There is no Ghost in the empty Shell of the movie called Ghost in the Shell. A slow sad string of absolutely soulless scenes strung together almost absentmindedly by a director that was following the rule book of how to assemble a robot to mimic a classic Manga movie only all the parts just didn’t seem to make it into the box when it arrived on the western shores of America.
Despite what should be seen as a tour de force of CGI and near awe inspiring nude allure of ScarJo’s simulated naked body. There isn’t a shred of humanity to spark even a nano second of stimulation. Ghost dulls the senses to near blindness and a feeble weak willed sound track grinds the gears of Ghost’s broken hardware to near dead stop.
If Rupert Sanders, the director’s motive was to mimic an empty world bereft of feeling and excitement, to threaten us with a taste of what a true mechanized life would feel like, trapped within a cold, sterile, lifeless shell then Ghost is an absolute success.
“Why can’t I feel my body” The skin smoothed ScarJo asks. The audience blankly nods in agreement. Why can’t we feel anything from this film. Millions of dollars propping up the gospel of technology falls to the theater floor like 2 quarters. Lavish CGI sets of cities and holograms are plastic sheets of boredom, pinned up to support nothing. A pop up book has more depth and meaning than the imagery in Ghost.
The Major desperate for some kind of human connection visits a call girl asking “Are you human?” Even ScarJo is hunting for meaning, and the sterile sexless touching between them has all the tension of silly putty.
ScarJo leans into her role as Major like a broken doll. Her gant is stilted and inelegant like a disabled veteran despite her being the perfection of robotic technology. Either Majors brain or ScarJo herself are very uncomfortable in their bodies. If it was a character choice to riddle the physical aspect of the role with contradictions of skilled fighting vs awkward bad boy stomping stride, it serves more as a distraction than a thought provoking character trait.
There are just too many inconsistencies in ScarJo’s portrayal to create a believable character. Major isn’t comfy in her robot body but can scale walls and fight as fluid as running water, only to lean out of balance when having a conversation. Perhaps it reflects the endless cold, disconnection ScarJo has since she can’t feel anything but the desire to work the room with bullets.
Scarjo’s Major is never really fleshed out. The usual B story with deleted memories to create a corporate killing machine. No history means no humanity and Major plays the quiet puppet. Too quiet and her monotone delivery fails to excite or create tension. Not once does she rage against the machine. No once does humanity peek out from her shell. Blank stares and confusion hardly register as a worthwhile emotion when you have been ripped from your body had your mind wiped and shoved into broken sex doll with a urge to slaughter.
The supporting cast is milder than miso soup on a rainy day. I will just skip their names to protect decent actors just trying to make a buck. The predicatable Yakuza robots, cyborgs and neural networks are stagnate silly ideas and the blasted clean Bladerunner sidewalks are hardly innovative or shocking in the modern age where its all been done but better.
So Major retrieves her memories and finds her mommy, yawn… then sets out to fight the Corporations that hurt her and her teenage boyfriend. And it all culminates in a firefight with a spider tank, yawn… controlled by a Corp head bad guy who seems like he should have been a Ghost in a Shell also but turned out to be just another wiener fighting for uhm his deep convictions to uhm, defend his corporate values, whatever the hell they are. Yawn…
So lost teenage love reunites and fake semi naked ScarJo, yawn.. rips up her squat little bod trying to yank a spider tank open. Then the Corp baddie gets shot up by another Corp goodie or baddie, I mean who really cares at this point. We really have no idea who any of these people are or why there are doing anything. When I am sure there must be a futuristic hot dog stand somewhere that needs a few new customers and everything can be settled over a few Asaki beers.
Nothing can resuscitate this Valium rendition of the original Anime. Not even ScarJo’s stout, shapely, seemingly nude parade can titivate any interest. Her fleshy camouflage suit is as placid and pale as the entire film. Someone should have pumped some blood into this project before throwing its carcass over the hot coals of an audience.
In an age when we have seen all these ideas wrapped in the same plastic yesterdays fish arrived in. Movie studios are going to have to push themselves to innovate and add depth of characters and less pixel depth to the script or they are going to lose a lot of money.
Critically, White Washing had nothing to do with the failure of this movie. Those that push that agenda love to listen to their own self righteous voices foam at the mouth to elevate themselves and soak in the filthy bathwater of their putrid egos. Riding a black horse painted white to puddle through to rescue Asians who couldn’t care less if a white woman played a character they themselves draw with round eyes and white wash themselves in countless Manga.
This is a Hollywood attempt to create a tentpole film to make a lot of money and that demands an actress with some history of box office draw. Sadly as much as any person should enjoy ScarJo distracting fake nude shots, she utterly failed to bring even a moment of humanity to her role and there were times I thought her airbrushed face was an actual robot without a human brain inside.
This recut trailer does look kinda cool though, and I’m sure a lot of people were hoping for more.