I’m a fan of science fiction, particularly when it’s based on reasonably plausible scientific principles, so I was interested to see Ghost in the Shell. While I know absolutely nothing about the Japanese manga comics the film is based on a fairly simple plot.
Major (Scarlett Johansson) is an assassin and antiterrorist super cop constructed from a robot body and human brain. She got this way after an accident ripped her body apart and only her brain could be saved. While she has a human consciousness, this is fairly limited and supposedly any memories and personality from her previous life were wiped when she became this uber Fembot.
But lurking inside her is the real girl, the so-called Ghost in the Shell. Throughout the film, flashbacks haunt her, and lead her on a trail to discover who she really is and was.
In the meantime she has to take down a ‘terrorist’ who is killing off anyone associated with the creation of Major but it turns out all is not as straightforward as it seems and she uncovers a dirty little secret behind her creation.
The premise its pretty good, as it opens up all sorts of potential story arcs and thought provoking ideas around AI and the integration of computer systems with the human brain.
Sadly it didn’t do any of that and instead was a rather sloppy crime drama with little bits of human drama thrown in to try and convince us there’s something meaningful at the heart of this.
Let me tell you there is nothing meaningful about this film.
It has a weak plot and Johansson is so literally robotic that it is impossible to care about her character and her story. Instead of really digging into the ramifications of a human/cyborg hybrid there are loose references to a ‘ghost’ inside but it never truly gets explored. Instead we are given a melodramatic soap opera.
The special effects in the movie were probably the best aspect of the film, but in 3D it seemed out of focus and a bit cheap overall.
If you are a fan of manga, and like shoot-em-up films then you’ll get a kick out of this. For me, though, it was a flop.
GHOST IN THE SHELL
In cinemas 30th March 2017
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, Juliette Binoche