Directed by Rupert Sanders
I must say first that my knowledge of these characters stems from the anime and not the manga. So any comments or observations I make are based on that. Just so you know.
Major Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson) is a cyber enhanced individual having received her body from Hanka Robotics after an accident. Now she works for the counterterrorism bureau Section 9 under the command of Chief Daisuke Aramaki (“Beat” Takeshi Kitano). After looking into a murder at a business conference by a robotic geisha, she finds herself investigating a terrorist known as Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt) and attempting to unravel the mystery behind him and how this mystery connects to her uncertain past.
My main beef is with the casting of Scarlett Johansson and it’s not because she’s white. It’s just that Johansson is very hit or miss in my opinion. And here she is miss. Not a complete miss but she doesn’t knock it out of the park either. She would not have been my first or second choice. I think they were trying to get the Avengers crowd to show up for this movie by casting her. Whatever the motive, this just was not the right role for her. She does okay though but I think another actress might have been better.
Pilou Asbæk as Batou was a very good choice. He captured the character as I’m familiar with it-both physically and in his overall portrayal. In fact, they captured the look of pretty much every character and the look of the Ghost in the Machine world.
The effects used in this movie create a genuinely detailed and immersive environment of the future. They missed nothing here. It is one of the most jarring and realistic cyber punk environments since Blade Runner. It feels like a genuine world.
They mercifully avoid making the film humorous. Too often Hollywood piles on the quips and pats themselves on the back as if they’ve made something edgy and witty when it’s just empty. That was a big fear of mine going into it. I thought they just might go for a visual wow factor with lots of unnecessary jokes.
The film doesn’t talk down to the audience. It’s not brainless but it’s not as intellectual as what inspired it. The philosophical aspects unfortunately did get watered down and that most likely was in an effort to appeal to a broader audience. The anime is much deeper than this movie. That’s not to say that this is a shallow film. It’s just that the depth isn’t as great. As I said before it doesn’t talk down to the audience. They treat those that watch it as if they had a brain.
One thread that moves throughout this movie is what makes you who you are? Is it your memories or is it something more? In this way it’s a thinking film. And it’s something that will stick with you.
I know people like to hate on this movie, but it is a good film. Personally, I would have just taken the anime script and filmed it but they didn’t here. They made changes as Hollywood often does. Even so they did come close to it and they did make a good movie. The story is solid. It’s enjoyable. Go in with an open mind and you will like it.