Movie Review – Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Naked ScarJo!  Naked ScarJo!  Naked ScarJo!

Now that I have your attention, BQB here with a review of the sci-fi film, Ghost in the Shell.

OK.  I fibbed.  Scarlett Johansson isn’t naked in this movie.  Here’s how I assume the conversation went down at the studio:

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – Can we make a movie where Scarlett Johansson runs around naked for half the entire film?

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #2 – Yes, but it would be classified as a porn.

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – Hmm.  OK.  What if Scarlett Johansson is a robot and runs around in a flesh colored body suit?  She wouldn’t technically be naked because as a robot, she wouldn’t have nipples, or a butt crack or a cooter?

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – PG-13 – Bring the teenagers!

Ahh, so much controversy and hype over this long awaited film.

Allow me to answer your questions…or my questions…since no one is asking questions.

QUESTION #1 – What the hell is this movie about?

Excellent question, me.  This film is based on a popular Japanese franchise (gotta be honest, I’m not hip enough to be able to tell you for sure if it was a comic book, anime cartoon, or both, though I’m leaning to comic book).

ScarJo stars as Major, a Japanese government agent with a synthetic body controlled by a human brain.  She is the result of an experiment by the Hanko Corporation, an effort to put a brain into a robot and represents a hope that the technology that made her will eventually keep all humans from dying – i.e. their brains can just be put into robots when their bodies wear out.  If her brain is a “ghost” or remnant of a human, and the body is a “shell,” then she is the…wait for it…ghost in the shell.

There’s a villain taking out the scientists who made her.  She must investigate with the help of her trusty sidekick Batou (Pilou Asbaek), a muscle bound, bleach blonde weirdo.

Question #2 – Was it a dick move to cast ScarJo, a honky, in the lead role in a film that takes place in Japan, especially when in the original, the character is Japanese?

Yes and no.  I can see both sides.  By the way, I can say “honky” because I am one.  That’s OUR word!

THE ARGUMENT FOR YES – There are so few lead roles for Asian actors/actresses as it is.  A few years back, an Asian actress would have loved to play the female lead in Aloha, but instead, for reasons yet to be explained, Emma Stone was cast as a Hawaiian.  Earlier this year, Matt Damon saved the Great Wall of China.  And now, ScarJo, who is pretty much the female lead in like, everything, is cast in a part that would have made an Asian actress’ career.

Plus, although the film takes place in Japan, there are honkies, honkies everywhere!  It’s a veritable honky fest.  Though there are a number of Asians in the film, there’s only one who has any considerable amount of screen time.  That’s Takeshi Kitano, by the way, who plays the gruff and grizzled Aramaki, the leader of Major’s unit.

So while I could understand the argument of, “Hey, the studio is dumping a shit ton of dough into this movie so they want a lead actress with a proven track record of putting butts in seats,” I don’t understand why more of the supporting cast couldn’t have been Asian.

THE ARGUMENT FOR NO – I believe, in a subtle, understated way, the film does provide an explanation as to why the lead character is a honky.  There’s even an explanation as to why there are so many honkies running around Japan.  I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, so maybe I can get into this after the movie’s been out for awhile.

QUESTION #3 – Is the movie any good?

Also, yes and no.

THE ARGUMENT FOR YES – Its colorful.  The special effects are amazing.  The fight scenes are dazzling.  It raises a lot of interesting questions about the future of humanity.

THE ARGUMENT FOR NO – There were a lot of times where the film feels like a discount version of Blade Runner.  All of the giant holographic billboards are a dead giveaway.  Also, the plot is confusing.  There are some parts where the film drags and others where it moves quicker than I would have liked it to.  I was left puzzled by a lot of things, yet not caring enough to expend the brain cells necessary to sort it all out.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  I liked it, though the only reason why I would watch it again is to see a technically naked ScarJo.  Maybe in the sequel, they can give her nipples, a butt crack, and a cooter.

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