Friday, April 14, 2017

Ghost In The Shell (2017) Movie Review

*spoilers ahead*. You have been warned. Overall, I have almost nothing good to say. It's a decent popcorn flick if you possess the ability to shut down your ghost for 90 minutes.

Let's start with the good:

The visuals are stunning, and Scarlett Johansson is, of course, a very beautiful woman.

Now for the rest:

They played it so safe that the result is a stillbirth.

The acting is abysmal. Johansson never was a lot more than a pretty face, in this flick she has one facial expression, and one only. I could live with that if it did make sense in-universe, but Major Kusanagi is most emphatically *not* a robot.

The melancholia of the 1996 anime has been replaced with melodrama in this one, caused by shitty dialog and severe overacting -- most painfully, on part of Juliette Binoche, whom I still remember as a real first-class actress with a lot of bandwidth.

The story is just a stereotypical origin story.

They lost the humanity of it.

Heck, they even lost the humor. As an example, one of the four scenes that are almost straight copies from the anime is the one on the boat, where Kusanagi and Batou bond over some beer, and banter a bit. In the anime, when the Major chnanges out of her swimsuit, Batou sneaks in a peek, then looks away, but peeks once more. It's obvious that he likes what he sees, but his relationship with Kusanagi is a mixture of friendship, comraderie and professionalism, and he's rather protective of her, so he cannot go there. It's humane, it has a touch of humor, it's something to watch again.

In the update, they play all that in complete and utter seriousness. Major: "I can't trust anyone anymore." - Batou: "You do trust me, don't you?" - Major: "Yes I do." Gnarf.

I could probably live with the above -- I'm perfectly happy just watching Scarlett Johannson be pretty.

What I cannot live with is lack of character motivation, nonsensical plot points and actions that are out of place for a character.

Aramaki would not shoot Cutter like that, vendetta style, thus exposing himself to legal action. Why would the Yakuza host a hacker? Why would it be dangerous to just be in the same room with a ghost-hacked human? Why did the trash collector have to stand during the interrogation? How could Kuse get away after being shot by four machine guns on short range? Why did Cutter remote control the spider tank in the boss battle, when it was clearly established in the anime that those machines possess AI? How on earth did Kuse even get away, after they killed 97 predecessors? How was he able to sneak back into the building? Why would Cutter allow Section 9 to go after Kuse, risking exposure for his murders, when he has all his mooks and could easily just kill him with that spider tank all the time? Why would Cutter, when he monitors his disloyal employee, monitor her in a way that would easily allow her to give the Major an antidote instead of a poison? Why would they rely on their victims taking their "medicine", so their memories remain hidden, when those victims have to come in for regular inspections anyway? And, finally, why is the Major so incredibly valuable to Section 9? She might be powerful physically, but she's basically a borderline psychotic, ticking timebomb. She completely ignores a direct order in the first scene, for crying out loud, without any consequences from a boss who is supposed to be super strict.


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