Brian Taylor and Peter Howe
For The Morning Star
Major (Scarlett Johansson) is a cyborg officer of Section 9, a special policing force tasked with bringing hackers and other criminals to justice. Her latest target carries a secret about the fabrication of cyborgs and their previous human pasts, including that of Major. When she discovers the truth of her past, Major will have to investigate not only criminals on the street but her bosses in their high rises.
We say, “Ghost in the Shellis about as effective as Johansson is Japanese.”
TAYLOR: I didn’t know anything about Ghost in the Shell other than it was Japanese anime. So going in knowing nothing, I was looking forward to my girlfriend Scarlett kicking butt in a suit like a second skin. This achievement is clearly unlocked in the film, but other than aesthetics, I’ve already seen plenty of films about people (and or robots) with amnesiac tendencies taken advantage of.
HOWE: Hollywood, give us a break from the rehashed, rebooted, remade trash that we have seen over and over again. Please, for the love of movies, stop. Yes it looks beautiful, with its computer generated Japanese skyline and Johansson looking ultra-fit in her second skin, but that’s about as far as it goes. I still can’t figure out why film companies think that putting a big named star in a role that is clearly meant to be played by a different ethnicity would pull in extra bucks. For example, look at Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which is one of my all-time favorite films, yet there are no household names.
TAYLOR: I read that they were going to CGI her face to look more Japanese but decided to just use a lot of eye makeup. I think the film would have been better received with some unknown Japanese actress playing Major, but I’m not a Hollywood producer scared of spending money for no returns. To be fair, Major wasn’t always Major, perhaps she is a Japanese ghost in Scarlett Johansson’s shell. I don’t think it matters as much as movie reviewers let on. They just need something to talk about while reviewing a Blade Runner knockoff made twenty years too late. Just another day at the movies.
HOWE: I feel this will just pass me by and sink into the back of my memory bank, and I will feel like I have never seen it. It’s very disappointing.
Taylor gives Ghost in the Shell 2.5 Apple voices out of 5
Howe gives it 1.5 skin suits out of 5