Yes, dear readers, I know all about the Ghost in the Shell manga and the Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie…I have grandchildren who are true manga disciples so I’m not even going to touch on the whole “whitewash” debate or if the GITS had been too Hollywood…I don’t care! I want to review what I truly enjoyed about the film even though it had been bashed with a fury resembling Negan’s swinging Lucille at the skulls of Abe and Glenn. Meet me after the jump.
Ghost in the Shell was directed by Rupert Sanders and is based on the Japanese manga by Masamune Shirow. It stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche. The action takes place in the future where humans are comfortable with enhancing or replacing body parts with cybernetic parts.
The film begins with us witnessing the creation of a new weapon by Hanka Robotics. Mira Killian’s brain is placed inside a cybernetic body after her human body was damaged. Mira (Scarlett Johansson) is awakened and learns to adjust to her new body by Dr. Quelet (Juliette Binoche). Over time, they become friends. Within a year Mira is made a Major in the anti-terrorist bureau called Section 9. The Major, as Mira is referred to, has a great team that works for her, but the one that she is closest to is Batou (Pilou Asbaek). I wasn’t sure if there was more than friendship between these two, but it is evident throughout the film that Batou will do anything to keep Major safe. The Major has been experiencing a series of hallucinations that make her question the story told to her on how her body was destroyed.
Things come to a head after the Major and her team successfully thwarts a terrorist attack on a Hanka business meeting by a rather nasty mechanical Geisha. After the Major attempts to track down the mysterious Kuze (Michael Pitt) by connecting herself to the brain of the mechanical Geisha, she and Batou head to a Yakuza nightclub and into a trap.
Poor Batou loses his sight but is given better eyes thanks to the science of cybernetics. The search begins in earnest to hunt down Kuze, but in doing so the Major learns the horrifying truth.
What if someone took your memories and gave you fake ones? Would there still be a part of your brain that would remember snippets of your former life? As someone who believes in reincarnation, I say that would be a resounding, YES.
Major was happy working for Chief Daisuke Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano), but those hallucinations were too strong to ignore and too dangerous. Cutter (Peter Ferdinando) the CEO of Hanka Robotics had a personal interest in keeping Major’s memories wiped out, but like the truth…memories have a way of pushing through the secrecy of lies and corruption. After coming in contact with Kuze, Major learns about her real past and her heartbreaking connection with the mysterious terrorist.
I enjoyed the fact that even though Major found her birth mother and regained all her memories; she still continued to work for Aramaki with her loyal team. There are enough action and fight scenes in this movie to keep you happy, but the best part of the film was the story. In between the action, we had the opportunity to connect with Major Mira Killian aka Motoko Kusanagi and feel what life would be like if body parts were easily replaced with machine. It’s not exactly the Borg or Ex Machina, but this manga tale mirrors the real science that will be part of our future.
Would the film have done better if the cast was all Asian actors and actresses? Maybe, or maybe not, and does it matter if Scarlett Johansson did the role so beautifully? Johansson has proven herself to be a great action hero, especially with her role as the Black Widow in the Avengers film franchise and as Lucy in the science fiction action film. Like I said in the beginning of my review, I’m not touching on this particular topic.
The real reason that I needed to watch this film was to identify with the creature that Motoko Kusanagi had become. I have a robot in my Roof Oasis Science Fiction Series, and she is evolving thanks to a mysterious radioactive rock made by a god and the fetal tissue she absconded with. She is going in the reverse direction of awareness than that of the Major.
Watching Ghost in the Shell was enjoyable enough for me to recommend it to my friends. Book 4 of my sci-fi series will be out this summer and you will have the opportunity to see how well or badly Patty is handling the human/ machine dilemma.