With the recent controversy surrounding the casting of Scarlett Johansson, as the Japanese character Major Motoko Kusanagi, in the upcoming live action version of Ghost in the Shell, the awkwardly titled Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie comes at a potentially fortuitous time.
After the assassination of the Prime Minister, Major Kusanagi (Elizabeth Maxwell) and her team attempt to find out who was behind it.
Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie is set after the events of the Arise storyline, a four part series which itself is a reimagining of the original Ghost in the Shell. As such you are dumped straight in to an ongoing storyline, the complexities of which prove very difficult to a new viewer and events and characters can be a mystery, one not cleared up by the information dump of an opening. However, if you are already up to date on the storyline then The New Movie will serve as a satisfying and entertaining conclusion.
The animation, a blend of hand drawn animation and CGI, of course looks wonderful; it flows seamlessly and allows for kinetic and exciting action scenes, which the film is littered with. Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie delves a little further into the concept of humanity and the enhancement of cyborg and prosthetic limbs and bodies and the philosophical aspects that surround this. The film creates the idea that when choosing prosthetics you may choose a part that will become obsolete, which may lead to you being unable to replace or repair it. The characters are confronted with this potential, most effectively in a memorable and disturbing scene that blends the science fiction with body horror. Togusa (Alex Organ), the only member of the team without cyborg enhancements, has his own problem in attempting to come to terms with the possibility that his life is in much more danger than other members of their team every time they embark on one of their dangerous missions. The Tachikoma robots remain as entertaining as always; a child’s voice and naivety inside an armoured and weaponised robotic shell. It is these characters and ideas that are the most enjoyable parts of the film.
Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie will be most enjoyed by fans of the series and those who are up to date with its storyline. For anyone coming in cold, then this isn’t the place to start. It’s still fitfully entertaining but enjoyment will be lost, as you struggle to follow the storyline.
GHOST IN THE SHELL: THE NEW MOVIE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: KAZUYA NOMURA / SCREENPLAY: TOW UBUKATA / STARRING: ELIZABETH MAXWELL, JOHN SWASEY, CHRISTOPHER SABAT, ALEX ORGAN / RELEASE DATE: 9TH MAY