REVIEW – GHOST IN THE SHELL – The Black Widow is turned into an occasionally invisible robot, but does the classic Manga get Lost in Translation?
Rupert Sanders’ adaptation of Ghost in the Shell has a difficult task to pull off. The 1995 anime version of Masamune Shirow manga series was an iconic masterpiece. Scarlett Johansson’s casting didn’t help matters, seen by the Asian acting community as yet another peach of a role going to a white actor. Although in this case it’s probably more excusable than Tilda Swinton’s turn in Doctor Strange. Okay. All that to one side, what’s the film like?
I liked it. Visually Sanders takes many cues from the Anime and it looks beautiful. Johansson channels her inner alien and pulls off a companion role to Under the Skin – which would make a great double bill. The city is a mish mash of downtown Tokyo and backstreet Third World. Kitano Beat Takeshi has a great role in it as well. I could watch him just eating his breakfast, but I prefer watching him offing people. In the end, Ghost in the Shell never reaches the escape velocity to get out of the gravity of its own source material nor do I think it will succeed in setting up a franchise. However, it’s stylish and witty sci-fi, and that’s good enough for me.