The original manga/comic/graphic novel Ghost In The Shell by Masamune Shirow spawned a franchise that's proven hugely popular in Japan and beyond, and includes the 1995 animated film, sequels, TV series, web series and all that endless associated merchandise. In terms of the main cast, the only major characters played by Japanese actors are Major's boss Aramaki ("Beat" Takeshi Kitano), her fellow agent Saito (Yutaka Izumihara), and Hairi (Kaori Momoi), a woman whose daughter disappeared. "But first I ask that you support me". I didn't care that much about it when it came up as an "issue" for the film, and I care even less after seeing it in the theaters. Instead, Sanders' allegiance lies not with making his audience think, but instead giving them Scarlett Johansson in a skintight body suit and firing guns at a tank that's being run by an evil corporate guy.
I do have three complaints.
Major uses her mechanically enhanced skills as part of a small law enforcement group.
Sanders does bring some magnetism to a few sequences, most notably Major's camouflage water fight scene. The idea of Asian "ghosts" being implanted into white "shells" opens the floor for a whole array of interesting questions and possibilities. At no point did it feel rushed, or chopped, but a little more would have been nice. I hope they address that in a sequel. If you're anxious you may forget the name of the movie you're watching, the writers have been kind enough to use the words "ghost" and "shell" about 300 times a piece throughout the script. You'll see that there is a lot of positivity from me, even for movies that other critics didn't like. My screening was 2D and I can only imagine how much better it's going to look when I catch it on IMAX.
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Based on the internationally-acclaimed Japanese Anime property, Ghost in the Shell follows Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9 devoted to stopping the most unsafe criminals and extremists.
Major and her take-no-prisoners, fiercely loyal partner Batou (Pilou Asbaek, who co-starred with Johansson in "Lucy"), are on the hunt for a hacker-villain named Kuze (Michael Pitt), who has been systematically eliminating the doctors and scientists that helped create Major - and has the ability to get inside Major's mind.
A human saved from a crash who is cyber-enhanced into becoming the ideal soldier devoted to stopping the world's most unsafe criminals. Such is the case for Major (Scarlett Johansson), whose brain, we're told, survived an accident her body could not so "she" was transplanted into a new one, trained to become a living weapon and enlisted to work for government counter-terrorism cell Section 9.
As an amnesiac secret agent who suspects her employers of knowing more about her than they're letting on, the Major has an bad lot in common with Jason Bourne in the "Bourne" franchise.