The most ambitious visual treat of 2017 so far.
As you will have seen from our recent feature on Scarlett Johansson, the esteemed actress has seen her fair share of success in the sci-fi genre, and she continues just that with this year’s Ghost In The Shell, a re-telling of the 1995 anime of the same name. At the time of its announcement – especially the hiring of Johansson in the lead role – the new age Ghost saw its fair share of criticism, but look beyond the initial questionable ignorance of native casting and here is a blockbuster that ticks plenty of boxes for an entertaining and enthralling experience.
In a near future where the combination of the human form and robotics mean that the world itself is set to change forever, Hanka Robotics have used Mira (Scarlett Johansson) to create a one-of-a-kind individual whose brain has been combined with a robotic form to forge an esteemed agent for their missions. Achieving rank of Major, Mira soon becomes a most valuable asset as she partners with Batou (Pilou Asbaek) for the company to take down terrorist organisations.
When on a routine mission, Mira comes across a dark individual (Michael Carmen Pitt) who plants seeds of doubt in the company she works with and those individuals responsible for her status. Could there be something much more in her past than she ever could have imagined, and is the company she works for truly on her side?
Having never witnessed the original version of Ghost In The Shell, this particular reviewer went into the film with truly fresh thinking and came out ultimately surprised and pleased. While there are clear comparisons to sci-fi properties of the past – Blade Runner an obvious one – Ghost In The Shell proves to be a refreshing and exciting blockbuster that sets the bar as the most visually stunning film of the year so far.
And that’s where the film clearly excels and is immediately striking – in its incredible visual aesthetic. A property that has such an ambitious and distinct appearance demands a truly unbelievable transfer to the realms of live-action and Ghost In The Shell nails the landscapes, costumes and so much more. On the surface it looks very much the world in which Ridley Scott envisioned in Blade Runner but once the layers are peeled back it appears as something much different. The opening sequence itself is awe-inspiring, with Major’s transformation a truly gasp-inducing flurry of CGI splendour, and it doesn’t let up from there. Every firefight, hack and beyond proves to be the perfect antidote for yet more visual beauty and this lays the foundation for an engaging story that, despite feeling rather familiar, still manages to engage throughout.
In her leading lady role, Scarlett Johansson fits the role of Major like a glove, channeling the badass nature of so many of her characters and adding that much required humanity to an individual whose own human edge has been taken from her and replaced. We’re with Major through the entirety of the film and her emotional state is conveyed brilliantly by Johansson, clearly keen to show that she us still capable of carrying a big blockbuster actioner with the utmost of ease.
Ghost In The Shell is exceptionally stunning throughout and proves that the action blockbuster can still be refreshing and engaging with a combination of ingredients that tick all the right boxes.
Ghost In The Shell is available on Digital Download now.