I saw “Ghost in the Shell” yesterday, and here are my brief NO SPOILERS thoughts on it.
The good: First, I have to say that “Ghost” is a perfectly fine science fiction thriller set in a dystopian near-future. It’s competently made, and I think all sci-fi fans should support competently made sci-fi that’s not part of an existing live-action franchise. (I’m well aware of its animated and drawn history.)
The visuals are rich, the tech is fun, and the script is reasonably tight and focused. I recommend seeing the film in 3D Imax, because its greatest strengths are its visuals.
The bad: All that said, it’s not a perfect movie. The storytelling isn’t as robust as I would have liked, and the script does’t allow the story to explore the more interesting areas of the universe. Where does tech end and humanity begin? It’s a compelling question even if it’s been mined before, and, I would think, the central one for this universe, but it’s not explored in any depth here.
The movie could have used a writer and director that would have lent the story and universe the depth it deserves, and it’s sad to see Ghost in the Shell shortchanged in that way.
The climax should have been longer and more interesting. I would say more here but I want to keep this spoiler-free.
The action was surprisingly lackluster. I was hoping for some big fun action scenes. Minority Report wasn’t great, for example, but it did deliver on the action and was a more fun movie because of it. I would say Ghost in the Shell is a better movie than Minority Report but would’ve been improved by some more compelling action sequences.
I was never invested in Major’s character as much as I wanted to be. Part of this is the writing, part of it’s the acting. Why does ScarJo play Major as a robot? Her brain is human, after all — it’s not as if she’s without emotion. Sure, she can be disconnected and adrift in the world, but a little emoting would be okay, surely.
In sum: All right, I’ll stop there. I’m sounding way too negative for a fun little sci-fi movie with great visuals and a well-developed environment. I would still recommend seeing it, but keep your expectations in check and you might just have a good time.
I hope this movie does well enough to warrant a sequel because I want to see this universe explored in more detail, with a more robust script and story. I just hope that a new writing and directing team take over for the next one, and that someone tells ScarJo it’s okay to emote every now and then.