I entered Ghost in the Shell with something rare: no prior attachment to its source material, either Masamune Shirow’s manga or Mamoru Oshii’s anime feature. Director Rupert Sanders delivered exactly what I expected from him based on his visually spectacular, narratively turgid Snow White and the Huntsman.
Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson in skintight white as Major, a cyborg government operative whose brain and soul are the ghost in her candy-coated robotic shell. Thought to be one of a kind, Major and her team run across another ghost, Kuze (Michael Pitt, “Boardwalk Empire”), who enlightens Major about her forgotten creation. Apparently, Major and Kuze’s creator, Hanka Robotics, was not quite honest about their pasts.
It took three writers to streamline Ghost in the Shell’s narrative into something somewhat understandable that does not muck up the visual fireworks with too much philosophical mumbo-jumbo. Ghost in the Shell’s stunningly CG-realized world—the most complete since the Star Wars prequels—is truly stunning to behold, even amidst all the current CG spectacles, and makes a pretty swell city in which to hide a nearly 30-year-old cyberpunk plot.