Cine Reviews: ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017)

Hit anime features translated into live-action films are uncommon, and is something that fans of the medium yearn for. Rupert Sanders’ envisioning of Ghost in the Shell might make anime geeks applause in fulfillment just as film enthusiasts wanting for a beautiful combo of entertainment and intellect are left with nothing much to talk about. Ghost in the Shell is indeed, great cinematic material to be remade in live-action. However, this movie isn’t. It might have you going “wow” at some points, but the only thing is, it will occur for all the wrong reasons such as thinking that maybe, you should’ve chosen to watch a better-written robots vs human picture instead of this shiny product of mediocrity, say, the original.


The concept of it should have us questioning incredible notions about technology, yet here, it isn’t handed out in a way that sees us not giving a care about anything. Every aspect has a hard time matching up; barely complementing one another, from the beautiful visuals to the storyline that has a potential significance to ring. Unsurprisingly though, when you have a director who seems to be so dazzled by the splendor of its source material, and not by its intellect, you’ll keep yawning, and dozing off afterwards as you get subjected to car chases, gun-fights, and body-wrestling that look off and empty. Had it not fallen in his good “graces”, then we could’ve gotten a seriously cool, stunning, and captivating sci-fi pic ala The Matrix and/or its desired image, Blade Runner in its forsaken dreams.


Resurging from the forgotten grounds of the cyberpunk genre, this adaptation is a quickly erasable fragment in our memory as it hides its ghost in a shell that is rendered impenetrable for the material’s supposed richness to attack. Beats of a cyber-thriller that should’ve cranked up are faint, but nevertheless fits in with the thematic drama – although it never welds effectively with the presence of static characters that locks up the unmet souls of their ideal depictions. To admit of its little merits, the striking tech-riddled metropolis that director Rupert Sanders constructs, and the sleek action pieces occurring in that Blade Runner-esque metropolis, is a perceptible splendor effectively brandished in vibrancy.


One of the very few things that it also gets right is Scarlett Johansson’s casting as The Major though her utilization is a blunder that hugely adds up to the film’s many, glaring flaws. All of the body-slamming that she executes may be efficient to the entertainment factor, yet, Johansson fails to identify her characters’s depth as she projects a robotic persona desiring to have a humanity. Her immobile face just conceives very little effectual drama lasting only for a while, and is then gone when the narrative pivots around confusing sub-stories glued to a web of randomness.


Hiring “visionary filmmaker” Rupert Sanders is a huge mistake disguised as a blessing; covered in a sheen that momentarily attracts but swiftly retracts from immersing us completely. With his liking of spectacular, gorgeous artificial photography, he uncontrollably goes all out when dazzling with glossed-out visuals that look great in 3D. While there is no doubt in saying that he is truly good at what he does, his delivery of substance falls over a well of synthetics that could only be as real as the CGI that is showcased. It’s directionless, and that inevitably forms a lustrous mess even if it tries to provocatively blabber on about how technology defeats humanity’s genuine virtues – no matter how important it may seem to the plot.


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  • Ghost in the Shell is now showing in Philippine cinemas from United International Pictures. See it in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D. Rated PG by the MTRCB.



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