So, I managed to finagle a free ticket for the opening day of Ghost In The Shell. I have been a long-time fan of the series throughout the years, so I was definitely curious as to how a big screen Hollywood live action would come out. And this was the first time I actually was able to see any movie on opening day. So, that was pretty damn exciting, just for that alone.
Now, before I get into my review, I want to make something perfectly clear. This movie wasn’t an adaptation of the anime, but of the original manga. And anyone who knows anything about manga vs anime should know that most of the time there are quite a few significant differences between the two. For one thing, manga can take a whole different approach to a story than anime does, as well as a lot of manga are produced by different people than the anime adaptations are. So, to be quite concise about this, I had to mention that detail. Because I’ve seen a lot of reviews that slam the movie for not being like the anime when the movie was more of an adaptation of the manga, not the anime. And the manga has a different story context than the anime as well. And along with the anime, there were books and two different manga series. So, just because it didn’t follow the anime doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good.
Now, I went into this movie with a neutral attitude. I did this because it seems so many people giving bad reviews had rather high expectations of the movie, and it didn’t quite live up to their expectations. Thus, they gave bad reviews simply because it didn’t meet their previous expectations. I tend to do this when trying new things. Whether it’s a movie, restaurant, or anything else. I figure if I set my expectations too high, I get let down when those expectations are not met, therefore I try to have a neutral attitude when doing this so that if it’s good, I’m surprised, and if it’s bad, I’m not let down.
I’m not going to bullshit and say the movie was perfect, but I’m also not going to say it was completely terrible. Out of all of the live-action adaptations to a manga or anime series I’ve seen, this was by far the best. I only had some hesitation about it. But I think that was more of my love for the anime coming through. But, I will say that this movie did not disappoint me in the least. It was action packed, had amazing effects, great storyline. I honestly cannot complain about the movie at all. And if I did, I’d be bullshitting myself. There was some complaint about the movie’s cast. Mainly of Scarlett Johansson’s role of the Major. In all honesty, she fit the part very well. I’ve been a long time fan of hers anyway, but as I said before, I went into this movie with a neutral attitude, and I was not let down. Her performance was pretty damn good, the fight scenes were quite amazing. And there were quite a few times where the story took a turn and shocked me. The rest of the cast were pretty great too, especially that of Batou. I may not be a professional movie critic, and I would hope not because most movie critics have some level of expectations that they want from a movie. But, I have seen my share of live-action adaptations of manga and anime. So, giving that fact I will reiterate and say this was by far the best live-action adaptation of a manga or anime series I’ve seen.
I’m trying not to give too many spoilers for those who haven’t yet seen it, because most of the time whenever I am able to see a movie, it’s after everyone posts spoilers about it, and ruins the whole experience for me. And I hate when people do that, so I will hold back details so that you can tell for yourself how well you liked it. I will say my only complaint was the lack of Fuchikoma or as they called them “Think Tanks”. They had different names for each series, Tachikoma being for Stand Alone Complex, Fuchikoma for the original manga (which is why I’m calling it that in this case, since the movie was based on the original manga, and not any of the anime series). They did however have something called a “Spider Tank”, which I would say was a nod to the Fuchikoma, but not exactly the same. As the “Think Tanks” in any of the series had their own personality and voice, and always seemed to act like kids. The Spider Tank in the movie was more of a robotic tank controlled by Mr Cutter. The original Think Tanks controlled themselves and were their own separate entity. That was my only complaint of the movie, really. But I can look past that and see that the movie was pretty damn amazing, or at least it was to me. I think everyone who’s giving it bad reviews are doing so because they expected it to be like the anime and the comparison is different.
In conclusion, I’d say this was a movie worth seeing, even if you’re disappointed by it. It’s still a great action packed movie. And to me, one worth paying to see again. I definitely will be adding this to a list of my favourite movies. I implore anyone who has already set high expectations for this movie to tone it down and try a neutral attitude. Especially when seeing new movies and trying new things. It will help in the long run, trust me.