My review of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017)

Ghost in the Shell was, in 1995, a forward-thinking science-fiction anime. It is said to have had a lasting influence on movies such as the Matrix. Hollywood offers us a remake featuring Scarlett Johansson.

It is a beautiful movie. The visual effects are simply wonderful. It is an ode to the original. The plot was slightly revised compared to the original. In my mind, the revised plot is more compelling and coherent. The core theme of the movie is the notion of “ghost”, the spirit or consciousness of human beings, as something that is distinct from the human body. What happens when we can replace every organ while preserving the same consciousness? The movie comes to a strong conclusion.

Scarlett Johansson plays the role of someone with a synthetic body (the Major). She moves and expresses herself accordingly. I could not imagine anyone else playing the role better.

The 2017 movie presents more or less the same technology as the 1995 movie. Given how forward-thinking the 1995 movie was, it works relatively well. We have augmented reality, brain-to-brain communication, artificial limbs and organs, and so forth. Oddly, cars and trucks are not systematically self-driving.

I went to see the movie with my 13-year-old son, and we both had a lot of fun.

Daniel Lemire, "My review of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017)," in Daniel Lemire's blog, April 3, 2017.

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Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

One thought on “My review of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017)”

  1. Interesting. I hadn’t heard of this film. Searching online, there seems to be a lot of criticism regarding its alleged “whitewashing”. For example:

    I’m fascinated by cases where a poorly reviewed movie is actually good, or even excellent, by my or others’ standards. Sometimes I wonder about a mismatch between the culture of urban film reviewers and those of various movie audiences, or differences in people’s philosophy of art. I’ll probably see this movie. Scarlett seems to be doing well.

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