In our new age of political correctness and Trump era acceptance of everyone’s opinion mattering all the time, every little thing in movies gets over analyzed and blown out of proportion. Ghost in the Shell is one of the most beloved anime comics and films of all time. So when it was announced that it was being made into a live action feature film by Hollywood, and that it would star a white movie star in the lead, the internet went nuts. But as usual all the hype was amped up before anyone actually got to see the film. The film flopped at the domestic box office but did well overseas but now you can judge for yourself as it is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Scarlett Johansson stars as Major Kusanagi, a human saved from a devastating terror attack who has become cyber-enhanced to become a perfect soldier meant to stop the world’s most dangerous criminals. When a new threat surfaces with the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major must use all her resources to stop them while also uncovering disturbing secrets about her past.
Despite any controversies, Ghost in the Shell is a wonderfully beautiful film. Johansson is excellent in the role of Major and really effectively conveys her overwhelming sense of sadness. The production design, costuming and special effects are all gorgeous and are never overused (see Valerian). While I was expecting a more action packed film, Ghost in the Shell ended up reminding more of a film like Blade Runner than anything else. It has a solid story, great characters and when action does happen, it is well constructed and effective if not a little too brief. A big shout out as well to Pilou Asbæk who plays Major’s partner Batou. He is sympathetic, tough, funny and a perfect companion character to Major. The supporting cast also features Juliette Binoche, Takeshi Kitano and Michael Pitt. Ghost in the Shell may not be the action spectacle the trailers promised, but it is a more cerebral, wonderfully made and stunning gorgeous film well worth checking out. And it may be the best looking Blu-ray you put in your player all year. Highly recommended.