Trying to adapt a movie is never easy. Especially when said movie comes with devoted followers who scream blasphemy any time someone tries to put their fingerprint on a reboot or remake. And, as they’re often the first in line to see the movie, even if they think it’s going to be terrible, the word of mouth from hardcore fans can potentially be toxic.
In the most recent example, many fans of the original Ghost in the Shell manga could not believe that anyone would even attempt to do a live action version of one of their most prized animated films as well as how Hollywood would even possibly attempt to recreate a character born in the thinking outside of traditional western movies.
To some extent, they were right to be cautious as many of the original’s philosophies regarding individuality, thinking, and the memory were questioned by the Major in the animated version, but not by Johansson’s portrayal; however, in not going on to the higher level thinking, the cast and crew were able to take the plot and story in a different direction that made the live action version more palatable for American audiences who are consistently in need of backstories to understand how and why a person is the way they are.
Including some of the more well known or well recognized scenes from the original as well, the filmmakers were able to also show respect for the source material while also crafting a story that was uniquely theirs and visually stunning at the same time.
Sucking you into a world of neon where holograms and lights are clearly visible across every building as the new means for advertising and a scene in water surrounded by jellyfish or the cloaking technology with blends the wearer in with his surroundings are all displayed brilliantly and with less obviousness than many other movies relying on the same tech.
Unfortunately, however, as very few movies are perfect, Ghost in the Shell is not also without it’s faults as the pacing could have been improved. Additionally the end proves to be relatively anticlimactic, albeit likely more realistic than the majority of films coming from Hollywood, bordering somewhere along the lines of art and action, but leaning more towards the former, something which seems to be a common theme throughout.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily make a movie bad, but it’s beneficial to know in advance to heading to the theater this weekend.
Main Photo: Scarlett Johansson plays The Major in Ghost in the Shell from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures in theaters March 31, 2017.