Like most people and especially fans of the Ghost in the Shell franchise, I was skeptical of a live action adaptation of one of anime’s greatest works. I am more than happy to say we doubters were wrong as director Rupert Sanders brings the famed animated film to life in 2017’s Ghost in the Shell. Starring Scarlett Johansson and a respectable supporting cast, and featuring very well done special effects, this isn’t just one of the best live-action anime adaptations to date, it’s also one of the best sci-fi/action movies out there as well.
After starting off with her infamous invisible cloaking bodysuit and dropping off the roof of a building to dive in and shoot up some corrupted geisha robots as in the anime film, the Major (Scarlett Johansson) and her elite cyber crime police-like team at Section 9 are always one step behind a hacker that’s trying to disrupt a seemingly perfect future where people can live longer and communicate better thanks to cybernetic bodies. With the help of her closest teammate named Batou (Pilou Asbæk), they set out to find this hacker who calls himself Kuze (Michael Pitt) and discover he has ties to the Major’s past.
To say anymore would go into spoiler territory, but needless to say there’s plenty of double crosses, intrigue, and answers to the Major’s past and future with the help of her team. Essentially, just like the other Ghost In The Shell movies and series.
Despite all of the controversy that’s surrounding this film, I enjoyed every minute of it. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen the original 1995 anime movie in awhile, or maybe it’s because I tend to watch things without high expectations, but whatever the case is, I saw it for a great sci-fi/action piece. If you love classics such as Blade Runner and the first Matrix film, you’re sure to enjoy this one and the amazing special effects it features. I think Scarlett Johansson did a remarkable job as the Major as she brings a softer, vulnerable side to the character while still being kick ass when needed.
If I had any gripes it’s that we don’t get to see more of her teammates outside of Batou (and his augmented eyes), or in seeing other characters at their full power, especially the infamous “Beat” Takeshi Kitano who brings a nice smidge of his legendary yakuza bad-assery to this piece. If a sequel ever comes along (though not likely thanks to the low box-office numbers), I’d love to see more of the Major’s squad and the awesome talents they bring to the table.
If you can tune out all the controversy and talk about the film, or just don’t care (like I did), I highly recommend this new version of Ghost in the Shell, especially if you love sci-fi and action flicks. A great cast, fantastic special effects, amazing action, and a pretty nice soundtrack that captures the spirit of the original film make this one of the best live-action adaptations of anime to date, and one of the best sci-fi/action movies you’ll see. Just make sure to listen while the credits roll!