Monday, 24 July 2017

Ghost in the Shell

Lowdown: The adventures of the first robot endowed with a human brain.
Back in the late nineties I watched a Japanese anime that offered breakthrough ideas on the integration of human and machine. Frankly, I do not remember much from that anime or the manga series it was based on. I do know, however, that when a new Ghost in the Shell was announced, a live action version starring Scarlett Johansson, there was much protesting on how such an iconic Japanese concept was brutalised to the alter of Hollywood stardom. And frankly, I concurred.
I was, still, curious, and I gave this new movie a go. After all, it hits all the right buttons, genre wise: a futuristic tale of a person endowed with machine enhancements that push the envelop further. As I said, I do not remember much of the original; in this movie, this new revolutionarily enhanced human is used as a crime fighting weapon to fight a mysterious adversary that is attacking the scientists of the very same weapons company it (she?) came from.
Clearly, the idea has merit. However, it is failed by the execution department. Ghost in the Shell is set in a very Blade Runner like world, with some of The Fifth Element flavour. Only that unlike Blade Runner this one feels more like a “haven’t we’ve seen this way too many times before” affair, thus raising the question on the lack of originality.
Similarly, Ghost in the Shell seems to be all about the choreography of the shot. Everything has to look like it came off peak Matrix. OK, I can live with that, but the problem is that this visual factor comes at the expense of substance: things like character development or a good plot. The result? An uninvolving affair; I could hardly relate to any of the characters, this finding myself rather bored with the affair despite the visual richness and the short duration.
I did like seeing Pilou Asbæk, of Borgen fame, in a muscly role. And it was nice to see Juliette Binoche, too, mostly because I was reminded just how good that movie Chocolate was. But other than that? A waste of time.
Overall: It started the wrong way and it continued the wrong way. 2 out of 5 crabs.

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