Movie Review – “Ghost in the Shell”

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A Hollow Shell 

(Pun intended)

I tried My best to go into Ghost in the Shell with an open mind. Although I was very aware of the controversy that surrounded Scarlett Johansson’s casting in the film, I had never seen any of the original anime or read any of the comics.

While after I saw Logan I felt compelled to go and read the original comic, Ghost in the Shell didn’t quite leave me feeling compelled to go and watch the original.

The premise is straightforward – A cyberhuman (human brain inserted into a completely synthetic body) who has been trained as a weapon starts seeing glimpses of her past, then turns against her bosses as she finds out that they lied to her about who she truly is.

I’ve been coming down from the high that was Oscar awards season the last few months, and I still need time to get back into the mindset of watching action-stuffed blockbusters. That being said, Ghost in the Shell is probably the worst movie I’ve seen since last year’s Suicide Squad, an utter failure and a disgrace to all those who consider themselves artists. 

Before I rip it apart, though, I’ll focus on the positives…

Top Notch Visuals make the film (barely) palatable.

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The cinematography in the film is, frankly, superb. It raises itself above Suicide Squad level by making every image on the screen stimulating and interesting.

(“Suicide Squad level” is now my go-to term for any film that makes me want to puke/leave the theater/move cities and change my name to Chet).

Since the characters, dialogue, and story were hogwash, my eyes often wandered across the screen to marvel at the technical showcase the film put on.

So, uh, that was cool?

Besides the visuals, Blade Runner-like production design and a decent performance by Scarlett Johansson, the film doesn’t have much to offer.

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A few scenes might start to come together and feel compelling, or a small bit of action might be fun, but those moments are swept away by wave after wave of garbage.

Everything else about the film is…

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Ghost in the Shell has no clear sense of pace, is full of one-dimensional, archetypal characters, and doesn’t contain a single line of good dialogue.

Within 30 seconds of the film opening, the BAD GUY character introduces himself as the BAD GUY when he says something along the lines of, “She isn’t human! She is a weapon and she BELONGS to the COMPANY!!!!” 

Pretty much every character sticks to this kind of dialogue. Scarlett’s badass right hand man makes remarks about beer and women. Scarlett complains that she doesn’t know who she is. It’s all predictable and unimaginative. (Notice I call her “Scarlett” becuase I can’t remember her character’s name…).

There’s no real compelling rhyme or reason to why the characters do what they do. They are just bad. Or good. Or cool. They are nothing more than cardboard placeholders. Even Scarlett Johansson’s talent is suppressed when she is given a bland script.

That seems to be the film’s biggest issue – it puts up a backdrop filled with beautiful set pieces, and populates it with characters and situations that are just…blasé.

(YES I JUST FREAKING USED THE WORD BLASÉ)

We’ve seen characters and stories like this time and time again. By the time anything compelling starts to materialize (Scarlett starts to uncover her past), the film is halfway done. It’s too little, too late.

The film seemingly does a disservice to its roots, founded on originality, and its fans.

Skip it.

It’s filled with visual splendor, and yet completely empty. You won’t remember a thing.

 

 

 

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