By: Hamza Shafique
Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell has been out for a while now and a lot of reviews are available already. So, to adjust my expectations, I checked Chris Stuckman’s (a famous ‘You Tuber’ with whom I agree the most) review of the film before going to cinema. There I found that this film is actually based on a Japanese animation. Chris Stuckman review of the old animated movie was so good that it automatically raised my expectations with the film. I automatically assumed this movie to be the next Matrix, with mind boggling plot, super high tech future and innovative action sequences. Ghost in the Shell is a brilliant film and has all expected elements but unfortunately due to few elements doesn't reach the level of Matrix .
Story is about Major Mira Killian, a law enforcement agent, who has her mind implanted into a robot when her body is injured heavily in a terrorist attack. I enjoyed the first act of the film, action is superb and engaging, we get to know the character of Major played by Scarlet Johannsson. The whole film is a visual treat but the very first scene is extraordinarily clear, which is something I have never experienced when it comes to CGI on cinema screen. Story picks up in second act but starts to get confusing, which is ok as I wanted this movie to make me think. But what is not ok with the confusing plot is the pace of the film, as it slows down here and feels a bit drag. Third and final act when everything is revealed, Ghost in the Shell picks up again but the screenplay here seems hurried and lacks creativity. It’s still a very decent final act but I was expecting it to be on the similar craftsmanship level of Matrix.
Scarlet Johansson is flawless, in her portrayal of Major Mira Killian, an emotionless robot controlled by an actual human brain. Rest the cast has delivered as per the scope assigned to them. Weak aspect here is their characterization; where Scarlet’s character is very well written, I believe film makers did not spent enough time on developing the other characters. I will give example of Matrix here, where each character was distinct and memorable even though movie was a complete Neo show. Here I only remember Major and Kuze (played by Michael Pitt), Kuze only because of the climax dialogue scene with Major. Rest of the characters simply lack personality and are vague.
Action sequences are in abundance and choreographed well. My only point here is the lack of innovation, which is a must have, when you have an already established action star like Scarlet, apart from the invisible fight scene over water, the rest of them reminded me of black widow with a different hairstyle and this took the freshness out.
The use of CGI as I have already mentioned is great. The futuristic City landscape they have created is imaginative yet believable. One complaint is that; Rupert hasn’t used city landscape in the plot properly and we merely see it as a pretty backdrop or as a transition between the scenes which makes it repetitive and boring. It’s like you are in photographic exhibition and each picture is same. You will appreciate first couple of pictures but then same pictures even great will stop to fascinate. I wish they had used it more appropriately and not just as a backdrop, nevertheless, its visually stunning and will take your attention especially in the beginning.
Don’t take me wrong this film is still brilliant not to the level I expected but still is brilliant. It’s a visual treat and with Scarlet’s performance deserves to be experienced on big screen. I go with 3 stars.