I am not a diehard anime fan, but "Ghost in the Shell" is one of my favorites because I love its social commentary. As such, I was really excited for this film, and I ended up being really disappointed.
The writing of the film is probably what disappointed me most. The original anime had sporadic action with amazing social commentary and interesting atmosphere-building. Instead, this film almost completely eliminated the commentary and the atmosphere, leaving only the sporadic action, making it feel boring. One thing that the writing did a bit better was explain the mythology of the film. A lot of the things involving the world made a little more sense in this film. The plot isn't exactly the same as that of the original, but I think it does focus on the same storyline from the manga. The writing wasn't the only thing that disappointed me, though. The acting was extremely disappointing. I wasn't hugely against the whitewashing caused by Scarlett Johansson's casting (except for the fact that they artificially slanted her eyes), if they would have had a reason to cast her. She did well in the action scenes, but she was even more monotonous than the monotonous dub of the anime version. The same goes for the rest of the actors.
That being said, I did like the visual elements of the film. Stylistically, the film definitely matched the dark cues set by the original. There are also some scenes that are perfectly re-created, like the camouflage water fight scene. The visual effects were really good, and the production design was extremely effective in bringing me into the world of the film.
Overall, "Ghost in the Shell" was an Americanized form of a good foreign film, and it eliminated almost everything that was metaphorical about its writing. It is visually impressive, but that is about all that it really has going for it.
Ghost in the Shell
Big Tuna's Rating: C
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Probably not.
I am a huge movie fan that wants to tell people about my very varying taste and opinion of film.