Re­boot has Ma­jor is­sues

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

When news breaks that even sem­i­nal sci-fi clas­sic The Ma­trix is get­ting the re­boot treat­ment, it’s pretty clear that noth­ing is sa­cred when it comes to the Hol­ly­wood re­cy­cling pro­gramme.

We shouldn’t be sur­prised, then, to see in­flu­en­tial Bri­tish-Ja­panese anime Ghost in the Shell given a sec­ond cine­matic treat­ment – al­though at least they waited 22 years and have turned it into a live-ac­tion block­buster.

Scar­lett Jo­hans­son takes on the iconic role of Ma­jor, a cy­ber-en­hanced hu­man cre­ated to be the per­fect sol­dier out to find the truth sur­round­ing her past.

Jo­hans­son is no stranger to sci-fi in re­cent years, lead­ing the way in the over­rated Lucy and Un­der the Skin, and, like those flicks, Ghost in the Shell is vis­ually stun­ning but sorely lack­ing in heart.

The 32-year-old is well-suited to this type of ma­te­rial as she has an oth­er­worldly qual­ity to her, and she gets to display the a**-kick­ing skills learned when team­ing up with the Avengers.

Ma­jor is an in­trigu­ing lead char­ac­ter but given her ro­botic en­hance­ments, she’s a much colder hero­ine than, say, Jen­nifer Lawrence’s Kat­niss Everdeen or Sigour­ney Weaver’s Ri­p­ley.

This trans­lates bet­ter in an­i­mated form and we shouldn’t re­ally be sur­prised to dis­cover that, in gen­eral, Ghost in the Shell is in­fe­rior to its pre­de­ces­sor.

Ru­pert San­ders only has the av­er­age Snow White and the Hunts­man on his di­rec­to­rial back cat­a­logue and like that ad­ven­ture, his sopho­more ef­fort’s big­gest strength is its aes­thetic style.

While tak­ing nods from genre mas­ter­pieces Blade Run­ner and The Ma­trix, San­ders adds a de­li­cious eye for de­tail in cre­at­ing neon-tinted cityscapes, in­vis­i­bil­ity suits and gad­gets that would leave James Bond scratch­ing his head.

Fans of the anime will also be pleased to see one of it most iconic mo­ments – Ma­jor div­ing from a tow­er­ing sky­scraper – is recre­ated per­fectly.

Colour­ful sup­port­ing char­ac­ters help to en­hance pro­ceed­ings, in­clud­ing le­gendary Ja­panese ac­tor-di­rec­tor Takeshi Ki­tano’s – star­ring in only his third Amer­i­can film – unit chief Ara­maki and a crazed Michael Car­men Pitt’s hacker Kuze.

But writ­ers Wil­liam Wheeler (The Hoax) and Jamie Moss’ (Street Kings) screen­play strug­gles to ef­fec­tively get across the rich themes and un­der­ly­ing mes­sages found in the orig­i­nal.

It’s hard to care too much about char­ac­ters this stern and re­served and even if you haven’t seen the an­i­ma­tion, as long as you have sat through a few of the genre’s best you’ll know ex­actly where the story is headed long be­fore Ma­jor does.

Ghost in the Shell 2017 won’t haunt you for days like its two-decades older sib­ling, but it’s a size­able up­grade for Lon­doner San­ders, and Jo­hans­son proves once again that she’s the mod­ern day sci-fi queen.

Cy­ber queen Scar­lett Jo­hans­son is gun­ning for a re­lent­less en­emy

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