Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Review

So one thing I’ve been interested in doing was watching and both an original and a remake for the first time back to back and with at the controversy surrounding this film and my interest in seeing the original this seemed like a good place to start.

It’s ok I guess but there are a lot of problems. It’s better than it could have been but not enough to be a good movie. There are elements of the film that are good but the things that really stand out are its flaws and if you want to avoid spoilers this probably isn’t the review for you as it’s hard to discuss this film without addressing these flaws.

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Of course the big topic concerning this movie is that of white washing. People are boycotting the movie because of it while others are coming up with elaborate excuses for why they feel the casting makes sense (when really the only one needed is that Hollywood wouldn’t be able to sell the film without a big name actress and most of them are white). But the reason I included that spoiler warning is because it’s actually a plot point and while that could have made for an interesting narrative that highlights the issues of white washing through it literally happening to a person it really feels like they just did it so the Major could still be called Motoko Kusanagi while looking like Scarlett Johansson.

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And that missed opportunity leads me to the plot. It’s lacking in the intellectual discussion that was the entire appeal of the original. Normally a different approach to a franchise is a good thing but the problem is this film doesn’t really have its own story to tell, it’s the story of Robocop. It’s not a bad take on that story, it’s just that the film sets up so many interesting topics that it doesn’t stop to discuss because it’s busy being more of an action movie.

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Something I did like about the movie was the visuals. The city is very well designed and there are some great scenes that are recreations of scenes from the original (and from I’m aware some of scenes from later films and episodes in the series). These are also the elements of the film that feel the most like Ghost in the Shell. The cast were fine but no real stand out performances.

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Overall the film is underwhelming. There are things that work and things that don’t and unfortunately neither really are enough to give me a clear opinion of the movie. The negatives are more interesting to discuss but they don’t make the movie terrible. The positives are neat but honestly you’d get the same enjoyment from them just watching clips on YouTube. I’d say if you have any interest in this movie and don’t own an Odeon Limitless card (or a similar membership to another cinema) just wait for it to air on TV or stream on Netflix.

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