Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Rated R

Running Time: PG-13

Director: Rupert Sanders

Starring: Scarlett Johannson, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Peter Ferdinando

Plot: A woman’s brain is put into a sexy robot body. Why would anybody do that? Unclear…Science, I think. Who would do that? A big company. Or the government. Maybe both. That was also unclear. What is clear is that Sexy Mcsparkplug has a bad memory and good aim, and she is working with some sort of swat team to take down a terrorist before he kills her creators.

Review: There exists in this world, a genre of movie unlike any other. That is the genre of stylized, anime-inspired, dystopian sci-fi action blockbusters. What many people don’t know, is that, if executed just right, these films possess an almost uncanny ability to leave no trace of themselves in the memory of the beholder. Ghost in the Shell is one such movie. Its thrall over me was such that the instant the credits rolled it was all but forgotten. It’s like this movie cast a fucking confundus charm on me in an act of self-preservation.

Nothing about this movie came close to holding my attention. The anime (which I have not seen) supposedly influenced a lot of films, many of which I enjoy, which is probably why what little I remember of Ghost in the Shell seemed derivative and played out. Only after having viewed this film was I able to identify with the protagonist, because I now know what it’s like having my memory stripped from me.

Exactly two things in this movie have stuck with me. One is an acting choice made by Michael Pitt, who plays the terrorist mentioned in what is going to have to pass as my plot synopsis. The entire time he’s on screen he speaks with the exact same affectation as a Macintosh computer circa 1996. It’s a brilliant choice and one that I applaud. My only hope is that he uses that accent in every film he’s in. The second thing is that this movie has a giant spider robot, but Jon Peters had no involvement in it. I looked on IMDB so you wouldn’t have to.

There’s not much else for me to say about Ghost in the Shell. It caught some heat for casting ScarJo instead of an Asian actress, which is fair, but at least the studios won’t conflate the movie’s underperformance with non-white actors not being able to carry a lead, so there’s a silver lining in there.

For my money I would much rather watch Blade Runner, The Matrix, or even the Total Recall remake (I know and fuck off). If you ignore that their leads aren’t nipple-less, pouty-lipped, heroines they are actually much better than this. This I would liken more to Aeon Flux or UltraViolet, in part because all they left me with is a passing awareness that I have seen them.

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