Greetings POPPERS! The live-action film Ghost in the Shell is receiving very questionable reviews, so we had to watch the film ourselves to see if it lived up to the essence of the Japanese manga created by Masamune Shirow. The premise is complex at times, so let’s discuss it, and then we’ll get to the good stuff!
Ghost in the Shell(2017) POP Bag Review
This fantasy/science fiction/action film takes place in the future where humans are able to insert their “ghost” into a cybernetic body, also referred to as a “shell”. These turned cyborgs have been given enhanced abilities, such as increased strength, vision, and intelligence. Who is the mastermind behind this technologically advanced method you ask? It’s the leading research and development organization called Hanka Robotics and it’s genius Dr. Ouelet. Now, they have successfully created a cybernetic organism for the first time by implanting the brain of Motoko Kusanagi in a “shell”. Motoko’s body was injured so badly that only her brain was salvageable. As a result, Motoko’s brain was inserted into a shell instead of having an AI built, which left Motoko to become the first successful man-machine hybrid.
Dr. Ouelet decided to give her a new identity as a counter-terrorist operative named Major Mira Killian to help keep Hanka Robotics from outside threats; however, the now Major Mira Killian, is experiencing glitches after her first mission due to Dr. Ouelet keeping some of Motoko’s memories stored in her brain. As more “glitches” take place, Major Mira Killian begins questioning her memories, especially after she learns that there was a prior experiment that “failed”, which goes by the name of The Puppeteer. With similar cybernetic attributes to that of Major Mira Killian, The Puppeteer informs Major Mira Killian that the drugs she is taking, as instructed by Dr. Ouelet under Hanka Robotics’ orders, is suppressing her true memories.
Now, let’s move on to the amazing scenery of the film. The scenery throughout the film was absolutely awe striking. The aerial shots of futuristic Tokyo with 80 ft. tall holographic geishas and orange koi fishes swimming circles around giant office buildings, painted a realistic picture of a bustling, technology-centric metropolis that could very well be Tokyo in the distant future. It felt so authentic yet so outlandish – in the best way possible. This highly updated, future-fied version of modern day Japan was a beautiful contrast to the bleak, gray-scaled setting seen in the less affluent parts of Tokyo.
The industrial, whitewashed cement, technology-barren apartment buildings of run-down Tokyo was a tragically beautiful sight to see against the pixelated images of the city that the audience was used to. It was magical! The moments of silence in the movie were the most amazing we have ever seen in a film. There’s one scene in particular, of a geisha silently walking down a hallway at a chillingly slow pace with no intelligible background noise. The silence of the scene, the swiftness of the geisha’s steps, and the haunting feeling of the hallway she is walking down set a tone of pin-drop silence, perfectly setting the audience for the forthcoming calamity.
There are countless moments in this film that incorporate various authentic facets of the Tokyo culture, while also accomplishing the storytelling goal of the film. From the crowded hustle and bustle of Tokyo, to the tech-centered city and its inhabitants, to the typical Japanese caricatures of geishas and other eastern images – the film absolutely transports the audience to a realistic look at what Japan could be in, say, 300 – 500 years (?)
Aside from the great special effects and scenery, the film stayed true to the concept and theme of the original Ghost in the Shell with all of the fighting scenes, the creation of Major Mira Killian, and the thought-provoking story that questions the more-machine and part-human complexity. However, we get the feeling it slightly missed the mark, and didn’t live up to its predecessor.
Ghost in the Shell wasn’t a bad movie . The original manga focused less on spectacle and more on its philosophy, while the live action version focused more on the special effects and went deeply into explaining everything that was happening instead of just delving into the philosophy of the movie. If you look at the movie on its own, it is just another Hollywood action movie set in the future that gets deep sometimes but not enough to make a lasting impact. While the original Ghost in the Shell developed a cult following, it lacked a wide appeal so some changes were made; therefore, it became more Americanized to make it more palatable towards American audiences, which we personally believe detracts from the movie and takes away from the things that made the original so great.
No matter the outcome, the live-action film for Ghost in the Shell is well-done, and we definitely recommend you watch it! It will certainly put things in a more realistic perspective, and will entertain you, so visit www.cinepolisusa.com to purchase your tickets today and get ready to be fully entertained. If you are in NYC, then visit Cinepolis Chelsea Cinema for a epic movie experience!