Racial whitewashing or not, Ghost in the Shell (2017) is still a rather insipid movie.
Ghost in the Shell (2017) Synopsis
Major Mira Killian is the greatest achievement of Hanka Robotics experiments in implanting human sentience into cybernetic bodies. While investigating different terrorist attacks on Hanka scientists, Mira begins to suspect the accomplishment actually came at a great cost. Worse, she might not even be whom she thinks she is.
By now, you must have at least read some of the whitewashing complaints hurled at Ghost in the Shell (2017). So I wouldn’t write about that.
Instead, I’d approach this snappy review from the viewpoint of someone who is only slightly familiar with the GITS story. Someone who went into the cinema looking forward to a CGI-drenched cyberpunk flick.
Verdict. This live-action version doesn’t entirely suck. But it is still rather dreary.
A lot of that has to do with how the movie piles so many themes together without substantial focus or direction. Kind of like how hologram-layered Hong Kong comes across as odd and incongruous, rather than fascinating.
Existentialism, the heart of the original story, is hastily dictated as a matter of “what you do” and not “what you are born as.” (Note: Dictated, not realised) All characters also come across as superficial and unmemorable. To give an example, the story hints at a lot of curious dynamics between Batou and Mira. Yet, nothing was explored throughout the whole movie. In the end, one can’t even decide whether Batou is a faithful sidekick, a reliable colleague, a suffering secret admirer, or a strange salad of everything.
On top of which there’s the action, which in all fairness is neither better nor worse than any action flick nowadays. The problem is, we have seen all those moves already, no less by the same actress wearing a similar skin-tight outfit.
Outside of racial complaints, I feel casting Scarlett Johansson as a solemn Kusanagi Motoko is the biggest mistake of Ghost in the Shell (2017) because it removes all freshness to the story. In several ways, this movie actually feels like a Black Widow backstory leading to the next Avengers movie. Scarlett herself feels to be lost in this confusion too at various points in the movie.
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