Movie Review: Ghost In The Shell - Round 2
You could be forgiven for thinking this year was a contest between films to see which one can cause the most outrage.
In that regard, Ghost In The Shell (or GITS) is doing pretty well. But as an actual movie?
The fact that I went for a second round of this should tell you that it is not as terrible as some would have you think.
The cracks in this Shell are bearable.
It had been so long since the media preview screening - with so much said about it since - that GITS deserved a second shot.
IMAX 3D emphasised two things. First, this adaptation - flawed as it is - comes from the best of intentions.
The level of creativity put in to the effects makes me believe the makers really wanted this to work. The cast works too.
Asbaek is Batou made flesh, Ng Chin Han manages to overcome the worst hairstyle in the world and Kitano proves that less is much, much more. He takes stoic presence to a supernatural level.
That said, more work is needed on the screenplay - it is littered with sloppy plot holes.
The other moment of clarity was that creating a Hollywood live-action GITS was a fool's mission from the start.
Sanders, Johansson and gang were damned if they did, damned if they didn’t. To make this a success required sacrifices – alienate the diehard fans, or alienate general audiences.
Of course, the whitewashing issue could have been handled far better.
But then, even Johansson getting the blessing of the original 1995 anime’s director Mamoru Oshii has not been enough to stop cries of foul.
The odd thing is that there is a moment in the film that the controversial casting could have proved integral to the plot.
But that moment – a shocking reveal that is a wide open goal of dramatic possibility – is scuffed.
For all the flash, it is only when GITS gets low-key, gritty and less beholden to copying frames from the anime that the film comes to life.
You can read the initial review and my thoughts on Chin Han's hair at tinyurl.com/tnpghost1.
MOVIE: Ghost In The Shell
STARRING: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Ng Chin Han, Michael Pitt
DIRECTOR: Rupert Sanders
THE SKINNY: In the future, Major (Johansson) is the first of her kind - the survivor of a terrorist attack who is turned into a cyber-enhanced soldier. But has she been lied to about her past?
Still in cinemas
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