Saturday, September 16, 2017

Review: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

I'd been aware of the original Manga and Anime for this film, but never seen them ... and so this 2017 live action version, starring Scarlett Johansson came as new to me.

It's a story that is very reminiscent of Robocop (1987) (Wiki says that Ghost in the Shell first appeared in 1989), and so one has to wonder if this was originally a Japanese response to that American film. The basic idea is that a woman is created as a cyborg to help the police with their work. The problem is that she retains some of her original memories and personality and these start to bleed through and drive her mad. So she sets out to find out what the truth is.

Along the way we get some superb action sequences, and the CGI is faultless in this 2017 edition. One element of note is that our heroine, Mira, has what is described as a Thermoptic suit, which allows her to become invisible. It also renders her as practically nude, it's so tight, and indeed she is wearing it on the cover of the DVD/Blu-Ray releases and in the trailer, and in much of the film's action set pieces.

I enjoyed the film a lot, but I think the familiarity with Robocop is very strong, and this robs the screenplay of some of its mystery - we know where this is all going. The effects are great, and the acting is also good. One complaint though with regards to Ms Johansson, as with Lucy she seems to be walking through the role in an emotionless fugue. I totally understand that both roles (Lucy and Mira) are intentionally 'blanks' and divorced from reality, so maybe this is what she's being asked to play by the director, but I feel that some actual emotion somewhere in the mix would raise the performance immensely.

It's also interesting, that Googling for photos from the film, there are next to none which don't feature Johansson ... seems that the studios are relying on her and her alone for the film to work!

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