As a big time fan of the anime Ghost in the Shell, both the movies and the series, I knew this movie was going to be difficult to see. Really high hopes almost always result in something terrible for me.
In short, the first part of the movie was not good, I’d give it a 2 out of 5. The second part however is almost a 4 out of 5.
I really tried watching the movie with an open mind though, trying really hard not to compare it to the anime, but all that fell apart by the first couple of scenes. They were perfect and gave me the shivers! The music was right, the picture, frames, colours, the feeling and everything felt just like the anime. I was so happy I stopped breathing for a bit. Then the movie took a turn to something soulless…
The main story started too quick, the antagonist was named to early and characters weren’t introduced properly. The movie rushed forward but with slow uninteresting scenes. I can’t actually remember what happened between that first fantastic scene until the scene with the garbage truck. I think it was just frames of the city with too much futuristic details. Lots of moving holograms, too many bright colours and lots and lots of weirdly dressed people. I’m a huge sci-fi lover, but I hate movies when they make unrealistic ugly colourful futures that look silly. I know there is a thin and difficult line between tasteful-futuristic and tacky-futuristic. There are so many sci-fi movies failing in there pursuit of a cool digital future. That’s why I tend to like the more robust urban designs like in the anime Ghost in the Shell. I also didn’t like how they introduced the rest of Majors team, it was hastily and with no love.
In the middle of the movie something happened though. The focus shifted from “the cool” futuristic details on to Major instead. Everything happened in a beautiful fight, in ankle high water between the Major and a garbage collector, with the city in the background. All scenes from here on were set in darker dirtier parts of the city with focus being put on just the right things and no fancy distractions. Now they started to touch on the meaning of Ghost in a shell.
So overall I think this move is okay, it didn’t give me everything I wanted (but that’s ridiculously hard with hardcore fans) but it took me back to the feeling I had the first time I watched a sci-fi movie with big questions. What is a soul? Can robots feel? What makes us human? Today that is my favourite genre of movies. (Really big fan of Battlestar Galactica)
One last thing, Scarlett Johansen as Major was okay except for that stupid walk. Why?! Why did they make her walk like that? It looks so silly…