makes this a journey worth following. Along with this we get a rather intriguing performance from Michael Carmen Pitt as Kuze, as between his apparent antagonistic characteristics and questionable motives, we are left questioning who really is the villain of this story.
The rest of the cast on the other hand didn’t really do much to excite. As despite Pilou Asbæk giving a solid performance as Major’s right hand man, Batou, and Peter Ferdinando reflecting the cut throat qualities of Hanka Robotics’ CEO, Cutter, neither left a lasting impression. One performance that I did quite enjoy from our side cast, however, was from Takeshi Kitano as Chief Daisuke Aramaki. Despite his character being the only one to talk in Japanese throughout the entire film, he manages to convey the struggle between following procedures and doing what’s right in a manner that is simply captivating on every level, being both simplistic and well thought out.
Ghost in the Shell may not capture it’s source material in the manner fans wanted, but nevertheless it is still an enjoyable film. Boasting an astonishing performance from lead actress Scarlett Johansson, whilst also introducing new fans to this exciting futuristic world, this is a movie that definitely deserves to be given a chance.
(6 / 10)