Anime-to-film adaptations, at least in American productions have been rough in the past to say the least. Some range on terrible like Dragon Ball Evolution (2009) to “worst of all time” like The Last Airbender (2010). Ghost in the Shell (2017) rises above all the failed adaptations of other anime (except Speed Racer obviously) and manages to still be quite bad.
Ghost in the Shell, a live action remake of the 1995 animated movie takes most of the philosophy of the source material and instead spoon-feeds it the audience, telling them how to react to what is happening rather than having the choice be up to them. It is padded with forgettable additions to the story that does not add anything but instead increases the run-time. Answering questions that did not even need answers to in the first place.
But, even if all the source-material is put aside and the film is just analyzed by itself, it’s just a science fiction film with little to say and with some PG-13 action scenes thrown into the mix. Scarlett Johansson tries to play an actress trying to act like a robot and could easily be replaced with anyone else, the special effects range from good to laughably bad, and I couldn’t tell you a single thing about the score. So, even when what it was adapted from is taken into account, it still kinda sucks. The one redeemable thing in this whole film (other than the design of Tokyo) is the fight scenes and even those are ruined by the terrible use of slo-mo as if we are watching a Bollywood action film. Tokyo in Ghost in the Shell is reminiscent of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence‘s (2001) Rouge City and is a quite amazing thing to look at. In every frame the city is shown there is always thousands of things going on and it is especially vibrant in color.
Please, whatever you do, do not see this movie. It is a waste of time and money and will only encourage studios like Paramount to make more movies like these, watered down not only in violence but thematically as well. A much better experience would be to watch the original film or if you want to watch something live-action, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) would suffice, a movie that shows its audience instead of telling.