By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A- (3 stars)
Let me make one thing clear, I have not seen much of the anime, Ghost in the Shell, I am aware of its existence and I’ve seen a few episodes on TV or online a couple of times, but it wasn’t an anime I watched frequently like other anime shows such as Cowboy Bebop, Inuyasha, Fullmetal Alchemist, or Dragonball Z. But after reading articles online about the anticipated live-action film adaptation of the anime in the works under direction by Steven Spielberg, I figured now would be a great time to look at something Ghost in the Shell related.
That’s where Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (Yes, that is the title of the movie!) comes in, the latest film release in the Ghost in the Shell anime franchise, and like other anime movies I’ve reviewed in the past (Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragonball Z: Resurrection F), the film was given a limited theatrical release, since the Spielberg Ghost in the Shell movie is still in development, I won’t be making any comparisons or angry remarks about it, because well, it’s not out yet. Apparently this is the first Ghost in the Shell movie released since 2004’s Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and with the live-action movie adaptation on its way, seems like the studio and creators picked the right time to release another anime movie in the franchise.
So I’ll be judging this as a movie, and it’s probably strictly for the fans of the original anime because while I did enjoy it a lot, there were a lot of moments that didn’t make a lick of sense in the film. I assume most of the confusing aspects of the film would make more sense if I watch the anime, but I’ll do my best to sum this movie up.
Set after the events of Ghost in the Shell: Arise, we find Major Motoko Kusanagi and her Public Security Section 9 troops to discover the truth behind the sudden assassination of the Prime Minister of Japan. With the aid of the Prime Minister’s son, Osamu Fujimoto, Kusanagi and her crew will do whatever it takes to bring down an evil cyborg organization and save the world.
Overall, Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie caught my interest in checking out the anime to understand the movie better, but as is there’s enough sci-fi cyberpunk action, twists, and a badass female lead, speaking of which after seeing this movie, I am excited to see Scarlett Johansson’s take on the Kusanagi character in the Spielberg film adaptation. Whether the live-action movie is good or bad, I plan to check it out after viewing this and when I do my review on Spielberg’s Ghost in the Shell movie, I’ll be making comparisons to this.
The style of Ghost in the Shell in general does have a Spielberg feel, especially A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Minority Report. Not to mention the anime and film in general are about artificial intelligence and half-human, half-robots, and Spielberg previously made movies about artificial intelligence with A.I. and Minority Report (Personally Minority Report is a better movie, but I digress!).
One minor problem I have with the movie and possibly the anime as well are the think tanks or Tachikoma. They’re supposedly a form of comic relief that aid the characters in battle, but they really stand out from the dark and gritty tone the anime goes for, but don’t worry they’re not nearly as bad as the twin Autobots from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
If you’re a fan of the Ghost in the Shell anime and have access to a theater that’s playing the movie, you’ll probably have a blast with Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie. It got me interested in the anime and now I want to check out all the episodes for myself.
I may not think it’s as great as the recently released Dragonball Z movies, but with Steven Spielberg’s live-action movie coming out, I figured it was time to watch Ghost in the Shell, and I hold no regrets for seeing it.