Rife with controversy the new American Manga/Anime adaptation "Ghost in the Shell" was definitely a hard pill to swallow right off the bat. With the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major, it was not any anime fan's first choice and with them taking liberty with the story, characters, and names of characters even that really stuck in this Otaku's craw. The film has been called out for Hollywood whitewashing of a Asian character, which I have to agree is what happened. I understand that casting a big name actor brings in the big bucks and it isn't called show "business" because they do it for free, but I feel if they looked a bit harder they could have found someone that would fit the part better. In the end they actually unintentionally made some deep social commentary into the obsession of Caucasian features in film and in society as a whole.
Now don't get me wrong I really liked Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of a cybernetic ass kicker it will take you on a wild ride, but it was too reminiscent of her role in "Lucy" where she eventually just uploaded herself to the cloud. I truly hope she doesn't get pigeonholed into these type of roles, I know she is black widow but does she have to play that every time. I'm not saying she isn't good at it, I'm just saying i miss her in movies like "Ghost World". That being said, the supporting roles of Pilou Asbæk,Takeshi Kitano, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, and Lasarus Ratuere really stood out for me. They really held up the movie to the true Anime feel. Pilou Asbæk looks just like Batou and fit the role like a glove he is incredible. The wonderful Juliette Binoche playing Dr. Ouelet was very maternal as the creator of Major even though what she had done to her. Michael Pitt really did fit the role as Kuze(aka the puppet master wink wink) I was kind of taken aback by this since I've seen and read the original story, he made the role so accessible you could really empathize with him unlike in the original. Last but not least Peter Ferdinando was the guy you love to hate as Cutter, to be honest he has done better films but a villain is a villain.
Now that we got the casting out of the way, let's talk cinematography and special effects. OMFG I have to say this was a incredibly beautiful movie. They tried very hard to hold true to the artistry from the original. They have really out done themselves with the elegance of some of the scenes that just took my breath away. I have to go see it again in 3D now, there is no way you can't not experience it that way. So the verdict is kind of 50/50, if your new to this franchise then I say go see it you will love it it's worth the ticket and start watching some anime you will thank me. To the loyal anime fans out there how do I say this... dollar movie?
(Review by Samantha Leggio)