Starring Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Carmen Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Chin Han and Juliet Binoche
Based the Manga by Masamune Shirow
Screenplay by Jamie Moss and William Wheeler and Ehren Kruger
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Reviewed by Patrick & Paul Gibbs
Out of Four
Director Sanders struggles with the difficult task of taking very edgy and adult (if not always mature) material, loaded with constant nudity and graphic violence, and toning it down to be suitable for mass audiences. The decision to make Major's robotic body less defined and overtly sexualized is a good one, or at least it would be if they stuck to it. Exactly how much flesh Major has seems to vary from scene to scene, and questions like "why does she needs a wetsuit?" or "why does she wear panties when she's alone?" become frustrating (although the answer to the latter is simply that Sanders thinks he is being clever by making a visual reference to Lost in Transliteration. He's not.).
Ghost in the Shell is a movie that is going for thought provoking but depends heavily on asking you not to think too much, and to some extent that is ok. The philosophical themes and the questions about the nature of being are more important than the accuracy of the science. It's a beautifully stylish film that borrows heavily from both A.I. and Minority Report, but never quite captures the film noir atmosphere it's going for, and that's a shame. It's a serviceable enough Hollywood spectacle with some interesting questions, and it's worth a look, but it's unlikely to be remembered or earn much of a place in cinema history. It's going to play best to fans, and worst to rabid purist fans.
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