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Ghost in the Shell (2017) Movie Review

Updated on March 30, 2017
Alec Zander profile image

Alec is an up-and-coming film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

Okay, anime fans, admit it, American filmmakers have had a lot of trouble adapting anime into American films, am I right? Should I even mention Dragonball: Evolution or did your minds go straight to that too? Well, fear not all you fans of the Ghost in the Shell anime! America finally got an adaptation right. It only took them a decade or so to do it but hey better late than never.

Now, a lot of people were worried about Scarlett Johansson's casting as Major. Is this American "whitewashing" all over again? No it isn't. As the movie explains, Major's brain was implanted into a robotic body. Her brain is Japanese but her body is just a body. It makes no difference what "nationality" it appears to be. In the future, around year 2029, when the world is becoming more and more cybernetic and robotic, nationality is nothing more than a label. So anyone that tells you that the movie is whitewashing obviously doesn't understand the film nor ever seen the anime.

Now, moving on to the film itself. The film takes plot elements from both the 1995 film and season one of the TV series Stand Alone Complex. They use both the philosophical questioning of whether or not placing human brains in machines is ethical and moral and also the Major trying to figure out who exactly she was before becoming 98% machine. There are so many scenes that are pulled straight from the movie that are almost frame for frame identical that it made me feel like I was watching the actual anime at times. This film also explains things for newcomers who may not know anything about Ghost in the Shell or maybe didn't understand the original film. Either way, I appreciated the level of commitment and work the filmmakers, writers, actors, and designers all put into this film. The effects, set design, cinematography, score...all of it was superior to not only previous anime adaptations but also most sci-fi flicks out there today. It kept you hooked on both the story and the characters and that's a rare thing in that genre.

Overall, I give the film a 4 out of 4 and I highly recommend seeing it for yourself rather than listening to all the critics bashing it. See this film, see the anime, and form your own opinion. Your voice matters. Thanks for reading!

© 2017 Alec Zander

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