HOLLYWOOD—I tried people, I really tried to go into the theater with an open mind to the sci-fi action flick “Ghost in the Shell,” but whew, this might be one of the worst flicks I’ve seen this year. I think it suffers from the fatigue of too many cooks in the writer’s room. I have NO IDEA what the hell was transpiring in this flick from the opening act, to the final moments.
This movie is an examination of artificial intelligence that shines a spotlight on humans who have been mechanized to become robotic fighting machines by utilizing a human brain in the process. Scarlett Johansson stars as Mira Killian, the sole survivor of a cyberterrorist attack that killed her parents. She was on the verge of death also, but Hanka Robotics utilized Killian’s body in a secret project to utilize her as a weapon.
As the new anti-terrorist organization continues to halt terrorist attacks, fragments of her past come into play. Think of it like a slice of the movie “Memento” starring Guy Pearce, but without the clever writing and magnificent twist at the end of the movie. Johansson, who I feel is a terrific actress who has proven her caliber in some of the biggest action flicks, is underwhelming here and comes across like a dear in headlights.
She was the primary reason I was a fan of the first “Avengers” movie, and she was quite simply fantastic in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” alongside Chris Evans. Here the character just seems devoid of human emotion, and it’s quite frankly difficult to connect with the character, or any of the characters in this movie for that case. Not certain if that is what the filmmaker aimed for, but now that I think about it maybe that was the case.
As a spectator this feels like one of those movies, where the writers, director and producers just hoped everything would come along and work perfectly without actually considering what the hell was going on? I had no clue what narrative I was following, and questioned if a narrative actually existed. Yes, you can make a movie without a narrative, but it’s extremely rare in Hollywood terms: the audience comes to expect it.
Another issue was the lighting, the movie seemed cloaked in a dark cloud and it frankly made it difficult to fragmentize what was taking place a vast majority of the time, especially those scenes where nighttime emerged. A similar film utilized this fate, “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” and as many of you already know, that flick was a complete mess.
“Ghost in the Shell” does indeed excel in the world of visual effects and make-up, but those perks alone can’t save this flick. This movie lacks promise, clear direction, a plausible narrative and wastes the talents of actresses Scarlett Johansson and Juliette Binoche. For those Japanese magna fans hoping this film adaptation would savor their tastes of all things they have come to love about this series, disappointment is likely to transpire.