Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Ghost in the Shell (2017)


I swear it’s always after the year is over that I end up watching some of the really bad ones or the really good ones I didn’t get to see. *sighs*. This is a short review. I wasn’t going to review but since it’s a new movie basically and I saw it, I might as well lol.
*Mild Spoilers ahead.
Summary: In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.
The Acting. I think most notably Juliette Binoche was good in her role, she’s a good actress and she really showed that she cared about Major, like a mother figure. It’s not all bad, everyone is generally passable in their roles. I don’t think anyone is technically BAD but it’s not anything to really go in praising.
Looks Good. It looks pretty good, I like the visuals. Some of the giant holographic billboards they had going on were kind of cool. The overhead shots of the city really showed the city in the future and it really maintained this “other” look about it. I’m sure it would have been really cool to see on the big screen, maybe even in IMAX. Too bad it wasn’t in a better movie.
The Fight scene on the water. It was cool. I just remember Major chasing this guy down and they have a fight in the water. It’s shallow so they’re standing on it, and Major is invisible most of the time, and watching her kick that guy’s butt with all the water flinging around and stuff was pretty cool. Not to mention, that shot of her coming visible after being invisible was also a really cool effect.
Characters. I know this is based on an anime/manga but I really could care less about any of these characters. They don’t make them relatable at all. I know Major is a cyborg or whatever, but she is such a flat character in this movie that she is just not interesting. They try to make her interesting but it’s a big fail. The supporting characters seem more interesting but the movie doesn’t care about them, most of them only get a few lines (which makes them stand out) but they are hardly in the movie to get attached to them.
The Story. I really can’t even tell you what was going on. It’s trying to pack so much into this story, to make Major more relatable with her trying have “self discovery”, but it’s all over the place that it doesn’t translate the way it should. There is also this subplot with this villain guy, who is really connected to the main plot and just… it’s so stupid.
Stupid Decisions. Characters make a lot of dumb choices, if you’re fighting someone and you’re invisible, why would you come visible? That’s dumb. Sure, it looks cool but it’s dumb. Why do you have to backwards fall off a building every time? How do you get the momentum to even come through the window like that? You weren’t even falling correctly for that to happen. Why does no one look behind them to see if someone is gonna attack and taser them? Just… stupid. Also, why wouldn’t Dr. Ouelet duck? I wouldn’t have even stood up. Dumb.
The Dialogue. There is a ton of bad dialogue in this movie. Being that’s futuristic and about cyber enhancements and such, there is a lot of techno babble. Sometimes that is really interesting and you’re curious about what it can do, buuuuuttt in this movie, it just sounds like techno babble. Major has a lot of conversations with people where she’s talking about feeling like an outsider and I would get that if the dialogue wasn’t setup in a way that didn’t make her sound stupid. From what I do know about the anime, it has a lot of profound moments in it, and this movie tries to emulate that but it just comes off shallow instead.
The acting. It’s not all bad, but it feels like the actors don’t care about the movie they’re in. I’m not a fan of Scarlett Johansson anyway, I don’t think she’s that good an actress, at least consistently, and this movie doesn’t help her cause. She is so bland and I don’t think the argument that she’s a robot counts because you WANT to root for them and there is nothing she does that makes me want to root for Major. Plus, that weird walk thing she did was really funny to watch and I laughed every time she walked. Just because you’re playing a robot does not mean you DON’T HAVE TO ACT! Plenty of people play robots or cyborgs and the viewers actually like those characters. Even the T-1000 was awesome and all that dude did was run and be scary.
The Action. All of the action is pretty bad, badly choreographed, badly shot… at times there is a lot of edits going on so you can’t see what happening. Other times, there is a lot of flashing lights going on that you really can’t see what’s going on. If you can’t handle flashing lights… don’t watch this movie. There is a lot of at the beginning especially. She’s a robot, so it could have been some cool action sequences and I found myself bored watching them.
Casting Issues. Look, just watching this movie, the excuses given for why people were cast in this movie, they don’t hold up. First of all, the argument is that Major could be white because she’s just a “shell” and obviously to keep her from looking how she looked originally so they could have their reveal at the end. Sure, but that doesn’t make sense nor does it work when you have the reveal at the end. This movie is set in a futuristic Asian city, why aren’t there more Asians in the center of it? That’s stupid. Then you have the reveal at the end where we find out more about Major… what if they decided to do a sequel, are we just gonna be walking around calling this white woman by a Japanese name? That’s also dumb and makes no sense. Her “ghost” is the same but the shell is different. Why couldn’t the shell be an Asian woman, just a different one? You can’t justify your casting in the end when it really just makes it worse. That does affect the movie because I’m sitting here thinking… why?
Overall, this movie is boring. It’s really boring. It has some cool stuff going on, but not enough that really keep someone’s attention. Not all of the acting is bad, most notably Juliette Binoche, and some of the visuals are really cool. The vastness of the city they’re living in, looks really good when we get a lot of overhead shots. There is also one action scene in particular where Major chases down a garbage man to a lake? I guess and that was a pretty cool action scene. Otherwise, the characters are really bland and forgettable. The acting isn’t all good either. The businessman villain was extremely over the top and I don’t think Johansson was all that special in this role, she didn’t even get the chance to be truly physical to justify her casting, unlike her being physically awesome as Black Widow. Plus, her mannerisms for Major were also pretty funny, that walk though. This movie is based on an anime and fails to make that anime translate well on-screen, not to mention, the action should have been all around cool but it wasn’t. This movie is boring, boring, boring. It would have made my Worst of the 2017 Year list for sure.
Rating: 2 out 5 stars.
Did you see Ghost in the Shell? What did you think about it? Did you enjoy it?
Did the casting controversy bother you at all?
Let me know your thoughts down below!
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