Ghost In The Shell [rating=4]
It’s surprising that it took over twenty years for a live-action Ghost In The Shell adaptation to be released considering it is one of the most beloved anime films of all time, even influencing movies such as The Matrix and Avatar. The 1995 original directed by Mamoru Oshii (Angels Egg, Skycrawlers) was considered a cinematic masterpiece. Every frame in the film was mesmerisingly beautiful, action-packed and laden with philosophical questions centred around existence.
Rupert Sanders’ live-action adaptation asks the same questions as the original film and is almost completely faithful to the original (some scenes are even shot-for-shot replicas), but also features some new scenes mainly focused around The Major (Scarlett Johanson) trying to find out just who she was and how she came to be the host of the synthetic body she now occupies. Throughout the film we see that Major is haunted by “glitches” of what seem to be memories from her past life as a human, which is the major driving force for the film’s story and its emotional core. As Major works beside Section 9, an intelligence unit formed of former detectives, scientists and military officers that focus of bringing down “hacked” terrorists, we are introduced to the amazing cast the film has to offer with Pilou Asbæk stealing the show as Major’s partner and long-time friend and comrade in arms, Batou.
For the most part Sanders’ adaptation of Ghost In The Shell is a compelling, action-packed story with a fantastic cast and stunning visuals, and although there was a lot of controversy surrounding the film’s casting of Scarlett Johanson as The Major she is fantastic to watch and plays the character perfectly. Even when the film started to slow down and drag towards the third-act, Johanson kept me engaged and invested in the story.
Rupert Sanders’ adaptation of Ghost In The Shell is a visually stunning ride and a film I recommend everyone watch. As a fan of the original anime I was initially sceptical, but was pleasantly surprised by the film and cannot wait to revisit. Bonus points to the team behind the film for including the original version of the song Making of Cyborg by Kenji Kawai in the end credits after it was missing from the opening sequence and thought to have been replaced by a Steve Aoki remix. Beautiful.
Ghost In The Shell is available on Digital download now and on DVD/Blu-Ray from 7th August 2017
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller| USA, Japan 2017 | 12A | Paramount Pictures | Dir.Rupert Sanders