Each of us has a ghost-a soul-but Major’s shell is unique. I give Ghost in the Shell a B.
Based on a Japanese Anime comic book, then a video game and animated movies, Ghost in the Shell remains true to the original storyline and characters. Major is the first of her kind, a successful transplant of a human brain into a fully cyber body. She has been trained as a kind of police officer who does what it takes in a world where hacking means taking over someone else’s body.
Set in the future, the cinematography of Japan with large animated 3-D billboards advertising everything from online schools to body enhancements, Ghost in the Shell is visually beautiful. Scarlett Johansson plays Major, a woman who is confused about her place in the world. Is she human or just a machine? This question is the main dilemma as more humans receive enhancements, like an upgraded liver to allow them to drink more or vision to see through walls. Some of these enhancements are by choice but many are as a result of damage or disease. Just imagine how our world would be if we could give people back limbs they lost or hearing they lost.
But with the enhancements comes danger as these upgrades can be hacked, allowing fake memories to be placed in a person’s mind or having someone else control your thoughts and movements. It is why a specialized force including Major is vital.
Not having seen the previous comics or movie, I came to the movie without the background that a fan would have. Ms Johansson has become a kick-butt heroine, which is good and bad. She seems to play the same character in each of her movies. I saw shades of Black Widow in Major. The big difference was the lack of sarcasm from Major that Black Widow has. In this movie, Ms. Johansson spends a lot of time looking like she’s got a major case of the cramps. At one point, I wanted to give her some meds to help with it.
The secondary characters are fun. Batou is Major’s best friend and is a trained killer with a heart of gold. Kuze as the bad guy is a wonderful twist because he’s almost more human than the humans. His motivation will have you empathizing with him. Although we don’t really get any of the background on the secondary characters, they do provide a different view of Major.
Fans of the series cheered with the gripping storyline which gives background and showcases the comic universe. Although it doesn’t follow exactly, it does remain true to the story. Ghost in the Shell is why my son decided on prosthetics as his major. He’d like to see many of these enhancements come about.
Filled with action and great imagery, this movie is a good one to see, but with Scarlett’s pained expressions as well as how it could be Black Widow in the same role, viewers might want to wait to see it on DVD or go for the cheaper times.
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