On the surface Ghost In The Shell may appear to be original, striking and visionary but underneath the film is devoid of anything of interest.
When Mamoru Oshii’s anime film Ghost In The Shell was released in 1995 it immediately became a worldwide hit and so it was inevitable that Hollywood would produce a remake.
Rather belatedly, 22 years on, that remake has arrived in the form of a big-budget live-action blockbuster that of course stars Scarlett Johansson in the lead role of Major.
Based on the popular manga series the film follows Major, who is the first of her kind being a human brain placed into a cybernetic body.
A cyborg secret agent, Major devotes her life to combating the world’s most dangerous terrorists but her latest case is more unusual than normal.
Considering how interesting the plot seems on paper, the film is awfully dull, lacklustre and rather easily forgettable.
The original manga comic and anime film tackled intriguing themes such as identity, technology and most significantly the relationship between the human and the machine.
It is rather baffling then that director Rupert Sanders’ remake does not even attempt to make any intelligent comments on these rather vital themes, although this doesn’t stop the film strutting around with an irritating sense of self-importance.
Ghost In The Shell may think it is clever but ultimately it is a poor action film at best with a boringly simplistic plot.
Whilst the 1995 anime will be remembered for its revolutionary and visionary nature, this rather crap remake will be long buried before the year is out.
To give the film some credit it is visually striking with gorgeous set and costume designs that are futuristic with a fun cyberpunk edginess.
It looks great on the big screen and although the CGI is a tad clumsy at times, overall the action and battle scenes are well choreographed and absorbing.
As you can probably tell Ghost In The Shell suffers from a rather severe case of style of substance as Sanders clearly prefers spending his time gawking at Major’s cybernetic shell rather than make any much needed philosophical statements.
Even the usually fantastic Scarlett Johansson fails to deliver a decent performance alongside a rather flat supporting cast.
It is a shame really that this remake is tedious as the ideas behind the original Ghost In The Shell are actually rather thought-provoking.
However, rather than stimulate your brain Sanders’ adaptation is likely to send you to sleep instead.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.