Much ado has been made of the whitewashing in the live action remake of Ghost In The Shell; that alone will probably keep many from bothering to give the film their business.
But we were curious — was all the controversy even worth it? We mean, is the movie any good at all anyway??
Well, the answer to that is apparently almost. In perusing what the critics are saying, the resounding opinion is that the filmmakers have created a gorgeous, technically immaculate recreation of a cartoon that seemed impossible to adapt to live action.
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Unfortunately, some of the darkness of the original was lost along the way — ironically keeping any of the reviews from being too glowing.
The consensus regarding star/controversy fulcrum Scarlett Johansson is that she's very good in the role… but was better in her other, more challenging not-quite-human roles in Her and Under The Skin (both of which you should totally see!).
Will what the critics have to say sway you? Ch-ch-check out our review roundup (below) to find out!
Jordan Mintzer, THR: "…the real issue in Ghost in the Shell may have less to do with whitewashing than with brainwashing, as it often feels like the screenwriters (Jamie Moss, William Wheeler and Ehren Kruger) chose to jettison the more thought-provoking, cryptic aspects of their source material in favor of a streamlined actioner that jumps from one fight to another without much contemplation."
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "It has been standardised and westernised with hardly any actual Japanese characters left in it, and effectively reimagined as a superhero origin myth, with tropes derived from the existing templates laid down by Metropolis, Robocop, Blade Runner and Total Recall."
Guy Lodge, Variety: "Spectacularly honoring the spirit and aesthetic of Mamoru Oshii's beloved animated adaptations without resorting wholly to slavish cosplay, this is smart, hard-lacquered entertainment that may just trump the original films for galloping storytelling momentum and sheer, coruscating visual excitement — even if a measure of their eerie, melancholic spirit hasn't quite carried over to the immaculate new carapace."
Mike McCahill, indieWire: "In 2013's unsettling Under the Skin, [Johansson] was directed into signaling a hybrid's dawning consciousness (and conscience); here, she's limited to looking puzzled while convoluted plot elements stream around her."
Dan Jolin, Empire: "So heavily derivative it doesn't feel like anything new, and there's little depth beneath that slick surface. But it's solid and attractive, at least, with a retro appeal to its cyberpunk stylings."
Rosie Fletcher, Digital Spy: "To watch in 3D (and especially IMAX, if you can) is to be entirely immersed in an incredible alien landscape. So much so that the plot, such that it is, rattles like an annoying tour guide in the background when you're trying to enjoy the view."
Ben Croll, The Wrap: "Ghost in the Shell makes the most sense if you look at it as a cosplay movie, one that forgoes trying anything new and instead wows you with the assured and accomplished manner with which it recreates in live-action what had only existed in animated cels. Which it really does."
Nick Levine, NME: "It's another entertaining but slightly frustrating origin story with one eye on creating a franchise. There's substance here, but it doesn't match the film's glorious style."
Will YOU see Ghost In The Shell??
[Image via Paramount Pictures.]
Tags: film flickers, ghost in the shell, review roundup, scarlett johansson