Friday, 31 March 2017

'Ghost In The Shell' (2017) Review: Easy On The Eyes, Hard To Watch

Catch It On Cable: Dull and uninteresting on the inside, but very pretty on the outside.

'Ghost In The Shell' is the long awaited live action adaptation of the Manga of the same name. Set in the not too distant future, its world is refined and uninviting. Instead of clamouring for the latest and greatest smartphone, the inhabitants of the movie covet technology that shifts the makeup of their very being. Eyes are swapped for binoculars and fingers are multiplied. The crowning achievement of this techno evolution is Major. A cyborg with the mind of a human, who just happens to be the hero of this story.

Major is played by Scarlett Johannsen. A casting that has sparked controversy, since the role she's playing has always been a Japanese woman. For all the noise surrounding it though, nothing in 'Ghost In The Shell' really merits discussion. Johannsen plays a haunted soul, desperate to cling onto the humanity she has left in her cold unfeeling body. What comes through is her pain and anguish, but is delivered with as much engagement as a Kindergarten teacher at nap time.

Do bored audiences dream of entertaining sheep?
I was fighting sleep for a good chunk of 'Ghost In The Shell'. Time and time again the movie gave me situations to understand, but no characters to empathize with. Pity that the bland characterization, could not match the astounding visuals the movie offers. The world of 'Ghost In The Shell' is tonally bleak but aesthetically vibrant. In 1982, Blade Runner showed us the best depiction of a world transformed by technology, it's given a run for its money here. 

Except in the 'Ghost In The Shell' world, the billboard is a white woman's face.
There are interesting ideas within this movie. None of them original, but 'Ghost In The Shell' thankfully never sounds like it's trying to teach you something. It gives you a healthy offering of existential questions, but you're more than welcome to ignore its philosophy and just embrace the visuals. 

Because the movie is so bland and forgettable, I can't really recommend seeing it in the cinema. It's not bad enough for me to say you should miss it entirely, though. If you have a high-resolution television, catching 'Ghost In The Shell' on home video is actually a pretty good watch. Pop it on in the background when something more important has your full attention, with 'Ghost In The Shell' a mere pretty distraction.

Rating: Catch It On Cable