Recently, the long-awaited Ghost In The Shell movie released and was welcomed with mixed reception. As one who has watched the original anime movie for Ghost In The Shell, though not read the manga, I was impressed by how well the adaptation turned out to be. To set aside any idea of whitewashing in this movie, in would like to say that all the characters in the original anime/manga were, in fact, American or European and Major’s body was, as stated by the author himself, designed with Russian influence. That being said, this will go over some of the events of the movie, I will be talking about it as a standalone work and try not to compare it to the anime/manga.
Our main character is Mira Killian, also known as Major, she is among the first successful human/android hybrid, and as such, she is displayed as superior to humans and machine, she works as an anti-terrorist agent. Her character is portrayed brilliantly by actress Scarlett Johanson, who manages to capture the confusion and self-questioning, along with the badass attitude of the original Major in a movie that doesn’t explore these themes as in-depth as I would’ve liked it to have done. Many have complained about the lack of emotion or the focus on the exploration of self that Johanson explores in her role as Major, though that’s precisely what the original Major was about, on the outside, she is this unstoppable killing machine, though inside she is confused and questioning of her existence, which is the whole appeal of her character. So overall Scarlett Johanson has done a great job at playing Major.
Aside from the great portrayal of Major, this movie manages to deliver one of the best cyberpunk settings I have ever seen in movies to date, moreover, the fighting sequences that take place throughout the movie are visually stunning. On the other hand, this movie lacks the focus on the more philosophical aspects that made the original Ghost In The Shell great, though it does touch on subjects such as the existence of a soul, free will and the dangers of technology, however, these subjects are only touched upon superficially and what the movie really focusses on is the visual effects and the action which is to some a bit overused however, we must remember that this is a hollywood movie and it has to appeal to the masses.
What this movie managed to accomplish was, though unbalanced, a mix of deep philosophy along with great action that brings this more niche type of content to the eyes of the masses, an achievement worth giving credit to, and though it’s not as great as a western original such as The Matrix, which is heavily influenced by Ghost In The Shell, it’s still a great adaptation of an anime/manga into live action, one of, if not the best one to date.
This movie also chose to take a different path to the original and had its own stand-alone story instead of being a complete adaptation though remaining faithful to most of the themes of the original manga, while also allowing for a more fluid style of storytelling that better fits the big screen.
Wether you’re an old fan of the franchise or someone who is interested in a cyberpunk action/thriller series, you should definitely give this movie a try, and it may just surprise you, it is well made visually, the plot is solid and thought-provoking and the action is top-notch, so go ahead and give it a watch because it’s definitely worth it.