Ghost in the Shell’s publicity hell is 2017 in a nutshell: a popular property given to a director that doesn’t deserve to have his hands on it, and a film that caused a bunch of idiots to wail about “whitewashing” for social brownie points.
Pictured here: An image of the original Major (lead protagonist), definitely-not-possibly-white-you-racist-shut-up.
Anyway, I saw it tonight, and I have to say, it was quite possibly the most mediocre movie I’ve seen this year. Its greatest accomplishments are nothing to get excited about, and its biggest flaws never go past disappointing.
Scarlett Johansson is serviceable in this role, and she never becomes better than serviceable. There’s never any depth to her character, and the handful of times they try to establish an emotional connection all fall completely flat.
Pilou Asbæk, the soldier at Major’s side, was about the same: sullen, emotionless, and joyless, but not necessarily a bad actor.
And that basically describes the entire cast: a group of joyless individuals going around doing things. There’s no one in the ensemble that has some sort of dynamic, emotional personality, and there’s no one who resembles any sort of comic relief. Either of these could have potentially broken up the monotonous feeling of all the characters.
And when everyone has the same kind of dryness, it’s nearly impossible to establish an emotional connection with any of these people. I was sitting through the entire movie wondering why I should care.
The entire series of events in the movie feels completely jumbled and disjointed. There were many scenes that felt so incredibly jarring because there didn’t seem to be anything connecting it to the scenes before, and many of these jarring scenes are never brought up again.
The glue that somewhat keeps this movie together is undoubtedly the world that it creates. There are so many types of interesting future-science type stuff in this movie, and there were often moments where I was intrigued with these great ideas. It’s unfortunate, however, that they never go so deep into these ideas to truly create anything absolutely unique or worthwhile. Sure, it looks pretty on camera, and it was very eye-catching, but there was never anything special or memorable about it. Futuristic movies are a dime-a-dozen, so it’s a shame that there’s not really anything in this movie that causes it to stick out.
This is also a universe that doesn’t really explain its rules very well. I never got an idea of just what the limits were to anything, and thus, the whole movie just kind of floated around in meaninglessness with bland characters.
This is the first movie in a while where I was constantly annoyed with the slow motion action shots; they are numerous and excessive. Worst of all, they rarely ever benefit the actual action happening. The action overall was decent, but again, it never got to a point where I was entertained and absorbed into the fight sequences.
Here’s another thing that irritated me: the font text informing us of where the scene was taking place. What’s worse is that the whole movie starts off with paragraphs of text explaining how this world worked. And the best part? Absolutely none of it was necessary. My brother and I saw this movie together, and we both agreed that whenever the movie felt it necessary to inform us of what was going on through text on the screen, we were able to infer that information through the movie’s context. It’s lazy, condescending, and unfortunately extremely common in mediocre films like this.
The dialogue in this movie was average and occasionally cliche.
The soundtrack was absolutely forgettable.
Ghost in the Shell never really tilted one way or the other for me. When I was most excited with the movie, I was considering giving it a 6. When I was most displeased with the movie, I was considering a 4. But the worst part of this movie is that it was really boring.
Why was it boring? Because the characters are dull and one-noted, the storyline is aimless and choppy, and there was simply nothing in this movie that kept my interest for long. Considering everyone who’s ever watched the anime has told me great things about it, I’m very disappointed with this movie. Perhaps I’ll go and watch the anime to see if it is any better. All I know is that I definitely won’t be watching this adaptation again.
5 out of 10