It’s the best “Alien” movie in 30 years! Is it worth $10? Yes Admit it: We all despised...
A decent science-fiction film that might spark the imagination and maybe a little philosophical debate.
Is it worth $10? Yes
It’s hard to believe, but “Ghost in the Shell” is totally watchable. High praise, indeed, but I didn’t have much faith in the film since its director, Rupert Sanders, was responsible for “Snow White and the Huntsman.” But hey, that’s one movie, and while this newest effort doesn’t knock it out of the park, it’s still pretty good. That’s more than I was expecting.
Based on the manga and anime of the same name, “Ghost in the Shell” is a futuristic, cyberpunk tale that stars Scarlett Johansson as The Major. She’s the first of her kind, a human brain meshed with a fully synthetic body. Lacking memories, she’s told she originally perished in an accident and that her brain was transplanted into her new, powerful form by the Hanka Corporation.
As an action film, “Ghost in the Shell” is fine, though never as exciting as it should be. There are plenty of fisticuffs and shoot-outs, but they tend to be short and clipped by the film’s PG-13 rating. Just as a sequence gets good, it’s over.
The problem is that The Major is simply too powerful and thus never in any real danger. She’s blown up at one point but is quickly put back together again. As such, the film’s villains are never a real threat. It also doesn’t help that the main antagonist is so generic and unintimidating that his revelation deflates the film with an almost audible pfffffffffft, like air escaping a balloon.
But then there’s Johansson. My seat was a little too close to the IMAX screen, so from where I was sitting I could have looked at my feet and still have seen her contemplatively staring off into the ether. At the risk of sounding childish, if I have to be that close to someone’s face stretched to 50 feet, I’m glad it’s Johansson’s. But there’s more to it than that. She’s fascinating and sympathetic even when playing a bit of a blank slate like The Major, so kudos to her.
“Ghost in the Shell” is not revolutionary. You won’t find me shouting its praises from a cliff (as if I could find a cliff in Miami). Two and half stars seems a little low, but three too high. I’m playing it safe and sticking to the former. But the film has good qualities, and I feel no shame giving it a recommendation, especially to a sci-fi fan.