By Pavel Zlatin – 1851 Staff
What is the most annoying phrase occurring in most movie discussions? “The book is better.” This approach has always seemed shallow to me. In most cases, it is just impossible to compare a movie to a book. Those are completely different mediums, and it’s important to remember that a movie is not supposed to be a visual copy of a book, but more of a director’s remake.
However, when it comes to “Ghost in the Shell,” I can say, the book is better. The manga, in this case.
“Ghost in the Shell” is an American movie based on Masanume Shirow’s manga of the same name, and directed by Rupert Sanders, the director of “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012). The movie stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt, and Juliette Binoche.
It is hard not to mention the controversy about choosing Johansson for the leading role of Major Mira Killian. The film crew was severely blamed by Western Media for whitewashing. However, Japanese viewers, producer of the movie Steven Paul, and Mamoru Oshii, creator of the original anime, were perfectly content with Johansson as a leading female actress, suggesting that she is an extremely talented actress, and the future displayed in the movie could be international. They also mentioned that the movie cast comes from various different ethnic backgrounds.
Personally speaking, I couldn’t imagine any other actress playing Mira Killian besides Milla Jovovich, regarding a certain resemblance between Killian and Jovovich’s character Alice from the “Resident Evil” franchise. Both characters had no memory of their past, underwent body modifications, and were used by different authorities as weapons.
The movie tells us a story of an android, Mira Killian, who is trying to reveal hidden details of her past and looking for her place in a new and technology-driven world, while working for the anti-terrorist bureau, Section 9. The plot takes place in a cyberpunk future, where cybernetics are widely used for improving the body’s abilities.
Unfortunately, an ambitious attempt to create a stylish dystopian and deeply philosophical cyberpunk thriller turned into a tragic failure.
The visual content looks shallow and clearly lacks style, which is strange, because movies with questionable plots and less than prominent casts are typically excused due to the style and special effects associated with cyberpunk.
The story is told in an extremely confusing, yet predictable manner. I’d call it an insult for the fans of the original manga. Even for those who are unfamiliar with the manga or the anime, the plot appears incredibly predictable. The subject is age old. An android stuck in between its humane and robotic natures. And instead of adding something new to the topic, showing a different side of it, or at least slightly rethinking it, the creators of “Ghost in the Shell” made another dystopian movie overloaded with clichés.
Besides the cast, another positive thing about the movie is its music composed by Clint Mansell (“Black Swan,” “Requiem for a Dream”) and Lorne Balfe (“Assassin’s Creed 3”). The music, probably, is one of the only things that made a movie at least slightly atmospheric.
“Ghost in the Shell” had only gotten 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but owing to the cast and the trailer, it covered its budget in the box office. The trailer promised us style, atmosphere and depth, but instead, audiences received an expensive B-movie.