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A Disappointing Endeavor: Ghost in the Shell   

By: Avani Bonthu

The movie Ghost in the Shell (2017) opened with a moderate gross and mixed reviews in theaters on March 31, 2017 with a “Rotten” rating of 45% on Rotten Tomatoes. It stands as a live action, big budget adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson as the protagonist Motoko Kusanagi, of the widely hailed and critically commended cult hit Ghost in the Shell (1995), a Japanese animated adaptation of a manga of the same name. This movie had a lot of potential that was wasted due to its insistence of downplaying significant themes and motifs of the previous installments. In doing so, the movie was incompetently made as it resembles every other tedious sci-fi films that Hollywood had produced in recent years.

This movie appears to be a significantly watered down and oversimplified adaptation completely missing the mark on any of the extensive and clever philosophical themes present in the previous movies and TV shows. Instead, it opts to focus on the more frequently done and conventionally accepted plot elements in other hollywood science fiction movies: frequent, bombastic action sequences and the common theme of revenge to cater to the a mass and conventional audience. What’s more, this had an infinite amount of potential to be a really great cinematic endeavor that could stand with some other movied widely hailed as extraordinary in our movie industry, but chooses to follow the much more underwhelming route and consequently, leaving the franchise’s devoted audience in the dust.

The big budget allows for grand and sweeping backgrounds of looming cyberpunk cities presented throughout the film and the overall production proves to a captivating element of the film and Johansson’s previous pedigree of either popular or critically acclaimed movies including Her (2013), Lost in Translation (2003). Some movies in the Marvel Cinematic universe clearly illustrate her talented capabilities and it is put to good use in this film as a struggling cyborg; despite this, the film ends up as a bland adaptation with mostly uninspired directing. This movie’s inability to capture me as the audience doesn’t really come as a surprise since the only other movies in this director’s portfolio is Snow White and the Huntsman and a video game commercial.

This project has the backing of an exceptional and outstanding source material, but this movie unfortunately misses the spirit of this franchise. This movie will be out for DVD/Blu ray and online streaming by July 25, 2017.

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