Tyler K. Lopez
I will readily admit that anime is not really my thing. Not that I’m anti-anime but I’m just not that caught up on it. Unless Yu-Gi-Oh counts! Remember that? It’s on Netflix right now if you’d like to remember it better. It might be better than this movie. Oh yeah. This review is going to be rough. Let’s cut to the chase!
1- Writing: 4/10
Not off to a good start! The movie was based on the comic “Ghost in the Shell” by Masamune Shirow and adapted by Jamie Moss. You might remember Jamie Moss as the writer of the movie “Street Kings” back in 2008 and… that’s it. That’s all Jamie’s written so far and boy does it show. The dialogue is bad, the story is circuitous, and the dialogue is really bad.
2- Direction: 5/10
The movie is directed by Rupert Sanders, famed director of three short films and “Snow White and Huntsman”. Rupert hasn’t directed anything since one of his shorts back in 2013 and just like Jamie, it shows! The pacing is bad, the delivery is bland, and the plot lacks any actual life. It feels like a rambling story that your grandpa told you from 40 years ago when he went to the movies once and had to wait in line for a long, long time as the person in front of him couldn’t decide what they wanted to eat and finally the man ordered a medium popcorn and a soda pop and that’s when (wouldn’t you know it?) he didn’t have any money! That’s what this movie felt like but with a lot of flashing lights.
3- Cinematography: 7/10
It felt like there were moments that should have really hit home, but it was so over-produced that nothing really landed. It all looked pretty good, but nothing really stuck out all that much.
4- Acting: 6/10
This movie features all the contemporary stars you know and love: Scarlett Johannson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, and Chin Han. You get the point. Okay maybe that was a little mean-spirited, but what’s most disappointing is the best actor in the movie is probably Kaori Momoi and she didn’t have much to work with.
5- Editing: 6/10
Like I said the pace was awful. It starts at a half-way interesting pace and then you get just… stuff for at least a third of the movie. Just things over and over again that may or may not be relevant. A good third of the movie could have been cut. That’s rarely a good thing.
6- Sound: 7/10
So finally we’ll get into some parts that weren’t bad. Now there’s some sounds that make no sense and have no context and shouldn’t be in the movie. I did however love some of the sounds attributed to cyborg life and what that might be like. If cyborgs and robots don’t sound like a glitched mp3 you illegally downloaded in 2004 I’m going to be very disappointed.
7- Soundtrack/Score: 7/10
The music in this movie was created by Lorne Balfe who, if you read my reviews which everyone should do, was mentioned recently in my “Lego Batman” review! Lorne did great work in “Lego Batman” and did extraordinarily average work in this movie. The score neither helped nor hurt, but was more or less just a rug you throw in a room to add a little color. You know a red rug you throw on your beige carpet that no one actually acknowledges or appreciates because (as you know deep down) the rug really isn’t all that important. It’s just a rug and it doesn’t do enough to warrant comment. Sorry.
8- Production Design: 9/10
Finally! Something actually good about the movie! The movie did actually create an interesting world. Now, it’s sort of a dumb world and there are lots of issues with it. For instance: there’s 80 foot tall holographic advertisements, free-floating holographic Koi fish with no purpose, and cybernetic enhancements advanced enough to be built into human beings… but the cars all look like they came out of 1985 and might time travel if they drive fast enough. Still it’s an interesting world that’s created and if anything it’s a little too stimulating.
9- Casting: 7/10
I’m not going to avoid the white-washing accusations about Scarlett Johannson. I’m not. I just don’t think this movie is good enough for it to really matter.
10- Effects: 8/10
Just like the cool world, there’s some really interesting graphics in the movie. You’ve seen half of them in the trailers and tv spots, but without spoiling it there’s some fascinating robots in this one. There’s a distinct West World vibe about the robotics, but who doesn’t love West World? There’s some spots where the CGi is rough which is always a negative in a movie with this much green screen, but for the most part the visuals were really good. I will however say there’s a seizure-inducing electrocution scene. I know that’s slightly spoiler-y, but I wish someone had warned me before I started getting vertigo.
Overall Score: 6.6/10
So yeah… I love you ScarJo, but I don’t love this movie. The movie feels like a remake of a movie you’ve seen before with a cooler backdrop. The acting is boring, the plot is arduous, and about half-way through the movie you’re going to be wondering what show you could be catching up on Netflix or Hulu but probably Netflix. The visuals are awesome at times, but if that’s what you’re looking for, go get the old anime movies this movie is based on! You’ll see the same things and spend probably 30 less dollars. I’d love to keep giving you more, but to be honest this movie left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s best bet is to try to crossover into the Matrix or West World or something interesting. In conclusion, save your money folks. And if you want anime go check out one of the 20 some-odd choices you can find on Netflix. If you want ScarJo there’s probably another one of her movies coming out next week.