When I first heard about this film being made I had doubts about it. I really did especially with movies that were based off of animes before turned out horrible; but I also have a rule that I don’t judge a movie until I see it first. And after seeing this film I will say it is different from the anime film but its a good different. And yes I have watched the anime movies part 1 and 2 at least one time but I do remember most of what happened in the anime movie but with this live action film, it seemed to help people make sense of the idea that the anime movie was trying to get around. Maybe I need to rewatch the anime movie again, but anyway lets get to the review.
So the film is based off of the manga titled ‘Ghost In The Shell by Musamune Shirow’ the film pretty much explains with words about how the world has changed with now people having the option of being able to have cybernetic implants, saving many lives in the process. But one day humans will be able to implant their own brains into cybernetic bodies to make a new breed of humans or weapons. After that introduction the scene then reveals Major’s (Scarlett Johansen) body being made from exoskeleton to muscles to giving the cybernetic body the skin color to implanting the brain into the cybernetic body. When Major first wakes up its hard for her to breathe but Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche) helps Major with getting used to the body only to have Major sent to Section 9 by orders of Cutter (Peter Ferdinando).
I have to admit when the film first started out it kept my attention, it kept my attention throughout the whole film actually. Scarlett Johansen did a fantastic job as Major, especially those action scenes like the pole scene in the Yakuza strip club where she took down all those gun men while handcuffed to a stripper pole I mean come on thats pure badass right there. Although I will say when I watched the anime movie I truly hated the character Cutter, and with this live action film I still hated that character he was so full of himself in both versions of the film and was literally a huge douchebag. But I was also very impressed with Pilou Asbaek’s performance as Batou, he made him more I want to say likable to possibly become a new fan favorite. I mean I know for some people he was already a fan favorite but I think Major is a lot of people if not everyone’s top fan favorite. I mean shes not just an artificial intelligence nor a cyborg, shes literally something of a hybrid level I guess you can say in simpler terms.
Another thing I truly loved about the live action film, they make the villain Kuze (Micheal Pitt) more of a victim or at least thats how Micheal Pitt plays Kuze as and I can’t remember if Kuze was portrayed the same way in the anime movie. I know I’m comparing a whole lot already through the review of the anime movie and the live action movie but I feel like someone is going to want at least somewhat of a comparison to know wither they should or shouldn’t see the film. But in my opinion I feel like everyone should give this live action film a chance because it was really decent.
I loved the 3D modeled renders of the futuristic city and with me being a fellow animator I had to appreciate the visual effects and animations done in the film. It was all fantastic; the cinematography especially was mesmerizing. I loved especially cinematography done to capture the parts when Major jumps off the building to intercept the Geisha (Jacqueline Geurts) from downloading the brain of a Hanka industries business man. Which those Geisha’s were freaky, I mean sure Kuze was controlling the Geisha’s and rewired the Geisha’s to do their bidding by illegal hacking the brains of everyone who was involved with a project done at the Hanka industries building years ago which created Kuze, a project called 2501.
As for the cinematography, another scene I truly loved was when Major (Scarlett Johansen) was swimming in the ocean waters just outside of the city and they show the jellyfish swimming over Major as she swims close to the bottom of the ocean. When it came to this scene, I found it very artistically done because it had kind of a Gothic vibe to the whole scene and I love it when they bring something that can be seen as beauty and Gothic at the same time and thats what this scene does. When you see the film you will understand what I mean!
Another thing that brought the film to the same vibe as the anime movie was the music in the film composed by both Clint Mansell and Lorne Balfe. The music was so well done and with being a fan of Clint Mansell’s music I was hoping for there to be pieces of the music that I would either be able to point out as being his piece or a shared piece with Lorne Balfe. But with me not being able to point out anything of being Clint Mansell’s piece it just shows how good of a composer he truly is by changing his style up so all fans can not notice that his work is apart of the film.
Over all I do see a lot of similarities from the anime movie to the live action film, even though a lot of people after watching the film were disappointed, I wasn’t. I was very impressed with the whole film. And for those who think this is just a “white washed american version of a classic anime” you all are wrong; they explain throughout the film how it all works and I don’t count this as “white wash” at all because when you have a valid explanation that explains how the choice of an actress works for a film then all points you think you have are no longer there in my point of view.
With this film I would have to rate it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars for decent acting, fantastic artistic approaches, and phenomenal cinematography.
Ghost In The Shell is now out in theaters, enjoy the film!