Ghost in the Shell Review: Visually Astonishing, But Not Much Else

Wellington
In pictures: live-action Ghost in the Shell movie turns Hong Kong into a futuristic metropolis
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31 March, 2017

The film is based on a hugely complex comic book series which spawned any number of TV series and animated movies of its own, including the critically acclaimed 1995 feature length Ghost In The Shell from Production IG - high standards, perhaps impossibly high to satisfy franchise fans.

In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: A human saved from a awful crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a ideal soldier devoted to stopping the world's most risky criminals.

Android security agent The Major and the team she leads within a counter-terrorist unit find themselves set against an expert hacker who can, it seems, get anywhere and control anything. Her body couldn't be saved, but somehow her mind was - turning her into a "ghost in the shell", with a complete cybernetic replacement.

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While in the future she may run for office, the actress says that she doesn't have the time right now. The movie has been criticized for "whitewashing", particularly in casting Johansson in a beloved Japanese tale - but the question is more ambiguous in that global-minded context.

Ghost in the Shell is visually astonishing. Just make sure you see it in IMAX.

But other critics felt that in order to "translate the tone for a modern audience", fundamental elements should not have been overlooked. Director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) has crafted a special effects wonder that will melt your eyeballs.


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